Marseille 1 Arsenal 2
(Jordan Ayew 90 pen, Walcott 65, Ramsey 83)

Theo Walcott opened his season’s scoring account in the raucous atmosphere of the Stade Vélodrome to set up the platform for three priceless Champions League Group F points against Marseille. The Gunners grabbed their second from Aaron Ramsey, who buried his strong shot past the hapless Steve Mandanda. Marseille got onto the score sheet in time added from the penalty spot when Jordan Ayew struck past Wojciech Szczesny. Seconds later the final whistle blew signalling the Gunners’ tenth consecutive away win, and the perfect start to their sixteenth consecutive season in Europe’s top flight.

Clearly enjoying the best form of his career at Arsenal, Ramsey has made a timely reminder to everyone of the potential Arsene Wenger saw in him, and perhaps the not so insignificant arrival of Mesut Özil and the world class aura surrounding the German international may have also played it’s part.

The deafening noise and hostile atmosphere of the Stade Velodrome however almost contributed to the home side taking the lead, when André-Pierre Gignac stabbed his boot at a ball that Szczesny did well to save after only two minutes.

A minute later and Özil set up Walcott, but his header lacked any real power to trouble Mandanda. Arsenal knew that they had to silence the home fans, and Walcott alsmost did just that when, under pressure from Jérémy Morel, still managed to get his shot away, but Mandanda held firm.

Flamini returned to his former club and continued that strength and bite that allowed the creative Özil and Jack Wilshere to pick passes beyond a technically adroit Ligue 1 side.

Andre Ayew headed wide, from a free header, which Szczesny would’ve done well to get to, and six minutes before the break, the returning Mertersacker blocked for a corner after the Gunner’s’ rearguard was opened up by the surging Rod Fanni. Gignac headed over from corner, as the home side finished the half the stronger.

Two minutes after the re-start and Fanni found himself in acres of space, as the Arsenal defence switched off. With only Szczesny ahead of him, the Marseille defender couldn’t hit the target from an acute 12 yards out.

Mathieu Valbuena is the heartbeat of his team, and his energy and clever runs seemed to catch out the Arsenal defence, in a high energy encounter, yet still the score remained goalless.

Özil was being given particular attention, but Wilshere, Ramsey and Flamini were always able to provide the home side with cause for concern, and especially with Kieran Gibbs supporting the attack.

Having taken Özil’s’ back heel pass Arsenal carved open the Marseille defence from the left, with Gibbs forcing Mandanda into a save, in a move that should have seen the game’s opening goal.

Wilshere rarely troubles goals column, a fact that he accepts needs to be addressed, but he will feel he should have done better with a the low volley from Sagna cross, which forced another Mandanda save.

Marseille almost grabbed the lead on the hour mark after a defensive mix up which saw Metersacker slice at a clearance, and with Szczesny exposed, the intelligence of Gibbs’ position to clear under pressure from Gignac kept the score it 0-0.

Five minutes later however, and Arsenal did take the lead. Wilshere fed Gibbs who raced clear on the left and crossed into the danger zone. Jeremy Morel missed the ball completely, and as the ball skied up, Walcott kept his eyes firmly on the descending ball and volleyed in a spectacular opener, which Mandanda couldn’t reach.

The Gunners doubled their lead when Ramsey latched onto Gibbs’ central pass, and as the Marseille defence backed off, the former Wales captain drilled in a powerful shot that flew past Manadanda, with a slight deflection off Nicolas N’Koulou’s boot.

Özil and Wilshere almost grabbed a Gunner’s third with some excellent approach play, but without one nor the other willing to risk taking the final shot, the danger subsided. That will be something that will no doubt be ironed out in the matches to come.

Marseille got on to the score sheet from the penalty spot. Ramsey’s heavy touch saw Andre Ayew go down, with his brother Jordan finding the target from the spot kick.

It was however a famous win for Arsenal, and lays down the marker for Wenger’s young side’s ambitions.