Football

Arsenal get off to the best possible start in Europe

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A thunderous Theo Walcott volley and another Aaron Ramsey goal – his sixth this season in all competitions - was enough to ensure maximum points for the north London side, despite a late goal from the penalty spot from 22-year old Jordan Ayew.

The result means Arsenal have extended their unbeaten away record to 10 games in all competitions.

Arsene Wenger claimed the group is the ‘toughest Champions League group of all' with it also featuring last year’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund, and former Chelsea and Liverpool manger - Rafael Benitez’s Napoli, and an away win to begin the campaign is exactly what Wenger will have been wanting before kick-off.

But, the 63-year old Frenchman’s team were made to work for the win and were second best throughout the first half. With the help from their noisy supporters in the Stade Veledrome Andre Ayew and Andre Pierre Gignac both narrowly missing headed chances.

Arsenal looked sloppy in possession, and numerous times they found themselves giving the ball away unnecessarily.

The Gunners did have a half-hearted penalty claim turned down, when Per Mertesacker was caught in the head by a boot from a corner; the referee seemingly finding it to soft a challenge to point to the spot.

But, in the second half, the game began to open up. First Ayew found Rod Fanni, before he volleyed the ball agonisingly wide. Then after a mix up between Mertesacker and Wojciech Szczesny, it was only for an alert Kieran Gibbs that stopped the ball finding the back of the Arsenal net.

Arsenal though had some changes of their own through Gibbs and Jack Wilshere, and they finally found the breakthrough just after the hour mark. Gibbs’s cross into the box was poorly cleared by Jeremy Morel leaving Walcott the opportunity to thrash the ball into the back of the net.

The momentum then shifted, and the in-form Ramsey doubled Arsenal's lead six minutes before the end of normal time. The Welshman darted through the Marseille defence and with the help of a slight deflection, found the back of the net, and ensured that all three points would be returning home to London.

There was a late scare for Arsenal however, when a poor touch from Ramsey resulted in him fouling Andre Ayew in the box in injury time. His younger sibling Jordan then stepped up to rifle the ball into the top corner.

It was too little too late for the team that came runners-up in last year’s French league, and Arsenal went on to maintain their unbeaten record against French teams in the Champions League.

The north London side’s next European match will be at home to Napoli, who also managed to get off to a winning start against Borussia Dortmund.

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Topics:
UEFA Champions League
Football
Arsenal

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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