Wenger wants professional finish

Arsene Wenger has challenged his Arsenal players to guarantee their place in the last 16 of the Champions League against Napoli.

Last Updated: 27/11/13 at 07:21 Post Comment

Arsene Wenger: On the verge of the last 16 with Arsenal

Arsene Wenger: On the verge of the last 16 with Arsenal

Arsene Wenger challenged his Arsenal players to "finish the job" and guarantee their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a positive result in Napoli after beating Group F whipping boys Marseille 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium.

England midfielder Jack Wilshere scored both goals for the Gunners, who following Borussia Dortmund's 3-1 home win over Napoli now just need to avoid a three-goal defeat when they travel to Italy next month to qualify with a draw securing top spot and with it seeding for the knockout stages

Wenger, though, will take nothing for granted.

He said: "It is unbelievable, (not to have qualified yet with 12 points), but it is reality. We have to finish the job.

"It is not an easy situation - it is a tricky situation because you can think, 'Okay, let's just not lose big' but I think that would be a mistake.

"[We need 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 game] yet. They will have to turn up. They will be under pressure to at least take some points from this group stage."

Arsenal had swept into the lead after just 28 seconds when Wilshere broke clear and cut back inside to smash the ball past Steve Mandanda.

The Marseille goalkeeper then saved from Aaron Ramsey at point-blank range, but Arsenal should have been further ahead just before the break when Mesut Ozil's weak penalty was palmed away.

Eventually, Arsenal's pressure in the second half told as Wilshere swept home Ozil's pass on 65 minutes.

Marseille - who had lost all four European ties so far - did mount a brief rally, with substitute Florian Thauvin having a shot cleared off the line by full-back Nacho Monreal, in for the ill Kieran Gibbs, and was also denied by a good save from Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

Arsenal substitutes Santi Cazorla blazed over from 10 yards and then Theo Walcott stabbed wide when clear through, but the result was already secure for the Barclays Premier League leaders.

Wilshere showed no signs of any fatigue with an all-action display at the heart of the Gunners side.

"I liked his first goal because before he would rush a little bit," said Wenger. "He is starting to think, 'What (Aaron) Ramsey can do, I can do as well', the first goal shows that."

The Arsenal boss praised his side's patience after their flying start. He said: "We were in control of the game overall and I never really felt that we were under threat.

"Sometimes we were missing the cutting edge to finish the game off early on, but we were so much in control that we felt that would come. It came a little bit late for my taste, but it came."

Wenger refused to condemn Ozil, the club's record £43million signing, for seeing what was a somewhat lazy penalty effort saved.

"Everyone can miss a penalty," Wenger said. "His run up to the ball was short, but that's the way he takes them."

The Gunners boss, though, was unhappy that midfielder Mathieu Flamini had cut the sleeves of his jersey short.

"I was surprised, he won't do that again," he said.

Marseille coach Elie Baup, meanwhile, admitted his men had again been second best in Europe.

He said: "This game was a continuation of our other matches of the Champions League, with a very high level of demand.

"Against the top teams, we should have been more aggressive, but from the group draw, we always knew it would be difficult."


New Sky Bet customers: Claim free £5 bet every week


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

really enjoyed this. Thanks F365 for another year of work avoidance - happy Christmas.

megabrow (cufc)
Our Person Of The Year: Alan Pardew

I

m no Sam Fan and this article sums him up beautifully. I always like to imagine that when he watches anything on TV and hears clapping, he stands up and aknowledges the applause, thinking its for him!

cozens
Football Managers On TV: Sam Allardyce

N

ah, Fergie is just having another pop at Rooney. He just wants to put him down whenever he gets a chance. Rooney is by far the best English player. Carrick is not far behind, mind. However, by elevating Carrick like that, Sir is having a dig at Wayne. Fergie is well-known for mind games like that. Good to see he's still feisty.

timbo
Van Gaal will thrive - Ferguson

Footer 365

Jose Mourinho: It's only a matter of time before John Terry gets new contract

John Terry will definitely stay at Chelsea beyond the end of his current deal, Jose Mourinho says.

Chelsea striker Fernando Torres to make permanent move to AC Milan ahead of Atletico Madrid return

Fernando Torres will join Milan permanently on January 5 ahead of his expected return to Atletico Madrid.

Neil Warnock sacked by Crystal Palace after run of one win in 12 games

Neil Warnock has been sacked as manager of Crystal Palace, with Keith Millen placed in charge for Sunday's trip to QPR.

Mail Box

Van Gaal's Half-Term Report Card...

One Man United fan isn't happy with the rate the team is progressing under Louis van Gaal, while the mailbox also wishes Liverpool fans a Merry Mid-Table Christmas...

Hang On, Rafa's Success Is No Fluke...

The afternoon mailbox kicks the morning mailbox's arse after claims that Rafa Benitez has fluked his success. Plus, big talk about Liverpool's progress and lots more...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property