Arsenal 2 Marseille 0: Four talking points as Wilshere sparkles
Arsenal 2 Marseille 0: What lessons did we learn as the Gunners took a big step towards the last 16 with victory in north London?
Tough group still not decided
In a group that always looked tough, when it was drawn in Monaco back in August, Arsenal will have to do an Italian Job against Napoli next week to ensure qualification, even with the 12 points accumulated so far. Many would have predicted Marseille would have put up more of a test in the group but they have now lost eight Champions League games in succession. Arsenal will now have to avoid a three-goal defeat in Naples to ensure qualification to the next round after Dortmund triumphed at the Westfalenstadion thanks to goals from Marco Reus, Jakub Błaszczykowski and Patrick Aubameyang.
Jack Wilshere doubled his highest ever goal-scoring season on Tuesday with his two goals that take him onto four for this term. The midfielder has freely admitted he needs to score more goals and Arsene Wenger will be delighted his young star is getting in goal-scoring positions. The combination of the defensive stability that Mathieu Flamini offers, a more advanced position and the general lack of threat offered by their French opponents allowed the England man to get forward to great effect. He took both of his goals very well, which will make all Arsenal fans wonder why he hasn’t scored many more.
Below-par opposition doesn’t tell us much
It was tough to give a real appraisal on an Arsenal performance against a side that were resting players, have now got no points in five games and generally didn’t turn up. But Wenger will know that no Champions League game is a walkover and a professional job had to be done at The Emirates – and it was. Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky, Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey all interchanged well and looked slick – even if you would expect this from players with such technique when not put under any real pressure from the opposition. The rest of the side never really had to get out of 3rd gear and Wenger will be happy about that with a trip to Cardiff coming up on Saturday.
Can Arsenal go the whole way?
After Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp proclaimed that Arsenal could win the Champions League this season, there was no evidence here to show that they couldn’t. The more likely indicator would have been the 1-0 win The Gunners managed at the Westfalenstadion in the last group game, against last season’s finalists. Whether Arsenal can compare to the heavyweights of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona this year only time will tell. But Arsenal fans will be happy at first if they can ensure their progress into the knockout stages in Naples in three weeks’ time. Something they should have no trouble doing.