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Full-time: OM 1-2 Arsenal

Job done by Arsenal, and a difficult job it was too. OM were on top in the first half lacked a cutting edge and once a defensive blunder was ruthlessly punished by Walcott, the outcome looked obvious. Ramsey added a fine second goal before conceding a penalty in the dying seconds. Man of the match, in my book, was Gibbs.

GOAL! OM 1-2 Arsenal (J Ayew, pen, 90+2)

A perfect penalty gives Szczesny no chance. But surely this is too little, too late for the home side?


90+2 min: The otherwise impeccable Ramsey lets the ball run away from him and then brings down Andre Ayew in the box as he attempts to retreive it. Wenger is furious.

90+1 min: Arsenal change: Miyaichi on, Flamini off.

90 min: OM change: Khalifa on, Valbuena off.

88 min: More fine foraging by Valbuena, but then he crosses to close to Szczesny.

GOAL! OM 0-2 Arsenal (Ramsey 84)

The rise of Ramsey continues! He caps a neat and solid all-round display by bustling his way past two opponents and into the a shooting position before fizzing a low shot into the net!

83 min: Ozil burrows his way into the box. From an acute angle he drives one low and wide.

81 min: Pandemonium in the Arsenal box but A Ayew fails to take advantage, spurning a shooting chance and instead passing to Valbuena, who was in a more difficult position and can't find the target.

79 min: Here comes Thauvin! The inspiration behind France's U-20 World Cup victory in the summer is on - and in place of Imbula. Baup is going for broke.

Arsenal substitution: Walcott off, Monreal on. Wenger is seeking to bolt the door. Probably wise, as Napoli are currently tonking Dortmund 2-0, so anything less than victory in OM could prove costly.

76 min: A ferocious long-range shot from Valbuena is well held by Szczesny.

74 min: More fine work by Gibbs to cut out a dangerous cross. But Valbuena gathers the ball at the edge of the box and spins .... and then shanks his shot over the bar.

73 min: OM substitution: Payet off, J Ayew on.

72 min: Giroud jumps well to meet a Walcott corner but sends his header wide.

70 min: Arsenal trying to sap OM'\s morale further with some keep-ball.

68 min: Szczesny slightly misjudges a hopeful Payet shot from 25 yards, conceding a needless corner. Nowt of note results.

GOAL! OM 0-1 Arsenal (Walcott 64)

Moments after Arsenal get away with horrendous goofing at the back, OM do not. Morel made a dog's dinner of trying to clear a Gibbs cross from the right, serving it up for Walcott, who, from eight yards, wallops an unstoppable volley into the net!


63 min: Gibbs couldn't resist Fanni that time. He was shunted out of the way by the rampaging right-back, who pulled the ball to the edge of the area, from where Imbula eventually fired low and hard at Szczesny. Saved competently.


60 min: What an escape for Arsenal! Gibbs saved them after Mertesacker made an embarrassing gaffe, slashing an attempted clearance over Szczesny and towards goal! The quick-thinking, well-positioned left-back hoofed it to safety as OM tried to help the ball into the net.

59 min: A nicely floated ball by WIlshere from the right finds Ramsey coming in at the back post. He went for a first-time sidefooter from six yards and the keeper pushed it behind for a corner.

58 min: Gah! Walcott manages to close off a promising opening by receiving Ozil's pass and then running into trouble rather than away from it.

56 min: Good - not great- save by Szczesny. By the way, moments ago Ramsey was booked.

54 min: OK, upon seeing the replay I'm going to revise my assessment of Mandanda's save downwards. It was good rather than superb. Often the way to judge saves is to consider how you would have reacted if the ball had gone in, and in this case it would have taken slightly below-par goalkeepign to allow that. For the same reason, I maintain that Gordon Bank's much-vaunted save from Pele in 1970 wasn't all that.

53 min: Excellent by Arsenal! It was their best move of the match, patient probing culminating with an inspired backheel by Ozil into the path of the in-rushing Gibbs, who brought and superb save from Mandanda.

Some quality word-painting from the lads and lassies of Squakwa Football.

50 min: Better from Arsenal. A flowing move concludes with Ozil delivering a low cross from the right that forces OM to concede a corner. Which they clear easily.

48 min: OM finished the first half better and Arsenal do not appear to have come to grips with them yet, as Fanni wanders into the box undetected to collect a pass from the right. He catches the ball sweetly on the half-volley but it flashes inches wide from a difficult angle.

46 min: We have resumption. No changes during the break. Meanwhile, here's Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli at the game. No particular reason for using this photo, but it's better than one of Jon Inverdale.

Lovely photos

Just lovely. Here, see for yourself.

Stoke are playing Arsenal at the weekend so what has goalkeeper Asmir Begovic made of his forthcoming opponents so far? Oh.

Half-time: OM 0-0 Arsenal

Back after a gourd of mead.

45 min: A lovely dinked ball from Imbula is chased by Gignac ... but the striker shies away from challenging Szczesny, who drops it but escapes unpunished due to the striker's hesitancy. And there ends a half in which Arsenal had lapsed into passivity after a brisk start. OM are on top, looking tougher and more inventive than the visitors. Valbuena is joyous.

