Guendouzi and Smith-Rowe Impress, Leno Not There Yet: Match Review from Singapore

Today we have a match report from our very own Singapore-based Bergkampesquer, 84. Enjoy. 🙂
Here is the match report on the events and take-aways last night.
On a cooling night, a pre-season game was played out in Singapore. With an attendance of just over 23 thousand, it is definitely not something that would make any local fan feel proud of.
We started with a young team. Matteo Guendouzi started his first match for the club against a proper top-class team, in the DM position, while Reiss Nelson started on the right of midfield, playing in front of Bellerin. Bernd Leno started in goal.
The game started on a positive note, with Guendouzi and Emile Smith-Rowe running the midfield. Atletico’s youngsters started the match in the absence of players playing in the World Cup, and they were kept in their own half for most of the game, and played a counter-attacking game.
We were playing 4-1-3-1-1 in a flat formation.
We had a couple of good chances in the first half, with Lacazette and Auba leading the attack. Atletico’s strength is in their defence and their ability to turn defence into attack quickly, thus it was no surprises that we were almost caught out at times. However, Holding, Guendouzi and Mustafi did well to protect the ball from going into the net.
The problem with our playing style is that we liked to pass the ball a lot in our penalty area. So many times we were doing that and a slip by the defender will mean that we will lose the ball and concede a goal. We were very lucky that this time Emery put his DM nearer to the defence, a similar style to where Elneny will play, to put an extra man to help the defenders.
We conceded from a quick Atletico counterattack from a cross, and the defenders should have done better.
The first 45 ended with lots of half chances, and misplaced passes, and the team will gel better by the time we start the new season.
The second half started with a bang.
Our stadium announcer for the night was split between Nigel, in charge of announcing for the Gunners, and a local announcer for Atletico Madrid. Our changes for the night was a little mixed up, as the assistant referee and the team wanted to bring on the subs but were thwarted by the referee. Confusion also reigned when we had a few fouls against us that should not have been given at first. That was the trigger for the loud boos in the stadium.
Then came the equaliser. Smith-Rowe did a Rambo and ran at the Atletico defence, and he decided to take a chance to shoot. And what a chance that was. Arrowed into the net.
We had a good chance from Nketiah too, but the keeper saved it.
There were times when Perez and our Tank failed to get on the same wavelength, and some through-passes were misplaced on both flanks of the pitch.
The game ended 1-1 and Penalty Shootout is the tie breaker for the day. With so many youngsters and Cech in goal I did not think that we will win it.
The feelings during the penalty:
The first Atletico penalty was against the right upright. Game on for Arsenal.
Mkhi got his spot kick saved by Adan. Downcast for me again.
Atletico got their penalty saved by Cech. Game on again.
One of the youngsters got his penalty saved. Oh man.
Atletico scored their first penalty. Sh**. 1-0
AMN scored for Arsenal. Ok, we might be scrapping through. 1-1
Atletico scored again. 2-1.
Another youngster got his penalty saved.
Then Adan scored his spot kick, bringing an end to the game.
My take on this game was that there were good passes and bad ones within the team, and the youngsters should try to shake off the rust if they are to be a mainstay in the team. Guendouzi and Smith-Rowe are quick players, and they can grow to be world-class players.
Bernd Leno is still young and needs to gel with his defence better. For me, the current number 1 is still Cech. Leno as his number 2 until he gets better with dealing with pressure.
Overall a good kick-about from the lads, and the game against PSG will be better as the atmosphere will be huge and the stadium will be packed on a Saturday evening.

89 thoughts on “Guendouzi and Smith-Rowe Impress, Leno Not There Yet: Match Review from Singapore

  • Cheers 84! 🙂

    Good to read your views. Unfortunately I did not watch the match but it sounds like a good test for the boys. Really happy for Smith-Rowe to score a postage-stamper. Real quality. Let’s not be too hard on Leno in his first game. Looking forward to seeing more of Guendouzi – you have wetted my appetite!

  • Thanks for posting the match review TA.

    Agreed with Guendouzi.. he looks like Elneny with his hair and his never say die approach. Smith-Rowe is one for the future, but I am not wishing for him to be in the footsteps of The Jeff. Sad that Jeff is gone, but I wish him well for his future endeavours.
    It is too bad that we could not give him the chance he so badly needed due to his injuries, but I am glad that he has a good future ahead of him.

