Blogs & Opinion


Paul Merson hails Arsenal's great start to their Champions League

Paul Merson - Paul Merson Posted 19th September 2013 view comments

Paul Merson says Aaron Ramsey is playing as well as anyone in the country after the midfielder helped Arsenal to a dream start to their Champions League campaign.

Ramsey scored Arsenal's second goal, and played a central role, in the Gunners' 2-1 victory over Marseille at the Stade Velodrome on Wednesday night.

Read the full match report.

Aaron Ramsey: Six goals in seven games

Aaron Ramsey: Six goals in seven games

The 22-year-old's second-half strike was his sixth goal in seven games this season and Merson praised his performance, despite the Wales international conceding a late penalty which led to Marseille's goal.

"The lad is on fire," Merson told Sky Sports. "I just hope he doesn't take it too hard giving away the penalty - he seemed upset after the game.

To score six goals already this season - we're in the middle of September - for a midfield player it is some going.

Paul Merson
Quotes of the week

"He is playing as well as anybody in the country at the moment. To score six goals already this season - we're in the middle of September - for a midfield player, it is some going.

"He is one of the ones who you didn't expect to be on this kind of role. You normally talk about Wilshere and Cazorla before you talk about Aaron Ramsey.

"But he has been absolutely outstanding and not just his goals, everything about him, he covers every blade of grass."

Theo Walcott scored Arsenal's opening goal with a stunning volley after Kieran Gibbs' cross was diverted into the forward's path.

And Merson admitted that he was as surprised as Marseille by the ferocity and accuracy of Walcott's strike.

"You could not believe how difficult it is to do what Theo Walcott did," he said.

"That would not be far off one of the best goals he's scored in his career so far. That was such a good finish, it was unbelievable. It was a phenomenal finish and he made it look very simple."

Flyer

Merson hailed the victory as a great result for the Gunners ahead of their two home games with Napoli and Borussia Dortmund.

But he believes Napoli remain the Group F favourites following their victory over Dortmund in Italy.

"It is a major, major result [for Arsenal]," Merson said. "To win away in the first game of the Champions League gets them off to a flyer. It was absolutely outstanding.

"I would have to say advantage Napoli. If Arsenal can get four points out of their next two home games, then they are on the way. You would have to say they will beat Marseille at home and that would be their 10 points.

"So they have got two big games at home, two very difficult football matches. But it is a great start. What else could you ask for?"

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Guillem Balague

Guillem: Messi has changed

Guillem Balague explains how Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are playing new roles this season....

Chris Kamara

Kammy's Weekend Review

Frank Lampard showed his class, says Kammy - but Spurs and Everton paid for European exertions....

Gary Neville

Neville: Man Utd 'soft-centred'

Gary Neville says 'soft-centred' Manchester United were 'bullied' by Leicester City in 5-3 defeat....

Latest News RSS feeds

Mata issues United apology

Juan Mata has apologised to Manchester United fans after the team's embarrassing capitulation at Leicester on Sunday.

Guillem: Messi has changed

Guillem Balague explains how Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are playing new roles this season.

Leeds set to unveil Milanic

Leeds United are set to confirm Darko Milanic as their new head coach on Monday evening on a two-year contract.

Debuchy out for three months

Arsenal defender Mathieu Debuchy has been ruled out for three months after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle.

Rodgers retains belief

Brendan Rodgers remains hopeful that Liverpool can overcome their sluggish start, but admits he needs to lift morale.

Features

James Milner: Manchester City’s key man in Premier League draw with Chelsea

James Milner: Manchester City’s key man in Premier League draw with Chelsea

Although Chelsea will consider themselves unfortunate to have let their lead slip, it was fitting that James Milner provided the spark to reignite his Manchester City’s fortunes in Sunday’s draw between the two Premier League title rivals.

Mesut Ozil – Aston Villa 0 Arsenal 3: What did you think of German World Cup winner in Premier League win?

Mesut Ozil – Aston Villa 0 Arsenal 3: What did you think of German World Cup winner in Premier League win?

One minute and 19 seconds. That was the time it took for a transformation in the appraisals of Mesut Ozil.

Leicester City 5 Manchester United 3: What went wrong for Louis van Gaal’s defence in Premier League defeat?

Leicester City 5 Manchester United 3: What went wrong for Louis van Gaal’s defence in Premier League defeat?

After last weekend’s procession over Queens Park Rangers had been billed as a new dawn for Manchester United, Sunday’s shocking 5-3 defeat at Leicester City provided the ultimate reality check.