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Football back on the menu

by on July 14, 2011

Well that was fun wasn’t it. The close-season is over and Arsenal showed their title-credentials by smashing an all-star Malaysian XI 4-0. Okay, so maybe we shouldn’t get carried away, but it was still nice to see the boys playing, even in our new ‘Wycombe Wanderers kit‘.

Check out the latest Nick Palmer column for what happened during the match in terms of goals and interesting things, I’ll just offer my opinion on how the players looked after a summer off. It’s hard to judge the keepers seeing as neither were really tested. Carl Jenkinson got a start and kept going until the 66th minute. He looked strong and yet deceptively quick and it was interesting to note his high level of fitness compared to many of the other players, he seemed to fit right into the team like a youngster from the reserves which bodes well. Koscielny and Vermaelen didn’t have too much to do. Squillaci and Koscielny came on at half-time. Still didn’t have much to do.  Bacary Sagna came on for Jenkinson and that was about it really. He made a few passes, got down the flank a few times and just generally acted like it was a pre-season game. Gibbs and Traore both got 45 minutes at left-back and both impressed. Admittedly they’re likely to face greater defensive challenges but both were willing to get forward, had good delivery in the final third and most importantly kept up Clichy’s high pressing game.

The midfield trio of Alex Song, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey was perhaps the most pleasing aspect for me, there was a lot more fluidity as Ramsey drifts around a lot more than Fabregas which allows Song and Wilshere greater freedom. Ramsey looks to be finding his feet after his cameo last season with a goal and assist in Malaysia while Jack managed to win the penalty five minutes in. Rosicky, Frimpong and Denilson came on at half-time to differing degrees of success. Denilson apparently had a niggle, shouldn’t have even started and went straight down the tunnel when he came off 20 minutes later. Frimpong was decent, he played in the ‘Song role’ I suppose, but it’s not hard to mop-up the midfield when you’ve got most of the ball so he was restricted to turning over possession and supporting the attacks when required. Rosicky was finally played in a free-role which worked really well. He drifted wide when required and knew who was where all the time. It’s presumptuous to say that the old Rosicky is back but he looked on top form, was really creative and definitely deserved his goal. Denilson came off for Samir Nasri who played pretty well, running at defenders and trying make things happen, although perhaps a bit selfish. Proving a point maybe?

The front-three was Walcott and Miyaichi with Chamakh in the centre. Walcott looked pretty good, a nice goal and maybe the chance for another or an assist, he popped up in dangerous positions. Marouane Chamakh didn’t look much better than the end of last season unfortuately, he just seemed to drift around and wasn’t really that dangerous. With luck, its just a case of him trying to find his fitness. Young Ryo looked good. He certainly has pace in abundance and a little box of tricks to get past his man to go with work ethic. Although he could clearly use a bit more expereince in terms of when to pass, when to run at the defenders, when to cross etc. he is looking good. Walcott and Chamakh went off at half-time while Miyaichi lasted until the 66thminute.

The attack was then made up of Van Persie, Vela and Arshavin. Van Persie was quiet off the bench, with the game already won he just linked together a few passes and looked to play people in as is the Van Persie way. Arshavin had one of those Arshavin moments. Quiet. Quiet. Quiet. Gets the ball. Runs to byeline. Sticks it up. What do you know, he’s made a goal. Didn’t do much until that assist. Nice assist though. I was pleased with Vela, he was closing down, playing people in and got his traditional chip. He did show his one-footed-ness though which needs improvement. I know it’s early doors but if he has that work-ethic to go with his talent this could be the season he breaks through. If not then he’ll go down as a footnote in history I suppose.

Right, that’s the teeny-little review out of the way then. You can find all the highlights as always on Arsenalist. If you haven’t already then you can check out the managers post-match presser here. He’s spoken about the debutants, the Samir Nasri situation and the Malaysia leg of the Asia tour. I’m not sure if I’ll have a video up. I’ve been working on getting a video page but there are a few technical problems with the feed. With luck it will be up by the start of the season.

For more on the Samir Nasri situation, this BBC Sport article seems to cover most of the points. Indeed, the boss has almost guaranteed than Samir will be here next season.

I know that Xavi has been spouting shit again, but what-ho. Nick has spoken about that in his column and I can’t be assed so if you haven’t already then read that.

That’s about it for today, no rumours of any substance to talk about so I’ll see you all soon.

Laters. @SavageGooner

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