Here are my thoughts on today’s pre-season friendly against Nagoya Grampus.
In today’s match, Arsenal came up against much tougher competition than we have faced so far this Asia Tour. We had another quick start with another good goal from Giroud, but the Japanese side showed their class and held us for a while after that.
Our first goal was an excellent cross from Rosicky to an unmarked Giroud, who headed it calmly past the near post. I have to say, the unsung hero of this pre-season has been Rosicky. His most memorable moments being his assist to Olsson, his assist for Giroud’s first in the Vietnam game, and this cross today among other things. If he can stay fit all season, he will be big for us. He seems to be someone in the squad who connects well with everyone, and I hope when he decides to retire he will go and get his coaching badges and stay with Arsenal.
It took until the 25th minute for Arsenal to break through again. Theo picked up the ball and brought it down, slipping it past the defender to Giroud with the outside of his foot. Giroud saw he had no space and as he was slid, tried to lay the ball back for Ryo.
Many people are saying it wasn’t a penalty as Giroud was never really hit by the tackle. They are correct, BUT the penalty was NOT called for a foul. It was called for a handball by the player who slid at Giroud, therefore the call was correct. Arteta stepped up like a real leader and let our young Japanese winger take the penalty in his home country. Ryo stepped up and put a powerful penalty just inside the left post. It was a fantastic penalty and he, the crowd, and the Arsenal players were thrilled for him to score in his home country.
At halftime Arsene made only a few changes. Wilshere came on for Rosicky; Zelalem came on for Mikel; Podolski on for Giroud; and Gnabry came on for Ryo. It was after these changes that Arsenal picked up the pace. Gnabry made a few good runs on and off the ball, and had a couple of chances. Theo also had a few shots and the team looked far better. I will put this down to Zelalem.
Zelalem came on and looked even better than before. His normal composure and desire to do well was there, but coupled with good movement from Walcott and Chuba, he had a few defense splitting balls that left the opposition’s defense standing in awe.
One of these through balls led to our third and final goal. Zelalem picked up the ball, saw Theo, and placed a pass with pace, on the ground, between three or four defender, and Theo took a good touch and chipped the keeper from close range.
A few more changes were made throughout the game with Miquel coming on for Gibbs, Aneke on for Ramsey, and Akpom on for Theo. After Miquel came on for Gibbs we must note that there were no defenders on the bench. Wenger really ought to think about buying a new defender, preferably one that plays centre back, but can play as a right back as well. This would mean we have two full defensive lines, as well as a CB who can play left back and a CB who could play right back. Two defensive injuries and an absence should not leave us with only four first team defenders, especially when one is playing out of position.
Nagoya Grampus’ goal was poor marking by our defenders, but Fabianksi really should’ve had the relatively weak header Kisho Yano put in.
Overall, the team played well today, but we need to test ourselves against an EPL strength team to make sure we’re truly ready for the season.
For now I’ll leave you with a few questions;
- What did you think of today’s friendly?
- Does Arsene need to bring in a new defender? If so, what position/positions should they play?
- Will Rosicky be a key player for us this season?
Thanks for reading. 😀
Written by: Dylan.