    Most of the fans in the stadium are wearing Arsenal jerseys.. me included. There are clearly more Arsenal jerseys compared to our blue neighbours (feeling blue, and the local Gooners are absolutely anti-spud).

    Good to see them playing last night but I will not be able to watch the match against the Parisians in the stadium. I might watch it on TV if I could.


  • Same “Who is sh**, tot’num!” chants. And quite a number of times we hear that. Other than that the stadium was as quiet as a library, except during the team’s attack that we roared. And the boos to the referee and the times during the penalty shootout to deter the Atletico players.

  • Well done, JK; your view(s) on the game not too different from the general reviews, except the one about Kolasinac and Perez. From other reports I saw, it would seem Kola hardly went forward as he had his hands full with the Atletico right sided players; plus Perez came on late in the game and it is usually harder to get onto same wavelength with the play, especially as things were even at the time.

    It would seem the players were paying too much attention to playing the way the manager wants, beyond the actual results (sounds like excuses, I know, but we did dominate and create chances); I understand the keeper/defenders were always playing out from the back, which can be tricky and cause problems in a more competitive game. There was also a lot of ball possession and passing, while the players were said to have pressed well from the front.

    It is (was ?) a pre-season friendly and an opportunity for the local fans to see their stars in the flesh. I am sure the turnout for the PSG game would be higher and the stadium more raucous. As for the result, let’s just go away believing things will be much better when the season opens and we have our full complement of regular first teamers back on.

  • You are right Eris.. regarding Kolasinac. He had 2 to 3 men zoning on him everytime he had the ball. It is a working day and i had to trade dinner for a light snack before the match. Imagine that 23 thousand fans were able to make it and 15 thousand are Gooners. It will at least be double the figure at the weekend.

    It was nice to see the players in person. Something that you wouldn’t normally do unless you stay in London. Or if you have enough cash to make the trip, which i will.

  • Cheers, JK. Enjoy.

    On another note, maybe the organizers needed to take these factors into account and schedule the matches for after work hours if it must be played on a week day. I guess it depends on the objective of the tour; the club will just be happy to have a work out, not carin* about attendance much. But sponsors will thrive on large attendances and should expectedly, take such detail into consideration…

  • Don’t like to read too much into these types of contests.
    Particularly where a younger player is concerned. Possibly their longest flight, new culture, cuisine.

    Was though less than impressed with the quality of Nelson’s shots (3, I think?) and one looping pass back across goal that was recreational in quality. Eh. Maybe he looks better tomorrow?

    Will say I was impressed with Mustafi. I know, right?
    He was actually:
    1) in position
    2) to block a shot
    3) with his body
    4) in front of goal.

    I was somewhat stunned.
    Maybe there’s something to this Emery guy after all? 😉


  • njk, nice 1st hand report.

    Like you, Guendozi and ESR are my main excitment. I like Guendouzis mobility without the ball very much like Elneny in that respect (similar hair impression too). Where they differ markedly is that Guendozi is all incisive passing. You can just feel his enthusiasm, his appetite for football yet he was able to display positional discipline. How he played is totally in keeping with all his clips that I have watched. He would play a part in our 1st team campaign. He is for now and the future.

    Emile has a lower body strength that is far ahead of his age. So also the maturity of his game. It’s in order labeling him KDB II. He would get a few games too.

    I was happy with the general performance of the team particularly the 1st half eleven. I was also happy with the fact that they were playing the ball out of the rear. That’s Wengeerball even though it is clear that there is now a greater emphasis. Thats should be why Leno was purchased. Even Chech was at it.

    I wouldn’t say there was obvious high pressing but there was more movement in the team without the ball: the rudiments of pressing. It’s good progress.

  • Nice post 84.

    Was it just me or did Petr Cech look fitter and more mobile across the pitch than of recent times?
    Could always be his swanky new goalkeeper kit of course, very stylish, very Lev Yashin.

  • Jw1, Emery wants his players to be more committed, be it during friendlies or during competitive games. We certainly see that. Rambo lost the ball when he was trying to dribble in his box. Luckily Cech was there to save it.

    Fully agreed with your take PE. We are better with and without the ball. Now work on the finishing.

