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Whilst many clubs can suffer from a ‘Euro Hangover’ whereby they fail to perform to their usual standards in the days following a grueling away fixture in the Champions League, Arsenal may have been suffering from a domestic hangover during their draw with Marseille.
Their excellent 5-3 victory over London rivals Chelsea on Saturday may have taken more out of the Arsenal players than at first expected, with the home side looking sluggish throughout their 0-0 draw. The visitors from France were the first to almost break the deadlock, with brothers Andre and Jordan Ayew both coming close on separate occasions.
This game actually represents the first time both brothers have started a Champions League fixture together, and they looked keen to make it a night to celebrate. Arsenal had chances of their own however, the most threatening seeing Gervinho, who has plenty of experience playing Marseille from his time at Lille, play the ball perfectly into the patch on the onrushing Theo Walcott.
Despite placing the shot well towards the bottom corner of the net, the England international saw his shot tipped wide by an excellent save from goalkeeper Steve Mandanda. Both teams seemed to ease up then, seemingly content to go into the interval with the game finely balanced at 0-0, and see what, if any, tactical changes their managers had in store for then.
It looked as though Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger may have had the more effective half-time team talk, as his side came out looking hungry to create more chances for their attacking players. Despite this renewed enthusiasm, striker Ju-Young Park was failing to make anything happen against the Marseille defense, and was substituted for Robin Van Persie.
Fresh from his superb hattrick against Chelsea in the Barclays Premier League, Van Persie will have expected to give Arsenal the lead when he beat the last man of the Marseille defense, and was left one on one with Madanda.
Unfortunately for the home fans though, Van Persie’s effort lacked it’s usual precision, and his attempted chip didn’t quite have enough on it to see it fly over Madanda’s head, and instead fell straight into his arms.
Although a win would have secured qualification from the group stage with two games to spare for Wenger’s men, the draw still keeps them at the top of their group, and reinforces their tag of favorites going into the remaining games.