Youngsters Impress In A Comfortable Start To Pre-Season

Arsenal kicked off the new season with the first friendly against Malaysia XI in Kuala Lumpur. Wenger started with a youthful side that included Ryo Miyaichi and Carl Jenkinson alongside established young guns Wilshere, Ramsey, Walcott, Gibbs, and Szczesny.

Chamakh, Song, Koscielny, and Vermaelen were the only experienced pros in a starting eleven that dominated the first half in the now standard 4-3-3.

The opening goal came from a rookie mistake by the defender as he brought down Wilshere inside the box. Ramsey put the spot-kick away with ease after establishing his right to do so with Wilshere who also looked eager to kick-start his season with a goal.

It could have been two soon after when Wilshere found Walcott in space just inside the right corner of the box. The goalkeeper closed the angle well but was lucky not to concede a penalty as Theo slammed it over.

After that the game settled down a bit as the home sided defended better while the Gunners didn’t really show any urgency, rightfully so.

Walcott scored the second in the 37th minute to cap a well-timed run and a delightful pass with a deft finish.

There isn’t much to analyze in such a game but the noteworthy aspects of the first half were

  • Miyaichi’s impressive skills on the ball and his willingness to chase the opponents tirelessly
  • Jenkinson’s ability to close down his man to prevent crosses and his ability to deliver some measured balls into the box
  • Wilshere looking as if he’s picked up from where he left off
  • Walcott to carry his scoring touch forward, touchwood!

On the flip side, I thought Ramsey still looked a bit rusty and needs more games but his class shone through fleetingly.

Arsene made eight changes at the start of the second half as Jenkinson, Miyaichi, and Ramsey were the only ones to keep their place.

It was a surprise to see Denilson playing in a deeper role behind Frimpong who looked bigger than last time I saw him (could be my eyes or mind playing games).

Rosicky started on the right but took a free role and was creatively involved in a number of moves. One such led to the third goal, another sublime chip from Vela. Perhaps he has taken the Lays slogan too sincerely? On a serious note it was good to see Vela get on the ball more often. His movement and touch was wonderful as was his vision when he set up Ramsey and Rosicky, both of whom blasted over when well placed in sight of goal. Nevertheless, he did display a tendency to overcook shooting chances. Arsene has to find a way of eliminating this habbit. If the Mexican has to succeed he needs to know the corners of the goal and has to put his foot through the ball on occasion instead of searching for a cute finish.

Sagna, Nasri, RvP, and Arshavin came on for the final half hour or so as the three starters from the first half and Denilson made way.

The game lacked cohesion even though Nasri got on the ball quite often in a central attacking midfield role. Van Persie played a couple of defence splitting balls but that was it.

Arsenal did manage a fourth in the final minutes when Rosicky headed home a deflected Arshavin cross. That must be a collector’s item.

Even in such a game the defence didn’t look very convincing. I don’t want to read too much into this but two aspects need urgent improvement. Arsene has to find a way of reducing the number of times opponents are able to move from their box to the Arsenal defensive third within seconds. He also needs to sort out the off-side line. Some might also say the central defenders need to do a lot better with their heading, especially Djourou and Squillaci. I am convinced Arsenal will struggle without a key addition to the coaching staff but don’t want to bang on that tired old drum at this stage.

There was an incident in the game that deserves special mention. In the second half, the ref penalized Mannone for holding on to the ball for too long. I don’t think the Italian took more than second or two over the allotted six but the ref seemed a stickler for rules, at least that one in particular. It could just be that he wanted his moment in the spotlight and a chance for the home side or that he hasn’t been spoilt by commentators blaming such decisions for spoiling the game. In all honesty, I’d love to see a lot more of such calls in the Premiership and the Champions League.

On a related note, I want to share the pain of logging into Arsenal Player this morning. I am sure many of you must have been frustrated by a server that quite simply was incapable of handling the demand. Did they really underestimate the fan interest or was this just another technical blooper? Hope they sort it out before the next game. I did watch the second half on Arsenal Player and the quality was impressive even though the stream jumped a few seconds occasionally.

And now for something completely different. The following isn’t related to Arsenal or football but it isn’t often that I fall out of my chair laughing, so thought it was worth sharing,

According to a recent report in “The PseudoEngineer”, Bolivian scientists have wrapped copper wire around Guevara’s body and surrounded him with magnets. This is because he is turning over in his grave so rapidly due to the commercialization of his image that he now powers most of South and Central America by himself. He is thus the most prolific revolutionary in the history of the world, making over 200 revolutions per second.

