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Thursday 20 September 2018

Wenger calls on Gunners to 'finish the job'

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."

Arsenal 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.

Pressure

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, 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 Premier League leaders.

Wenger praised his side's patience after their flying start, saying: "We were in control of the game overall and I never really felt we were under threat.

"We were so much in control that we felt that would come. It came a little bit late for my taste, but it came."

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