43 min: Ozil and Wilshere try to make a liar out of me, leading a counter-attack that, ultimately, breaks down when Ramsey's attempt to slip another pass behind Morel for Walcott is misplaced.

41 min: N'Koulou booked for a clunky challenge through the back of Giroud. The correct decision. In general, however, OM's muscularity has been well deployed and is one of the reason why the evening is getting more and more uncomfortable for the visitors. Ozil and Wilshere, for instance, have been outfought regularly.

39 min: Mertesacker does well to cut out a cross at the near post. From the ensuing corner Giganc flashes across Ramsey and sends a glancing header just wide.

37 min: After a good bout of Arsenal possession, Sagna tonks a cross in from the right but OM clear it in extremis. "You're not kidding anyone," spurts James Simmons. "We know those Fanni phrasings are not entirely natural." I don't know what you're driving at. Yes, driving.

35 min: After a bright and breezy opening, the game has become tighter than Perry Groves' shorts used to be. Still an attractive spectacle, though. As is Perry, no doubt.

33 min: Giroud does the Drogba, coming back for a corner and doing better than any of the defenders, leaping well to head way clear.

31 min: Valbuena clips an inviting ball into the Arsenal box. Gignac is the only forward there and can't reach it, but it runs out the other side and is collected by Romao, who blems it back into the danger zone. Again Gignac can't get there.


29 min: As this match goes through a lull, a man who might have been playing in it if Real Madrid had dealt straight has put Napoli 1-0 up against Dortmund. Higuain on the mark.

26 min: Ah-ha! The arrival of Ozil seems to herald a return to the revered Arsenal near-post corner! Mertesacker tried to provide the flick-on just now but, as he stooped to meet it, he copped a boot in the face. He's very irate. The ref doesn't care, seemingly reasoning that the German got his comeuppance for sticking his head so low.


23 min: So there has been a goal in one of tonight's matches. Can you guess who scored it? Go on, take a Gignac-esque wild shot. Yes, Barcelona are leading Ajax 1-0 thanks to Messi. Meanwhile, Gibbs curbs another Fanni break.

21 min: Giroud gifted OM a corner with a wild pass. Arsenal cleared it but OM won it back and, when a cross was fired in from the right, Ayew rose unmarked and sent a 10-yard header narrowly wide.

20 min: Gibbs has made an impressive start to this season - relegating Monreal to a distant second-choice left-back - and he has just displayed his sturdiness again, standing up to the marauding Fanni before dispossessing him and getting Arsenal back on the front foot.

17 min: Ayew darts past Ramsey and feeds Valbuena, who has yet again found space in a threatening area. But his rash shot from 25 yards soars into orbit.

15 min: So after all sheets were defiled all over Europe last night, they all remain clean so far this evening. No goals anywhere. This game has tightened up but remains engrossing: it's probing at a rarefied height.


12 min: OM are refamiliarising themselves with the ball, and Payet and, in particular, Valbuena are radiating innovation and menace. The game's more taut than pupils in a 24-hour txtspeak school.


9 min: It's a fast-paced game and although Arsenal have had the majority of possession so far, they have not been able to enjoy as much as they'd like because of frenetic pressing by OM.

7 min: The diagnonal ball over Morel to Walcott looks like it's going to become a recurring theme: Wilshere has just floated another in that direction and it would have worked a treat, too, if Walcott had not blundered offside.

6 min: Ramsey aims a good long pass behind Morel in the left-back berth. Walcott hares after it and fires off a respectable shot from 18 yards. Well held by Mandanda.

3 min: What an open opening, so to speak. Moments after Valbuena tested Szczesn's alertness with a smart long shot, Arsenal broke forward and Ozil found himself with the ball at his feet by the by-line. However, his delivery did not befit is status as the new Arsenal messiah, as it was too soft and high for Walcott to do anything other than nod it gently towards goals from 10 yards.

2 min: An early flourish from OM, with Valbuena heavily involved as ever. After foxy interplay they curled the ball in from the left and Gignac darted ahead of Koscielny before aiming a dainty flick at goal. Szczesny saved without much ado.

The main selection question facing Baup before this game was whether to deploy Giannelli Imbula or Benoit Cheyrou in midfield: in Wenger-esque spirit, he opted for youth. Though the 21-year-old offers more than that: power and decent vision too. He's the man OM bought instead of Joey Barton and we may soon why.


Let's not indulge in one of those lengthy preambles because this is
not a group for faffing about: with Dortmund and Napoli looming for
each of these sides, both know they've got to tear into this
tournament like barbarians at a banquet. Arsenal are rightly
favourites but Marseille are no sleeping cows waiting to be tipped:
they will resist fiercely and N'Koulou could be just the centreback to
put a stop to Giroud's splendid scoring streak - but probably not
given the quality of supply from the unsung summer recruit, Mesut
Ozil. OM's trio of tricksters behind the in-form Gignac can be
wonderful too (and they can throw on the potentially explosive Florian
Thauvin from the bench if need be: do Arsenal have as much attacking
power in their dugout). My tea leaves tell me this is going to be a
high-scoring funfest. Bring it.

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