Source: Uncyclopedia entry on Che Guevara.


28 Responses to Youngsters Impress In A Comfortable Start To Pre-Season

  1. Gooner4Life says:

    All I’ll say is this match was nothing to get excited about, Miyaichi won’t play for us this year, denilson disrespected the club, Jenkinson is a rookie, yet they all played???

    Not 1 new signing played, shows continuation from last term aka no trophies, disgrace.

    So much for us playing 4-4-2, if not trying tactics now,when will we?? We are a few weeks from the league starting, and no new tactics or players??? Madness.

    • Canadian Gooner says:

      what was your first day back in the office like after your summer brake?

      The transfer window is still open. Things could still happen. And you’re right “not 1 new signing played,” 2 played, Ryo and Jenkinson

      • Gooner4Life says:

        Ryo was signed in January and if you count Jenkinson as a realistic signing for next season, get ready for 0 trophies.

        Chamakh still sucked too. Watch utd and chelsea, already getting tactics ready and fitness, us,messing about.

  2. Charlie says:

    Jenkinson played and Gervinho wasn’t ready in time. I don’t get your point at all. As for playing 4-4-2 i have my doubts about whether you should be dictating to Arsene what his best tactics are. A pre-season spent playing differenyt tactics to what the players will be playing during the season would lead to a very poor start to the season.

    • Gooner4Life says:

      4-2-3-1/4-3-3 never won us anything last season, we need to find alternatives otherwise watch same failings again.

      seems like this site is a AKB site……

      • Canadian Gooner says:

        what I don’t get is how sure you are that Arsenal is doomed if they keep doing what they are doing. would you rather us do what Liverpool are doing? or how about any of the top European teams that have massive debts and are waiting for rich sugar daddies to come and pump money into the club? would you still support Arsenal if they spent more money than they had, not looking out for the long term consequences of their actions and end up like Leeds?

        I, as an Arsenal supporter, respect the decision of the people running the club to make sure there is still a club left when my child is old enough to take their children to watch matches. The board understand that there is going to be football after this year, and the year after that and so on. Arsenal is not far from developing what Barcelona already have, and it took TIME for Barcelona to get to where they are now. Look at the big picture and not just today’s game or the next game.

        I would hate to be watching Arsenal fighting against bankruptcy or loosing all their players because they ran out of money just because in 2011 we went out and spent big.

    • santori says:

      Although now is the time to experiment.

      Remember, we played a MAlaysian selection which were generous in affording us space to operate.

      4-4-1-1 will help us with an extra man in the box to finish particularly with team’s sitting deep (and with RVP’s tendency to drift)

      • you deserve this Arsene and Arsenal says:

        Canadian gooner, you say

        “what I don’t get is how sure you are that Arsenal is doomed if they keep doing what they are doing”

        Like Wenger and many other deluded fans like yourself, who never spent a penny getting into expensive matches, 7th season without a trophy is what make people sure Arsenal are doomed. Even most deluded people like Desi and yourself, cannot claim progress from last season as Arsenal let City take the 3rd. I cannot wait for this team to drop out of champions league either by failing qualification in August or dropping out of top 4 come end of the season, and then wenger can stick his 15 years playing in champions league mantra up his arse as well like all other records he lost one by one. I firmly belive that Arsenal fans are to take the blame for being impotent. They don’t make a noise during the matches nor raise the issues by demonstration of their anger at lack of progress. They deserve this for lack of action as much the club deserve no trophies for standing still while other teams overtake them. Keep on living in the cuckoo land. Board are happy to make the profit, this house of cards will fall sooner now

      • santori says:

        Hmmm…you can keep waiting then for us to drop out of CL.

        Tired old prediction for several seasons now.

        Apart from Chelsea and UNited, no other team has won the PL in recent years (of course there’s Arsenal 6 seasons back)

        So by your logic, we are at least within a shout of winning it.;)

  3. Even though there are still several weeks left in the transfer window, it looks like Arsenal will go to war with the army they have. If that is to be the case, I was hoping for some different tactics or preparation to improve on the performance from last year. But it looks like same-o same-o once again. Still, there’s hope, right?

    • santori says:

      I would reserve judgement till end of window.

