Red-hot Ramsey gives Arsenal perfect start in Marseille
Aaron Ramsey scores sixth goal in seven games helping Arsenal to record tenth successive away win
Marseille 1 Arsenal 2. Aaron Ramsey continued his rise through the firmament last night, crowning another shining performance with an 84th-minute goal that sealed the game for Arsenal.
It was Ramsey's sixth goal in seven games and it helped the Gunners to a record tenth successive away win - a winning streak that began on 13 March when they beat Bayern Munich 2-0 in the second leg of their last-16 tie.
It was also just the start Arsene Wenger needed to this year's Champions League campaign.
Ramsey's goal came when he collected a pass from Kieran Gibbs and, from 16 yards, coolly drilled the ball beyond the reach of Marseille keeper Steve Mananda.
It put the visitors two up, Theo Walcott having scored with a top-corner volley in the 65th minute after Marseille left back Jérémy Model made a hash of a Gibbs cross, stooping to head the ball when there was no reason not to kick it.
To put Ramsey's extraordinary form in perspective, it was Walcott's first goal of the season against Ramsey's seventh. As The Guardian points out, that's more than the 22-year-old Welshman managed across 91 appearances in his previous two campaigns.
A stoppage-time penalty by Marseille's Jordan Ayew, awarded after Ramsey was harshly judged to have brought down Andre Ayew, would have been more controversial had the Gunners not already wrapped it up.
On the downside, new boy Mesut Ozil didn't exactly shine in his European debut for the Gunners - though he did nearly set up a Gibbs goal with a delightful back-heel - and the team appeared unbalanced, allowing Marseille too much space to operate down the right side. As the BBC reports, Arsenal "will not be able to afford the same luxuries" when they meet their more formidable Group F opponents - Napoli and Borussia Dortmund - in two upcoming home games.
In the meantime, Gooners thank the Lord for Aaron Ramsey. As the Daily Mail puts it, "It is hard to think of a better central midfielder in Europe than the man who wears the Arsenal No 16 shirt." ·