Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gunners Can't Find Their Fire; Lacklustre Arsenal Have to Settle for a Home Point

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gunners Can't Find Their Fire; Lacklustre Arsenal Have to Settle for a Home Point

Article excerpt

Arsenal 0 Marseille 0 ARSENAL'S progression to the Champions League knockout stages will have to wait for another night after they struggled to a drab draw with Marseille.

The north Londoners had come into the Group F encounter hoping for the victory that would see them progress to the knockout stages for the 12th successive season, although a mixture of resolute defending and poor finishing put paid to that.

Arsenal looked weary from the exertions of Saturday's 5-3 victory at Chelsea and lacked the cutting edge brought by talisman Robin van Persie, who started on the bench against the French outfit.

While the home side were frustrated at their inability to emulate last month's win at the Stade Velodrome, a point was the least Marseille deserved from a plucky performance.

Didier Deschamps' side started with a free-flowing attacking formation in which brothers Andre and Jordan Ayew shone, especially in a first half they dominated for the most part.

Arsenal managed to keep the visitors at bay but the majority of the 59,961 crowd at the Emirates Stadium were sent home disappointed, with a Van Persie chip the only opportunity of note in a poor second period.

Heading into the clash, Arsene Wenger made two changes to the side that beat Chelsea at the weekend.

Johan Djourou and captain Van Persie were dropped to the bench, with Carl Jenkinson and Park Ju-young coming in in their place.

Marseille started brightly and Andre Ayew jinked down the left flank and fired in a low cross that his brother, Jordan, almost flicked home within the opening minutes.

The Ayew brothers dazzled Arsenal's backline, with Andre poking just wide after some neat interplay in the fifth minute.

Loic Remy was the architect of that opportunity and he saw a goalbound shot blocked moments later, before Theo Walcott was denied by a sprawling Steve Mandanda save at the other end.

Gervinho was next to test Marseille captain Mandanda, before a deep cross by Andre Santos was almost converted at the back post by Aaron Ramsey. …

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