10 observations from the pre-season friendly against (Glasgow) Rangers FC
The game was an improvement over our first pre-season friendly against Hibernian FC. Our defence improved and we created more clear-cut chances, too. And we eventually took a point home, however we deserved more.
Here are some specific observations from the game:
- Nuno Tavares blew me away with his MotM performance. Maybe he was already in peak form due to his medical earlier that week, or he is really this good. While he wasn’t really tested defensively, the way he created his chance and the way he converted it were equally promising.
- I really like Rob Holding, and he was a true leader in the first half. He wasn’t particularly tested either, but he tried to impress with no-nonsense defending, and his long(er) range passing, which was a hit-and-miss this afternoon (but a fine assist). I’m not that hard to impress, but the new haircut has to go.
- If it weren’t a pre-season friendly the media would have crucified Aubameyang. He was wasteful beyond interpretation. The only promising sign is that there is only improvement from here, but our captain and top earner must put himself together – preferably in the USA already.
- The other player who didn’t seem to suffer from post-holiday fatigue was Pepe. (The Scottish commentator kept calling him ’Pépi’ – it was a real joy to listen.) He wasn’t as dangerous as against Hibernian, but he was surprisingly active in defending. Which might be a sign that he doesn’t want to lose his hard-fought place in the starting line-up.
- After his nightmare performance Okonkwo didn’t put a foot wrong, but couldn’t really redeem himself due to the tame attacks of the Scott team. The goal conceded was not his fault though, the other Balogun’s (Leon) header was a rare beauty, simply unstoppable.
- We conceded the second goal after a corner too, the defense didn’t tick yet, however neither Chambers nor Kolasinac are classic, tall man-marking central defenders. Hein couldn’t save the header, but later made a crucial stop that would have put the game to bed. Other than that the Estonian teenager didn’t have much to do either.
- While the majority of the fans would like to see Nketiah sold or even released, I’m not afraid to say that the majority are wrong (again). Eddie created his chance from nowhere – like he did against Hibs, but he couldn’t convert that – and posed a bigger threat than any other forwards in his 30-minute cameo. Maybe he could benefit from a quality loan, but selling him would be a major mistake.
- Willian, Willock and Nelson also had the same half an hour to impress, but only Reiss managed to do that for me. Lacks a killer instinct at the moment, but always willing to take risks in the final third. Willock wasn’t bad at all either, but couldn’t live up to the crazy hype around him.
- I admire Elneny as a person, but he didn’t contribute to either game. It was not Mo’s fault, let’s be clear on that, we simply didn’t need another DM against 2 slow pre-season Scott teams. He couldn’t prevent the headers (nor the quasi own goal vs. Hibernians), and he could’t improve neither the quality nor the quantity of the chances. If he was sent of in the first minute, the result would most likely be still 2:2 against Rangers, but a closer to equal ball possession.
- After his dominant display against Hibernians Lacazette was rather anonymous facing the Scottish champion. I expect more impact from him in Florida. He has only one year left on his contract, so he could be sold in this window, or sign an extension. But it’s Arsenal, so we cannot really rule out that he runs out his contract and leaves on a free.