Eight very early observations from two Ozzie friendlies.
- The team looks fresh and focussed. There is a good spine in the team and plenty of movement around it, both from the flanks and up-front. It was good to see Elneny playing in the central CB role yesterday. He look calm and in control with good physical presence too. Elneny/BFG/Koz are good options to have for the CCB position and playing Xhaka in the deeper DM role adds real strength to the bottom end of the spine.
- Ramsey ‘The Injun’ is looking bright already. We know him as a slow starter, and we really, really need a good full season from him this time round, and early signs are that he is fit and ready to start the season strongly.
- The same goes for one of my favourite Gunners, Nacho Monreal. Boy he is looking sharp and he produced two assists yesterday. One for Giroud and one for Ramsey, and both very well timed and executed. I am loving the three at the back defence and Nacho is just awesome on the left.
- Lacazette is looking lively but, understandably, still finding his feet at Arsenal. Combining him with the totally reinvigorated Giroud may not be the best thing for the team, but, with Alexis unavailable as yet, it makes sense to play them together.
- Iwobi and the Ox are looking bright and lively and ready to step it up this season. Early days, but I thought they looked eager and focussed yesterday.
- It was also good to see some good and keen youngsters getting a chance. They all had good moments although nobody stood out throughout the game. The Europa league will be ideal for giving some of our most promising talents a chance to gain experience at a very high level. Cannot wait.
- Xhaka is our pivot in the team and his collaboration with Ramsey and Ozil – The ROX – is something to look forward to next season. I love his tidiness, special awareness, positioning, passing and ability to move the game forward instantly. He is also using his physicality better and better now.
- Kola – our new refreshment from Schalke 04, is looking very promising: powerful, hard working, good passer and keen to impress. I want to see more of him but first impression is…. very good.