Here are my thoughts on Arsenal’s final pre-season friendly against Premier League rivals, Manchester City.
In today’s match, Arsenal started slow and ended slow, but really played some great football for the middle 60 minutes of the game.
Our first goal was an early one. ManCity was putting us under huge pressure and it seemed as though we were going to be torn apart, but Arsenal wasn’t going to just lie down and die. Aaron Ramsey took the ball off the foot of a City player, ran at the City midfield, got his head up, and played a through ball right onto Walcott’s foot. The pass was incredible: perfectly weighted, right to Theo’s foot, and it was a pass that took great vision to spot. However, the run dictates the pass; and Walcott’s run was brilliant. Theo was patient (which was important so that he wasn’t offside), waited for Clichy to turn, and as the ball was played he used his speed to make a diagonal run across the face of Clichy, go in on goal, and chip Joe Hart. Great run, great pass, great finish.
Our second goal would again see Ramsey and Walcott combine to embarrass Joe Hart once more. The City midfield was relaxed and Aaron made a run into the space between Manchester’s midfield and defenders. Santi played a straight forward ball to him, and rather than try to be fancy and dribble through the defenders, Aaron played a quick ball back to Theo; Theo one touched it back to him right through two defenders, and Rambo rounded the keeper and placed the ball calmly into the net. Ramsey and Walcott both looked very mature, calm, and unselfish for this goal which was fantastic to see from two players who have been known to dribble too much.
Not long after that, Arsenal would grab a third. City were slowly passing around the ball in our half, one of our defenders made a good tackle, the ball rolled to Santi’s foot, and Santi played a quick ball to Theo. Theo received the ball and quickly turned. He saw he had space and ran with the ball down the touchline. He saw the chance to play a long ball and sliced a humongous cross all the way to the other side of the field, putting so much power on it that he actually fell over. Giroud saw the ball coming, opened up, touched it by the City defender, and chipped Joe Hart: a world class finish for a striker who looks set for a big season.
Giroud would later score a beautiful volley, but it would be called offside. It would’ve been another Walcott assist and it was indeed a beautiful cross from him. However, an interesting part of all of these chances is how quickly we turned defense into offense, something some say we’ve lacked without a true DM. However, Ramsey especially is learning how to do this very well, and bringing in Gustavo would give us another player who is absolutely brilliant at doing just that: something to make note of. 😉
City would pull one back in the 79th minute. A long through ball saw Negredo touch the ball past Koscielny and calmly finish the chance. In fairness, Arsenal had made a large number of changes and most of them were youngsters, but that doesn’t excuse Kos’ relaxed defending on this goal. We’ll give him that one, though, as he had a great game overall. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen when we play them in the league, though.
A final interesting point was that Sebastian Perez made his debut for Arsenal in this friendly, but without officially signing for Arsenal (or at the least, it hasn’t been announced yet). Perez looked very committed to Arsenal already though; even picking up a very professional yellow card to stop a Manchester attack. For those who don’t know, Perez is a 20 year old Columbian defensive midfielder on a week’s trial at Arsenal. He looked fairly impressive with a few smart turns and tackles, but from what I saw he looked more like a box-to-box midfielder than a DM.
However, all I’ve seen of him was this 23 minute debut, and I did hear that he started as a number 10 and slowly moved his way back through the midfield to DM, so that could explain it. I expect he’ll be signed soon, and that’ll be a very nice signing, but for the future.
Speaking of which, Wenger made comments after the game, admitting that our squad is thin. This seemed odd to me, as it would have been the perfect time to gloat about how his squad was “capable of winning the title”. However, it’s good to see Wenger admit this, and it seems as though he is ready to make not just one, but a few signings.
Overall, the team played well on Saturday and hopefully this win will inspire the team and lead to us starting the season strong.
For now, here are some questions:
1. How did you think our squad looked on Saturday?
2. How many signings do you think Wenger will make?
3. Can this squad handle the fixtures that lead up to deadline day without reinforcements?
Thanks for reading. 😀
Written by: Dylan.