Another quite boring game for Arsenal, and just 2 weeks after the last Marseille game. Yet this time we didn't finish on the winning side. A clean sheet, with a possible new cb partnership - although I think the Verm/Kos pairing has some potential - will be something to build on, and the chances we made could have easily been enough to win the game. We had 7 shots on target to their 1, and maybe if Robin had started the game things would have been different.
Overall, 4 points from both Marseille games is what we wanted, but having had a good win away it would have put us in an excellent position had we won tonight.
We started poorly and the Verm/Mertesacker combination was tested straight away. However as the game progressed we quickly became the better team and Ramsey in particular looked very dangerous.
Theo looked bright after an excellent performance at Chelsea and shot just wide after 15 minutes. Gervinho was full of running and looked our best chance of a goal, however (and this is something we talked about when he first joined the club) he lacked a quality final ball which made some attacks very infuriating.
The only slight negatives were from Park, who tried to mirror a Chamakh performance by being as ineffective as possible, and Santos, who was targeted by Marseille after his continuous attacking efforts. The Brazilian was leaving wide gaps behind him, but after half time I think he adressed this problem and he didn't have a terrible game against their best player.
The introduction of Robin probably led many to believe we were in the ascendancy after a very dull start to the second half. On the other hand, it was the French side who grew into the game, and were it not for some excellent defensive reading by Vermaelen and Mertesacker we may have been in trouble.
Ramsey, who squandered the best chance of the match, was replaced by Rosicky who set up Vanp Perise, but the Dutchman's chip was a few inches from avoiding the keepers grasp. Arshavin also came on for Gervinho, but failed to really get on the ball and make an influence, so when the game petered out into a draw noone was very surprised.
Szczesny 6 Jenkinson 6 Mertesacker 7 Vermaelen 7.5 Santos 5.5 Song 6.5 Arteta 6 Ramsey 7 Walcott 6.5 Park 5 Gervinho 6
Subs: Van Persie 6 Rosicky 6 Arshavin 5.5
That result gives us some food for thought. We cannot rest the majority of our players in the remaining games, and Dortmund (home) as well as a trip to Olympiakos cannot be underestimated. We are still in pole position in the group though, so cannot get too down hearted.
After the game Theo Walcott said:
"Saturday (the 5-3 win over Chelsea) did take a lot out of us but yet again we were solid at the back. We need to be winning our home matches, but we know what to expect in the Champions League."
The unglamourousness of a 0-0 may have taken away some of the hype surrounding the squad after Saturday's exploits, however it also keeps the players grounded and we can focus on another very important 3 points at the weekend. The main thing to realise is that, whilst the 5-3 was an excellent result and performance, we still have a lot of work to be done this season. Whilst Arsene said last week that we had two cup finals approaching (the Chelsea and Marseille games) in fact we have to treat every league game as a cup final for at least the next few months as we simply can't afford to slip up.
Here's to 3 points at the weekend, Come on you Gunners!