If you managed to watch the whole England v Costa Rica game without falling asleep, then well done you! We football junkies need to feed on every morsel thrown at us, but boy was last night’s ‘friendly’ tedious to the extreme. England have a system of play that consists of high energy and pressing high as well as quick passing with the aim to get through parked defences. Costa Rica sat back and further back and struggled throughout the game to get anywhere near the England box. They just could not deal with the energy of the English and the lack of available space to play the ball. It made for a very one-sided and boring game.
From an Arsenal perspective we can make a few observations:
- Welbeck scored! He came on late as a sub once again, but this time he found the net from close range with his head. He showed Dele Alli where he wanted the ball and, whether everybody’s favourite warm and cuddly Spud meant it or not, he delivered it perfectly and Danny pounced, needing the post to get it into a wide open space ahead of him. This will have done him a world of good and let’s hope he will get a few more during the WC. We all know that he gives his all, but he needs to improve his bread and butter stats.
- Campbell had a poor game. I am a fan of Joel and would not mind to see him back at Arsenal, but last night’s showing was anything but convincing. He was isolated a lot and once he got the ball he tried to get the game going, but, unlike Iwobi a few days ago, he did not manage to hold onto the ball long and make space for himself and others. He had a few half opportunities to create a chance for others or to have a go himself, but time after time he fluffed it. His willingness to put pressure on defenders and midfielders was unimpressive, but then again, so was the entire Costa Rica team’s. It just seems that the English soil is not suited for him, and let’s see whether he’ll do better during the much more meaningful WC games in Russia.
- England miss (a) Jack Wilshere. I like the fitness levels and willingness to press high of the English team, but what it lacked was a creative conductor. It is all very frantic and not easy on the eye, and quite inefficient if you ask me. Without an Eriksen, De Bruine or Ozil, England lack a player who can see gaps in front of him or spot movement early and then pinpoint deliver a throughball or cross. In short the Tree Lions lack inventiveness, a creative scalpel. I know that Jack’s fitness levels are a continuous issue and it is now highly likely that he will not progress much further, but England still could desperately do with him. If not in Plan A, he would be good to have on the bench and come on in the second half to find the holes in the tiring parked-bus defences and make the difference.