The boys were back in action last night at the fearsome Stade Velodrome with not many pundits or journalists giving us a prayer against a team who have not conceded a goal at home in over 460 minutes in the champions league.

The home support was as ferocious as ever before kick off and I sat there thinking this is going to be a long night and I will be glad to come away with a point.

The Game

The match was a fairly cagey affair with both teams looking comfortable in possession without having a real goal threat. Marseille had a few moments, but Szczesny was not made to work particularly hard as compared to other recent games. I think both teams deserved to come away with at least a point but well done Rambo for anticipating the pass from Djourou and nicking right at the end. That was what I like to call a dirty one nil.

Back in action after the international break, Arsenal started in the right direction. An early goal and a goal in the final ten minutes gave Arsenal a 2-1 which helped them jump into the top half of the table. This was a result that no doubt increased the confidence of the entire squad and allowed Wenger and the fans to breathe easy for another day and provided everybody with a little bit of optimism.

Leading by example

Robin van Persie was sensational again, putting the team on his back and scoring both goals in the win. With all the talks surrounding his future Van Persie made sure, with his performance today, that everyone knows where his priorities lie right now.  Even though Van Persie has always been at the heart of the Arsenal attack and has shown tremendous skill I think this, provided that he stays healthy, will definitely be his best season in Arsenal and at the moment I think it would be hard to argue otherwise.

The bragging rights remain in the white side of North London as Tottenham overcame a dominant Arsenal side to win 2-1 with goals from Van Der Vart, Walker and Ramsey. It was a similar sight for all Arsenal fans yesterday; we had more possession, more clear cut chances but we allowed ourselves to be wasteful that allowed Tottenham to exploit our failing defense.

Lack of potency

Tottenham were labelled favourites before the game and even though they came out with the 3 points I still don’t wholly argue with that. Speaking with Tottenham fans after the game it was agreed that Arsenal was in fact the better team throughout the game but just became too wasteful with possession, and often losing the ball with wayward passing which Ramsey was guilty of on several occasions.

Scott Parker, a player that most Arsenal fans would have loved to have signed this summer had a chance to make his mark on his first North London derby when he shot straight at Szcenesy after being put through on goal by Van Der Vart. At the other end a brilliant run by Van Persie down the left flank opened up Tottenham’s defense and his cut back found an unmarked Gervinho who could only fire wide.

As Arsenal they approached Sunday's North London derby, they made heavy weather of securing a 2-1 victory over the Greek side, Olympiakos. If this was meant to be the equivalent of a tune-up fight for the imminent encounter with Tottenham, Arsenal took a few unexpected sharp blows, before recovering to win on points.

1st Half

Despite going into a 2-0 lead, it seemed as if Arsenal were trying to surpass recent efforts at Old Trafford and Ewood Park, and make this their worst half of football for the season.

The plus points were few, but telling. Both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andre Santos marked their Champions League debuts for the club by scoring after both capitalising on a fortuitous run of the ball to finish with aplomb when presented with good chances.

As Arsenal welcomed Bolton to the Emirates on Saturday afternoon, both teams were feeling the pressure of a tough start to the season. Bolton, despite a morale-boosting 4-0 victory over QPR at the beginning of the season, had stuttered into a 4-match losing streak. Arsenal have had to deal with the loss of key players through injury and suspension, a leaky defence and unprecedented challenges to Arsene Wenger. Arsenal and Bolton both secured wins in their midweek Carling Cup fixtures and were looking to gain some momentum in this game. Inevitably some of the pre-match talk was centred on Bolton’s central defensive mainstay, Gary Cahill. The classy defender was the subject of at least one bid from the Arsenal in the summer but failed to secure a move in what became a rather acrimonious affair. Unfortunately he was replaced by David Wheater for the visitors after picking up an illness.

Arsenal started with the news Jack Wilshere would be required to undergo surgery which is likely to rule him out until 2012, with Abou Diaby and Thomas Vermaelen also  long-term absentees. Sagna recovered from the knock which forced him off against Blackburn last week, with returns to the starting line-up for Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott. Oxlade-Chamberlain was given a place in the squad after his impressive goalscoring outing in the Carling Cup versus Shrewsbury, while Yossi Benayoun was ruled out with a muscle strain. Bolton started with their captain, Kevin Davies, on the bench, suiting an Arsenal defence who have previously been sent into disarray by his highly ‘physical’ approach to the game.