Game 1 vs Napoli:
Here are my thoughts on Saturday’s Emirates Cup game against Napoli.
Saturday’s match was Arsenal’s first real test of pre-season. Unfortunately, the Gunners did not look up to the challenge. A slow start to the game was a precursor for a mostly slow game.
It was just the 6th minute Arsenal’s defense fell apart. A long ball was lobbed from half field and into our box. Jenkinson did good work tracking back and marking Insigne, only for the ball to take an unlucky bounce on his head that put the ball right on Insigne’s foot and he easily put it by a helpless Fabianski.
You can’t really fault Jenkinson in this case. A lot of defending is experience and he is still young. From that experience he will learn to just head the ball away and not risk keeping it in. Better to learn now than to have to learn in a cup final, or a crucial Premier League game, or something else. He will improve, so let’s not slam him too hard for this.
Their next goal came in the 28th minute with many different Arsenal players at fault. To start with, Hamsik was not closed down fast enough in the midfield. Both of our DMs were too high up the field to cover him and he broke down the field. The next problem was that Mertesacker was too slow to track Pandev’s diagonal run across the field. Finally, Fabianski absolutely made a mistake by coming out without getting the ball. Mertesacker was close enough to contain Pandev and our other defenders would’ve had time to come back and cover. Overall, it was bad positioning and communication that led to their goal, but it all starts in the midfield. A single DM would’ve been sitting farther back and Hamsik may not have even gotten that ball, but due to the double DM pivot one miscommunication where both go forward can lead to that mistake.
After Arteta came on, we seemed to regain some shape and begin to play better. Finally our breakthrough came in the 72nd minute with a beautiful overhead kick from Giroud off of a corner kick. Now, I don’t want to hear it called Sagna’s goal. Yes, he hit it, but come on. Everyone loves a bicycle kick so let’s just stick with that.
After that the tempo picked up and in the 86th minute we struck again. A great ball off a free kick from Arteta, a save by Reina from a header, and a brilliant follow up from Koscielny put the ball in. The determination from Kos was very nice to see and it was great to see him celebrate with the fans.
Unfortunately, the game ended soon after and it ended 2-2. Many positives could be taken from this game though. Rosicky looked lively, Jack looked very close to 100%, and some real heart was shown by Ox and Chuba amongst others.
Game 2 vs Galatasaray:
Here are my thoughts on Sunday’s friendly against Galatasaray.
Sunday’s match started out fantastically for the Gunners. Some really good passing was occurring and the team looked much better than on Saturday.
Sanogo had a chance early on that he just couldn’t convert. Sanogo and Walcott appeared to combine very well throughout the game and overall Sanogo had a pretty good debut.
Arsenal looked very dangerous during the first half and a few chances just wouldn’t go in. Theo missed one or two chances before just barely missing again after a beautiful long ball from Aaron. A few more chances would come and go before a nothing cross from Theo somehow ended up in the back of the net.
After half time the Arsenal looked lethargic and slow. Zelalem and Giroud coming on gave us a little bit zip for a while, but it slowed down again.
In the end, Drogba won a very soft penalty that he easily converted and then a mistake at the back from Mertesacker allowed Drogba to take a touch by him and put in the winning goal.
After this, Arsenal threw everything at Galatasaray, but in the end it wasn’t enough. Arsenal didn’t deserve to lose, but in the end they did and it comes down to being more clinical in the end. There was a mix of positives and negatives from this match. After half time, we missed the zip that Rosicky had provided in the previous game, but it was a positive that Zelalem looked like he could provide that in the near future. Miquel did not look ready for the first team, but Gibbs looked set for a big season and Jenkinson looks determined to prove himself this season. It was a disappointing game, but hopefully it shows Wenger that we need more players in our squad, especially with Gervinho and Chamakh leaving.
For now I’ll leave you with some questions:
1) What did you think of the Emirates Cup?
2) Did Ox looked ready to take on that CAM role?
3) What youngsters from the Emirates Cup should be given a chance to stay with the first team in our friendly against ManCity and prove they’re ready for first team?
4) Are you sad to see Gervinho leave?
5) Who would you buy to replace Gervinho?
Thanks for reading. 😀
Written by: Dylan.