Here are my thoughts on today’s pre-season friendly against Vietnam.
In today’s match, Arsenal looked a bit sluggish. After a quick start and a Giroud goal, the tempo of the game slowed down for a bit. This is surprising, considering the strong line-up with which Arsene started. However, in the end we picked up the tempo and put seven goals by yet another team.
The first goal involved a smart, chipped through ball from Rosicky to Giroud. Giroud received the ball, was calm, and fired it across goal without even looking. He got a bit lucky, as the goalie got a touch to it and it hit the post, but in the end it was in.
After that goal Arsenal became too comfortable. The midfield looked off the pace and the possession was not good. We didn’t use the wings as much as we should’ve and it stopped us from creating chances. Later in the first half Poldi wiggled his way into the box and tried to lay it off to Giroud, but in the end they weren’t on the same page. Then Poldi again would take a shot similar to Giroud’s first and hit the post, with the rebound from Gnabry being saved by the Vietnamese goalie.
It took until the 43rd minute for Arsenal to regain their tempo again, with Giroud putting a nice curling shot into the upper corner; and then a minute later, a nice run from Ox with a smart through ball at the end, saw Giroud in on goal and he calmly chipped the goalie for his hat trick.
At halftime Arsene changed nearly the whole team. Right away Theo had a nice chance, but his first touch let him down and he had to turn to lay the ball off to the Ox, who instantly curled it into the top corner; so, no complaints on that one. However, Theo’s first touch was untidy throughout the whole game and he ruined countless opportunities. It’s only the beginning of preseason, but if Theo wants to play striker, his touch needs to be well above the level it’s at now.
Akpom would also show his potential in this game. In the 55th minute, Ramsey poked a nice ball through the defence. Chuba timed his run well, stayed onside, calmly turned around a defender, and bent a ball into the far post with his favored right foot.
Only a few minutes later Zelalem did it again. He played a nice 15 yard ball on the ground, through the Vietnamese defense to Ox, who smartly squared the ball for Akpom to tap home his second. However, this goal was all about GZ. He got the ball a few yards outside the box, got his head up, and hit the ball with the perfect pace and power to find Ox’s feet. For a 16 year old, Zelalem is class. If he keeps his head down and works hard, we really might have the next Fabregas on our hands. He should be given a few Capital One Cup games this year for sure.
Finally, good combinations from Eisfeld and Miquel down the left saw Eisfeld play a good ‘negative’ ball to the Spaniard’s feet, and Iggy fired it across goal into the far post’s side netting. It was a poacher’s goal for the left back.
After that seventh goal, Arsenal sat back and Vietnam got a lucky goal. Martinez’s foot work on this goal was not good as he struggled to get off the ground. Wilshere came on and looked fit, even forcing the opposition’s keeper to get a red card for handling the ball outside of his box to stop Jack from scoring.
One final interesting note: two of Arsenal’s four centre backs today were not recognized centre backs! In the first half Sagna played in the middle of the defense and looked very fit (and much sharper than Kos). In the second half Aneke replaced Sagna in the middle. It’s interesting that Aneke has played in the middle two games in a row now. Perhaps Wenger is looking to convert him? Or is there just no room for him in our crowded midfield? Please let me know your views below.
Overall, Arsenal looked tired today. Maybe it was the heat or the constant training or the long nights and early mornings. Or maybe it’s just preseason. Zelalem impressed again (even earning some praise from Jack in a post-match interview), Giroud looks set for a big season, and the future still looks bright.
Here are a few questions for you:
- What did you think of Arsenal’s performance today?
- Is Wenger looking to convert Aneke to CB, or does he just not fit into Arsene’s plans for our midfield?
- Do we need a fourth choice CB or could we use Sagna there when necessary, put Jenks on the right, and have Bellerin as backup on the right?
Thanks for reading. 😀
Written by: Dylan.