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Marseille 0 - 1 Arsenal: UEFA Champions League match report

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0 - 1 Aaron Ramsey 90'

In a match that was mostly a series of nearly nearlies, always about two steps away from anything resembling a chance, Arsenal had to wait 90 minutes for somebody to take their chance and plant it in the back of the net, and that man was Aaron Ramsey. Neither side were at anything near their best, as Marseille failed to make their counterattacks count, the final ball never arriving, and Arsenal never were able to link their midfield play with Robin van Persie to any great effect. Each side had one good chance before Ramsey finally put the discussion to an end.

Marseille nearly found a breakthrough three minutes in, Alex Song losing the ball 25 yards from goal and diving in on Loic Remy, earning a yellow. Marseille had a decent shout for a penalty turned down ten minutes later when a Benoit Cheyrou cross from the left hit Carl Jenkinson's arm, but the referee only gave a yellow to Andre Ayew for arguing the non-call. Marseille continued to probe away, mainly through the last-shoulder running of Remy, but failed to generate chances of real merit.

Arsenal gradually started to find possession, and 30 minutes in, generated their first real chance of the match as Robin van Persie had a header cleared from the goalmouth following what felt like Arsenal's millionth corner kick. The replay showed that Souleymane Diawara handled the ball in the air before van Persie's header, but Damir Skomina, the Slovenian referee, must've been reading his Zizek again, or he was just making up for missing the earlier handball on Arsenal. Either way, play continued as Marseille cleared their lines.

The second half brought little more in the way of action early on. Marseille caused chaos in the Arsenal penalty area a couple of times, particularly when Song tried to dribble out of trouble, lost the ball, and forced Jenkinson to clear. Unfortunately, the young right back reaggravated a knee problem from the first half, and Johan Djourou had to replace him. First Gervinho, and then Aaron Ramsey, would join him, replacing Theo Walcott and Andrei Arshavin, and although Gervinho's direct running looked a little scary at times, ultimately nothing came of it. Despite a good chance from Walcott which Steve Mandanda saved from ten yards, Arsenal for the most part couldn't generate shots on target, and Marseille looked similarly bereft of ideas.

Until Djourou got frisky.

As injury time started to tick away, the makeshift right back sent an early cross in for what looked to be yet another waste of time for Arsenal, except this time van Persie wasn't alone, and this time, the cross actually beat the first man. And the second. And everyone, except for Gervinho, who in trying to control it, actually flicked the ball onto Ramsey, who had decided to join the party towards the back post (what a novel idea!), took one touch, and rifled home near post from 12 yards as the 1500 or so Arsenal fans went bonkers.

1-0 to the Aresnal: club in crisis.