Wilshere double leads Arsenal over Marseille in Champions League
LONDON (AP) - Jack Wilshere scored twice in an Arsenal game for the first time to give the Gunners a 2-0 victory over Marseille, keeping the Group F leaders on course to qualify for the Champions League knockout phase for the 14th successive season.
The midfielder took just 29 seconds to put Arsenal in front after completing a fast break against the bottom-place visitors.
Despite controlling the game, Arsenal squandered a string of chances - including a missed penalty by Mesut Ozil - and couldn't find the net again until the 65th minute, when Wilshere tapped in his second.
Going into the last round of group matches, Arsenal has a three-point lead over Borussia Dortmund and Napoli after the German side won 3-1 in the other Group F game.
Fans were still drifting into their seats when Arsenal went in front from the kickoff.
Wilshere stormed down the right flank, cut into the penalty area past Lucas Mendes and lifted the ball into the net inside the first minute.
It was Arsenal's quickest goal in the Champions League since Gilberto Silva netted after 20 seconds against PSV Eindhoven in 2002.
This was the free-flowing passing football Arsenal produce so well. What it struggled to produce, though, was another goal against a team already out of contention in the Champions League.
Another silky attack was completed by Wilshere squaring to Aaron Ramsey, but the midfielder managed to turn the ball straight to Steve Mandanda rather than placing it under the goalkeeper.
Arsenal was repeatedly sending the ball over the visiting defense to create openings, but the finishing wasn't as elegant.
When Mesut Ozil met Ramsey's dinked ball he couldn't get a clean shot away as it came off his shin.
Arsenal was gifted a chance to double the lead by referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz.
A penalty seemed to be harshly awarded when Ramsey was brought down by Nicolas N'Koulou just outside the penalty area, as replays showed. There was justice for Marseille when Ozil's penalty lacked power and was easily saved by Mandanda.
The wastefulness ensured the mood at halftime wasn't so buoyant around the Emirates Stadium.
And the second half began in similar fashion, with Ozil's low shot turned round after Wilshere raised the ball to the Germany playmaker.
As frustrations grew, Olivier Giroud headed downwards and couldn't follow up with a shot before Mandanda collected the ball.
Any anxieties went when Arsenal's richly deserved second goal came.
Ramsey picked out Ozil on the right and a low cross was delivered to Wilshere, who dispatched the ball in the net with ease.
Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny then had his busiest spell as the game entered its final 20 minutes.
Florian Thauvin volleyed on the turn to Szczesny and it required Nacho Monreal to scoop ball clear from goal line.
Thauvin was denied again when Szczesny prevented the shot from going into the bottom right of the net.
Marseille left London still without a point and at the bottom of the group after five losses.
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