    Kev, new coaches, new regiments. Him to start against PSG in another cooling night with the sea breeze billowing across the stadium will make you more energised.

  • I’m not sure that anything can make me very energised right now 84… 🙂

  • I’m wondering 84, if the starting XI will resemble pretty much our 2nd half team from Thursday or if Emery will mix things up a bit, start with Sokratis in a flat back four alongside Mustafi perhaps?

    Anyway, catch up later…

  • Kev, Emery might mix things up a little, playing mostly youngsters. I will not be surprised if we play Holding and Chambers, or Mavropanos and Chambers.

    Eager to see the lineup tonight, but i will not be watching the match or even watching it on tv.

  • Because of workload consideration, I expect Emery to start the 2nd half XI less 4 that would be replaced by Ozil, Iwobi, Elneny and Martinez. These four would probably get 45minutes each while the rest get about 70 minutes.

    So I expect XI to start.

    Chambers Papas Mavro
    Niles Elneny Willock Osei
    Mkhi Ozil Iwobi

    2nd half XI

    Bel Must Hold Kola
    Goundz Ramsey
    Nelson Laca Perez

    Testing, testing, testing. Testing the mic. That’s what Emery is supposed to be doing atm.

  • Hi all..
    JK.. Congrat for your first post.. I hope it won’t be the last.. Hehehe..

    First, Want to say farewell for JRA.. Wish him good luck for the new episode of his life.. Hope to see him again some years ahead..

    Our youngsters are amazing lastnight.. But the star is ESR.. JRA for ESR.. Not a good choice but yes Rowe mean something special.. 18yo.. wow..

    About Kolasinac.. He become the only unchanged player.. Just wonder why Niles didn’t replace him.. He was very good as LB also.. And we have to many midfielders already..

    We just unlucky to lost on penalty scheme.. But it’s not the real us.. And off course not a real ATM also.. Hehehe.

    For tonight games.. Although we will see another mix players.. I hope we can put some more first team first..
    Ozil will play his first new chapter as our new #10 player.. Hope he can be our next Bergkamp.. Hehehe..

    Without MNC in PSG squad.. We must win this game.. Go Gunners..

  • I like to see :
    Auba – Lacazette – Mhiki
    Rowe – Ramsey
    Niles – Mavropanos – Sokratis – Bellerin

    Others Youngster may play in second half.. But don’t change 8 players at one times.. We can do two or three each 10 minutes.. I mean like 45′, 55′, 65′, 75′.. So we can gradually change to second team.. Hehehe

  • PE, your predicted starting team has 12 players in it. Good team too, if only. 😃

    There’s too little time left before the season starts so Emery is likely going to select a side close to his intended key players (barring return and involvement of Torreira, Xhaka (likely going to lose his first team place, early in the season, owing his extended holidays) Lichtsteiner and Ospina (who is still subject of transfer rumours). So, I agree we can expect action for Ozil, Iwobi and Elneny; maybe see a pairing of Mustafi and Sokratis at some point; I feel we will still play Laca and Auba during the game today, as well…

  • Eris, you are so forensic. But for you, I would have gotten away with murder!😂 Maybe it’s evidence of embarrament of riches. Who goes? Tough as hell.

    Chambers Papas Mavro
    Niles Elneny Willock
    Mkhi Ozil Iwobi.

    Osei replaces Kola in the 2nd half XI.

  • Still have two pre season matches that Emery could use for gelling his key men. Expect general fitness, squad management, and further familiarization with the players to remain main focus.

  • Eris, you are right. He’s come up with a line up that looks like starters for our 1st epl match.


    Bel Papa Musti Kola
    Elneny Guendz
    Mkhi Ozil Iwobi

  • Wow.. this is surprising. 4-1 to the good Gunners. Will watch the highlights later to make headway on our performance. Good start.

  • Lol, PE. I wasn’t that “forensic” when I had a bracket inside of another bracket, though. 😆

    5-1 vs PSG is a scoreline that should give confidence to a team needing to start a season with some tough match-ups. Having fewer players staying long into the World Cup May end up being a blessing in disguise. PSG didn’t have their key men upfront and it must have been easy for us to Marshall them. However, a win is a win.

