Gunners' progress delayed by Marseilles

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 also made two changes to their starting line-up, bringing in Mathieu Valbuena and Alou Diarra.

The pair's inclusion was part of an attack-minded philosophy adopted by OM at the Emirates Stadium and one that almost paid dividends immediately.

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

Marseille continued to dominate the opening exchanges as 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.

Arsenal were now controlling play and defending deep, aware of the threat Marseille posed on the counter-attack.

But despite the home side's best efforts, OM were still finding space in the attacking third and Remy came close with a low drive after a neat one-two with Benoit Cheyrou.

Wenger's side were also looking dangerous on the break and, after Gervinho saw a drive stopped superbly by Mandanda, hesitation saw Park and then Ramsey waste decent opportunities to score.

Diarra was booked for a foul on the latter as Marseille struggled to keep the Arsenal attack at bay, with the resulting free-kick curled just wide by Mikel Arteta.

The second period started in the same manner in which the opening 45 minutes ended, with Arsenal dominating possession but failing to create any clear chances.

Gervinho and Park were both struggling to produce the moment of magic that would force an equaliser, which led Wenger to replace the latter with talisman Van Persie in the 62nd minute.

The Holland international received a standing ovation from the home faithful on his introduction, as did Ramsey when he was taken off in favour of Tomas Rosicky moments later.

Arsenal looked to be struggling after their weekend exertions at Stamford Bridge as the match petered out into a tepid affair.

Neither side showed any cutting edge and the match seemed set for a draw, leading Wenger to make his last roll of the dice with the out-of-sorts Gervinho replaced by Andrey Arshavin.

Moments later, out of nothing, Van Persie wriggled free only to waste the best opportunity of the half. The Arsenal skipper was released by an exquisite through-ball from Rosicky, although his audacious chip was thwarted with ease by Mandanda.

It was to be the Gunners' only chance of note as the clock ran down and OM pressed for the all-important goal.

After Jordan Ayew's header flew wide, substitute Morgan Amalfitano shot across the face of goal before then seeing a cross blocked by Per Mertesacker.

PA

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
News
i100
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments