A tie between two clubs struggling domestically was never going to be glamorous, but does Arsenal's hard-fought victory, and all important clean sheet in Marseille prove that they have turned the corner?
The media wake up to Koscielny
Laurent Koscielny had been deemed inadequate by association to a defensively poor Arsenal and that cock up in the Carling Cup final. This ignores that individually the £10m signing from Lorient is superb and ever improving. He's brave, quick and reads the game intuitively and he was outstanding against Barcelona last season.
As a unit Arsenal lack a defensive organisation and understanding which lets them down time and time again. Tonight, led by the Frenchman, the Gunners withheld a limited Marseille attack in a hostile atmosphere and secured a clean sheet.
With individuals like Sagna, Koscielny and Tomas Vermaelen there is a basis of core attributes upon which a solid team can be built upon. Especially with Szczesny behind them.
Wide boy woes
Arsenal's game has been based around scoring more than the opponents for some time. I'm thinking as far back as that 5-4 win at White Hart Lane in November 2004. On the score sheet that day were Freddie Ljungberg and Robert Pires. Although in a different formation these days, there equivalent last night would have been Arshavin and Theo Walcott. Both offered f*** all, let alone goals.
I'm dying for Arshavin to be good again. To turn the corner and become the player he's capable of being. And yet how long does a poor run of form have to continue before you have to accept he's just not that good anymore? A player as good as Arshavin should be the focal point of the team along with Van Persie. This is an Arsenal side slugging through the mud and still the Russian finds himself on the bench most weeks (from where he impressed at the weekend ).
A fall out with his agent for neglecting to mention the higher UK tax bracket sees Arshavin earning considerably less than he thought he would. In turn he continues to offer Arsenal just as less as we would have expected.
Midfield graft without spark
Song and Arteta are both good players and did well.
Song is at his best breaking up play whilst Arteta keeps the midfield ticking over with neat passing whilst putting a real shift in the defensive side of things too. His presence within the side is growing.
There was however many an occasion last night where had a certain other Spaniard been in possession of the ball a cutting or lofted through pass would have created a goal scoring chance. With so little being offered out wide, the loss of Fabregas is highlighted even more.
Winning in late fashion in such an atmosphere could benefit Arsenal even more that the three points obtained last night.
1-0 to the Arsenal
A win away from home in the Champions League is always an achievement and we over take Marseille at the top of the group.
Marseille have started their domestic season even worse than Arsenal. In a game of two s*** slingers who might struggle to qualify for next seasons tournament the Arsenal slung the best sh** in the last minute. And deservedly so. Arsenal grew stronger in the second half and dominated possession. The introduction of Gervinho offered an injection of interest in the wide areas previously lacking and it was he who's attempted control fell into the path of Ramsey to coolly finish from a Djourou cross, as all three Arsenal substitutions combined for the winner.
Winning in late fashion in such an atmosphere could benefit Arsenal even more that the three points obtained last night. This is a side still getting to know each other. New signings Santos, Mertersacker, Jenkinson, Arteta and Gervinho have experienced downs and disappointment in their short Arsenal careers. As they celebrated at the end it felt as though a weight had been lifted. Smiles aplenty and 'Maybe we aren't that sh** after all?'
In such circumstances spirits forge, which might just be enough to ensure Arsenal kick on and out of this horrible start to the season.
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