  • Saw most of the game, Smith Rowe was very impressive again, Guendouzi is gradually making himself a serious contender for a starting berth vs Man City, Mustafi did well, Leno looked very comfortable, great to see Eddie and Lacazette hitting the onion bag, towering header by Holding.

    This scoreline in this match doesn’t flatter Arsenal at all, we should have gone in at half time 4 goals to the good. Not sure if Arsenal were that good or that PSG are that bad?

    I guess we’ll have a clearer picture after the Chelsea and Lazio games.

  • Kev–
    Saw most of it too. Felt good about the spacing.
    Team was 90%pass/acc. 5 shots/11 on target.

    Bellerin (70′ and 90′) and Guendouzi (75′ x2) both getting major minutes twice in 3 days. Each of them looking a bit tired late.

    Gave all credit due Mustafi vs Atletico.
    He did well today. Until one bonehead moment. He was lucky to go unpunished.
    Sometimes that boy just goes ‘full-on-dope’.


  • Kev and Jw1, PSG had just arrived in Singapore on Wednesday and needed time to acclimatise to the time difference.

    Just as what I saw last Saturday evening, Saturday morning american time, when they played Bayern, they actually led and held firm before conceding 3 late goals to lose 3-1. It says something about their physic and their mental strength.

    We should only treat this rout as a good sign that Emery is putting a lot of effort in getting the team to shape, and the next friendly against the chavs will be more meaningful.

  • Ah yes. I should say the weekend games are packed to the brim. More than 50,000 attended and the capacity of the stadium is 55,000.

    Were there anyone who watched the match on TV? Matteo and Elneny are 2 similar players so I am eager to hear about how they complement each other.

  • To think the Ref actually approached him for it. Another novel incident: instead of a coin toss to decide which side each team plays from, the Ref tossed a credit card. Apparently, the ICC (the competition the friendly was being played in) is sponsored by Union Pay International, who provide banking services in the Far East.

    That’s a new one.

  • Eris–
    I saw the ‘credit card flip’ with ‘HEADS’ printed on the visible side.
    (Could have sworn that was AmEx logo though!)


  • All–
    Just for grins– since this is a ‘slow-footie day’?
    Many times when I give a cross-sport explanation for my optimism in Arsenal’s analytics approach– I use my hometown Houston Astros (baseball) experiences as the baseline.

    What I found this morning was a very good parallel to the same expression I make– also made by a writer regarding the Cleveland Browns NFL football team. They have been dreadful for the last 2 years– with 1 win in 32 games.

    The difference though in football (soccer) is relegation. Unlike US sports you can’t simply be the worst, by choice or — ‘poof” — you disappear into another division. So ‘the plan’ in football (soccer) would– and IMO does– resemble what Arsenal have done the past 2 years.

    There are signs (which only I can see! 😉 )– that are similar at the youth levels for Arsenal, that I’d witnessed with my baseball team’s minor league machinations.

    Interesting read as a parallel– if you consider how Arsenal has been rebuilding the club’s foundation ‘under the radar’.


  • Eris–
    I saw the ‘credit card flip’ with ‘HEADS’ printed on the visible side.
    (Could have sworn that was AmEx logo though!) – jw1

    It may well be, jw1. AmEx are a major credit card Issuer, used by financial institutions in the Middle East.

    What I would like to know is whether Ozil was issued a yellow card during the game. Imagine getting issued a yellow card with your autograph on it. 😃

  • Eris–
    On what card does the ref record ‘goals by’? 🙂
    Should have had Mesut sign that one!


  • All the World Cup players return from their short holiday today, so Emery will have his entire squad, minus Koscielny. With a full squad to pick from the line up vs Chelsea could be interesting, as in which youngsters have forced their way into the managers thinking for the season ahead?

  • 8 clear days between Lazio on August 4th and Man City on the 12th, enough time to fit in another game behind closed doors at the Training Centre?

  • Not much things to talk about until the Chavs match, and Emile Smith-Rowe has extended his contract with the club. Will we see Reiss Nelson doing the same soon? It is a good time for him to do that, and him and Rambo’s contract are hot topics at the moment.

    Will we see Emery playing his preferred lineup against Chavs? Or will we see a mixture of youngsters and first team players?

  • If Reiss Nelson doesn’t sign his contract then it’s probable that Smith Rowe will be promoted past him in the squad.

