Arsenal 2 Marseille 0
( Wishere 1, 65 )

Jack Wilshere netting a double can be as rare as a side securing 12 Champions League points but still not safely qualifying for the knock out stages of Europe’s top club competition. However after their comfortable win over Marseille at the Emirates courtesy of a Wilshere double, Arsene Wenger’s side remain top, but still need at least a point, or avoid a loss by more than three goals when they visit Napoli for their final game in Group F.

Arsenal played the game they know so well, based of control of the ball, incisive passes and lethal finishing. The latter may still be a work in progress at times, but sides visiting the Emirates learn that lesson at their peril when all does go to plan. And the plan to grab an early lead was executed to perfection. Olivier Giroud set Bacary Sagna on his way, with, Wilshere racing onto the ball on the right. It was a similar position to the one from which the England midfielder chipped in his goal against Southampton with his right foot on Saturday. This time, Wilshere took a touch onto his favoured left, before curling in another wonderful goal which sailed past Steve Mandanda. Less than a minute had passed on the clock.

The Gunners should have doubled their lead when Aaron Ramsey was teed up by the efforts of Giroud and Ramsey, but Manadanda managed to save at point blank range. Marseille offered little, but Wojciech Szczesny had to be focussed when Andre-Pierre Gignac threatened. Ramsey’s skill in bisecting two defenders with a neat side flick was too much for Nicolas N’Koulou who hauled down the former Wales captain. The offence was marginally outside the area, but a penalty was awarded nevertheless. Up stepped Mesut Özil who on checking in his run up, allowed Mandanda to comfortably save to his right. Özil knows he can be better than that.

Soon afterwards he was to prove just as much. From Wilshere’s pass, he fired a right footed shot which Mandanda held, and after Ramsey created the move, the record £42.4 million summer signing fed Wilshere from the right with the Arsenal number 10 now marauding through the middle to fire past Mandanda for his and the Gunners’ second goal of the night.

Substitutes Mathieu Valbuenna and Florian Thauvin gave Marseille more potency with the latter testing Nacho Monreal who cleared off the line and Szczesny who produced a low save in a congested area, but Wenger was able to savour another Champions League victory, even though progression to the last 16 will have to wait a couple of weeks yet.

” It’s unbelievable but it’s reality. We have to finish the job,” noted Wenger.

” It is not an easy situation – it is a tricky situation because you can think ‘OK, let’s just not lose big’ but I think that would be a mistake. (we have to) go there, play in a positive way and try to win the game. Everything else would be a dangerous gamble. Having said that, Marseille will play the last game at home to Dortmund – they haven’t lost (that match)yet. They will have to turn up. They will be under pressure to at least take some points from this group stage.”

On the Gunners night’s work, Wenger was all smiles.

“We were in control of the game and overall we were never really under threat tonight. We had a good control – maybe sometimes we were missing the cutting edge to finish the game off early on but we felt so much in control that we just played on, thinking that would come. It came a bit late for my taste,” said the Arsenal manager who will stress on his side to finish their final group F game on a high at Napoli.