Ramsey’s treat, Laurent’s borough

Marseille 0-1 Arsenal

There are times when the best course of action is simply to hide all the dog-eared and moth-eaten parts of Arsenal’s game behind the sofa and enjoy the catharsis of a late win. This is definitely one of those times.

As the game drifted on in the second half and Walcott spurned what looked like the best chance we would get, it looked like it would be another one of those games. Marseille offered nothing, Arsenal looked neat and tidy without being remotely ruthless. I can’t remember the last performance that would have got Arsenal fans, let alone neutrals, standing around the water cooler the next morning evoking Arsenal’s delicious football, but grinding out results is where we find ourselves at the moment.

And then, deep into injury time, came our one moment of ruthlessness. You see lads, it’s a winning formula! Djourou curved in a nice cross, Gervinho touched it on to Ram Zamzi* who coolly swapped feet and slotted the winner home.

I tell you what, that felt good. We weren’t great, but we were far and away the more aggressive side going forward and to nick it in the end is always fun. For too long the perception is that we’re the ones likely to concede late on – no smoke without fire – so for us to dish it out right before the klaxon sounded will have done the lads a lot of good.

Some noteworthy performances too. Laurent Koscielny was absolutely excellent all night, so much so that you can now reasonably ask: Who will be our first choice centre-back pairing when Vermaelen is fit? You might think it would be Mertesacker and Vermaelen, but on last night’s form, Koscielny dropping to the bench would be a cruel move. Perhaps it’s just a case of rotating – though we’ve been doing that a bit too much in that position this year. And look where it’s got us.

A nod to Carl Jenkinson too. His journey from non-league to Arsenal is well known. He’s 19 and a total rookie. But what he lacks in experience, he possesses in heart and last night he bombed forward, always looking to cross, busting a gut. He spent most of the night grimacing with pain or gasping for air but he’s got real spirit. Shame for him he went off injured. The curse of the centre half has drifted east and is now the curse of the right back…

It was a mixed performance in midfield (decent in the middle, average on the edges) but overall, it’s a result that cannot fail to emit a warm glow.

A bit of luck, commitment to the very end, a touch of ruthlessness. That’s five wins from six in all competitions, and the first time in 17 Champions League games we haven’t conceded a goal (see Orbinho’s tweet from last night).

We’re ploughing on.

* My 3-year-old calls Aaron Ramsey ‘Ram Zamzi’. It has an air of international panache about it, I think.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Anonymous


    I like both Wenger and Arteta’s comments.  Wenger said we made no stupid mistakes and no stupid passes with the ball, Arteta said we’re doing the basic things right.

    Over the last few games that’s what’s been most apparent – and I guess it goes all the way back to Feb.  We’re always looking to move the ball and create chances, but first you need a secure, error-free platform, not just in defence but throughout the team. 

    It’s like learning an instrument.  Your scales have to become automatically and unconsciously perfect before you can improvise like Coltrane.

  2. East Lower

    Totally. We’ve been undone by really basic errors all season. Having Mertesacker & Koscielny playing well – and Song ahead of them – makes a difference too. 

  3. East Lower

    Though quite *how* they forgot their scales is another question…

  4. Jeff

    Arteta seemed like he was playing a lot of backpasses.  It’s safety first, but we didn’t create a lot of chances.  

    Gervinho is doing pretty well.

  5. East Lower

    True, but like ignatz_uk said, we’ve almost decided to go back to square one and start again. Definitely lost our mojo for a long time.

  6. Jeff

    I was actually disappointed with Song for a 20-minute spell in the second half when he gave the ball away three of four times.  Did I imagine that?  He must have played well earlier in the match when I had to split my attention with babysitting.

  7. Jeff

    Arteta has been good.  Rosicky was ok, but he’s been up and down.  Rambo’s been up and down.  It’s still early on Santos.

  8. East Lower

    He seemed mostly solid to me. The giving away of the ball is not exclusive to him… though I think we did it less, overall, last night than we have done at times recently.

  9. East Lower

    I don’t think anyone’s claiming we have 100% turned the corner. It’s not a vintage Arsenal side full stop. 

    But we are edging in the right direction…

  10. Anonymous

    I thought Gervinho was good when he came on v Marseilles but has been terrbile up to now. As have Theo & Arshavin. We need one of them (at least) to step up & start really performing (including scoring goals) if we are to get anywhere this season. Frankly, all three need a kick in the ar*e !!

    Then again v Sunderland we had Theo/Gervinho starting, both were terrible. Arshavin comes on, does very well. In Marseilles, we had Theo/Arshavin starting,both were terrible. Gervinho comes on, does very well. On that basis, is it safe to assume Gervinho/Arshavin will start v Stoke, be terrible & then Theo will come on & impress ??????? 🙂

    Agree that it’s a shame for Jenkinson. His attitude is absolutely spot on. Would prefer to see Koscielny at right back on Sunday rather than Djourou I have to say….

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