  • Emery must be targeting the first two matches City and Chls. Getting good results there would give him a fabulous starting momentum that would settle nerves early and help the team thereafter. So I expect him to be giving his (for the mean time) top 15 players a longer run in the two remaining pre-season matches. The Chls match might be too early for Xhaka, Torreira, Lichst and Nacho.

  • Josh Dasilva joining Birmingham on loan from Arsenal, which is fascinating as I’ve been told that he isn’t an Arsenal player anymore.
    Maybe someone should tell his agent.

  • The teams news is in. Here’s how the we line up this evening…

    Starting XI: Cech, Bellerin, Sokratis, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Elneny, Guendouzi, Ramsey, Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang

    Subs: Leno, Holding, Chambers, Mavrapanos, Maitland-Niles, Smith Rowe, Nelson, Nketiah, Iwobi, Lacazette.

  • Chelsea looking really sharp, pressing better than us, we seem a bit hesitant and our midfield has been fairly non existent up till now.

  • Bellerin roasted, dives in, penalty, Morata takes it, Cech saves….. 😃

  • Hi all.. Missed the live here.. any link..???

    I dont like the line up.. I always dont like Ozil as Winger.. hehehe..

  • Last few minutes so much better, great move started by Ozil who has switched to the left, Mkhitaryan to the right, Henrik slips in Aubameyang who can’t finish, should be 1-1

  • I think it’s on Sky Retsub, but it’s extras, no link Henry, sorry mate.

    Guendouzi has been really good again

  • The last 10 minutes Arsenal have been the better team.

    Smith Rowe, nice back heel to Kolasinac, but keeper saves.

  • Chelsea seemed to go out really fast, just as Liverpool do, to try and kill you early in the game, but they eased off and we came more into it.
    We still need to do a lot of work on ‘the press’, Smith Rowe was hung out to dry for their goal, not sure that he should have been marking a big old unit like Rudiger

  • Oh I see.. Just can’t post with the link.. hehehe..

    Yes Guendozi was great.. I missed Elneny and also Rowe.. Must bring Niles and Lacazette sooner..

  • No changes for Arsenal, maybe Emery has got into them, so let’s see if there’s a response?

  • Kolasinac has tweaked his knee, I hope it isn’t serious, off he goes, on comes AMN

  • Arsenal much better this half, should be on equal terms.

    Elneny much improved, Guendouzi is putting himself into the team for Man City at this rate.

  • Great move by Ozil, superb cross by Chambers, Iwobi must score, but the keeper makes an impressive save.

  • This is it, free kick – yes, no, Lacazette shot, keeper saves with his feet.

    Goal….. Lacazette, well deserved

  • Ozil to Nelson, great driven cross, Lacazette with a cool finish….


    Fair result overall.

    Sokratis and Mustafi had good games, but Lacazette made a big difference, he gets into box, always looking to score.

  • Currently Arsenal top the ICC table– pipping Spuds by the narrowest margin– alphabetically! 😉


  • I don’t really know the points.. JW1..
    But I think it must be Dortmund.. They win twice and draw one (lost penalty).. 7 points if I was right..

  • Ok.. tks JW1..
    anybody can explained to me how the points count..?? 1 lost on penalty.. 1 win.. 1 win on penalty.. How come we gain 7 points..??

  • Cheers, Kev. It did end 1-1, with a penalty shoot out to decide it. The good guys won that 6-5. Didn’t see the game, though but have watched some highlights.

  • Ah! Needed to have done a “Refresh” before posting that. Didn’t even realize there were many other comments after the first few by Kev. 😀🤭🤭

  • jw1, not sure why the ICC keeps a Table for all the teams involved when it is not a round-robin challenge. Arsenal did not and won’t be playing against Dortmund, for instance, yet they are rated on the same Table? Not fair.

  • Eris–
    Dortmundwho? 😉

    My comment was tongue-in-cheek,
    pointing out the humor in pipping Spuds only by alphabetic order.
    You don’t think Spuds wanttowinsomethinganythingohpleaseGodpleaseletuswintheICC?


  • JW1.. I loved your sense of humour.. hehehe..
    But we missed St.Tottheringham’s Day twice.. Hope Emery will bring back that great tradition.. hehehe..

  • Of course, it’s always a warm feeling to see the spuds in our rear. 🙂

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