      As I have mentioned, there could be possible opportunities that may present themselves and Wenger may be tracking their development.

      As an example, Chelsea were tracking Pepe in his last year of contract (He has since signed a contract extension with Real)

      Had they landed him, Alex would most likely become available.

      There may be a couple of other names out there vulnerable to a move that we are nnot aware of (beyond the usual media concocted Cahill/Samba rumours)

  4. Gooner4Life says:

    Canadian Gooner, this is where you are wrong, the board are there to make money for THEMSELVES, not Arsenal, we are nowhere close to being like Barcelona on the pitch or off it, they have better players on it,and a ownership structure that is fan orientated off it, ours is for shareholders to get money once they cash in.

    Doomed because we have seen these same tactics since 2008 and look where we have been, nowhere. we need to change.

    at least liverpool are trying 100%, they are likely not to win anything, but they are trying we are not trying to bridge the gap.

    • santori says:

      This is the worry that Wenger will go into a rut and deliver more of the same.

      If he does though, I would think his days are numbered.

  5. el bizarron says:

    …and the new away kits didn’t look as ridiculous as I thought they would.

  6. Gooner4Life says:

    Lindegaard, Vidic, Fabio, Rafael, Evans, Carrick, Anderson, Nani, Young, Berbatov, Rooney for utd tonight, settled team, all players ready to win & impress.

    we play jenkinson and ryo……..

    • G4L says:

      Lindegaard, Rafael, Evans, Carrick, Anderson … all settled ROFLMAO

      • Gooner4Life says:

        i agree, 4/5 of those players have won 9 titles each in 4 years, i’m laughing so hard too…….

    • United4life, leave us alone.

    • santori says:

      Jenkinson is an odd addition.

      He is presumably Sagna’s cover. What happens to Eboue?

      Is he top be purely employed as cheerleader in the sidelines….got forbid he is being pushed up to midfield or worse LB. 😛

    • jeremy says:

      you ought to cross over and support man united dude! for the love of arsenal quit whining! we could buy 200 million worth of players year in year out and win nothing for 6 years and go burst……you will say ‘least we tried, or whine about something else… be positive man!

  7. realgooner says:

    All arsenal need is a solid back line. A couple players that can defend set pieces. Arsenak can score goals as good as any club in the world. We showed that when we beat barcalona at home. We just need some experience in defence. As for the so called fans that want wenger gone…wenger is a great maneger. If wenger was to leave arsenal wouldn’t be the same club in my opinion

    • santori says:

      I’m hoping we get that solid CBack. It unerves me to see Squillaci still around.

      Pepe has been handed a new contract at Real.

      I’m hoping Chlesea land someone and Alex becomes available. IMO what we need is a quality CB with experience and strength at set pieces. Alex ticks the box in addition to having a lethal shot.

      Having Alex (or someone more senior) would afford our young defenders (TV, Kos, Djourou, Bartley, Miguel) a chance to develop in a couple of years.

      The other thing that worried me is the LB situation. Looks like Gibbs will be given the nod.

      Would prefer some caution on this end. IMO, a move for a Bastos (as ‘cover’) might be useful, since if Gibbs does step up, Bastos can always reinforce our wide men and hedge against a Nasri departure in a season’s time. (+gervinho can play up top)

      Alternative, get a DM who can cover LB. Or play Koscielny left (did Wenger try this? How did Kos fare?)

  8. santori says:

    Didn’t get to see the match.

    Good to hear that Jenkinson and Miyaichi impressed.

    Frimpong IS much bigger. I believe he was 5’10 last season and is a strapping 6′ this season (So much for our lack of size)

    As you said, hard to judge or take too much from the game as this is a Malaysian team.

    Completely agree with you that we seem to keep our old habits which won’t be fully resolved unless there is a change of coaching staff (or approach)

  9. adi says:

    I think we’ll get one more player this window. I’m hoping that dortmund accept bendy in part exchange for subotic/hummels. Although, i believe we will get another unknown player. There’s an article linking us to mathias jorgenson this morning.
    Also, cahill won’t really be a step up from anything we already have. I’d much rather give bartley a chance. I wouldn’t mind samba/mertesacker though.

    • santori says:

      I think wenger is confident he can force the issue with Cesc.

      probably the reason why he has put his foot down with Nasri. he knows he has better control on the Cesc situation.

      If Barca don’t put the money where their trap is, Cesc stays. It’s quite simple IMO.

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