Seniors Still Sluggish But Young Guns Continue To Excite

By the time the first half was over I was regretting my decision to wake up at six on a Saturday morning after crashing at two in the night. Arsene picked the same starting eleven that ended the game in Malaysia and their performance was just as erratic and listless as we saw in the previous game.

While there were some moments of individual quality the half will stay in my memory as one where the defence struggled against modest opposition, no offence intended.

Granted this is pre-season and we should not read too much into the performances or the results. Many top teams lose such games on a regular basis. This season Liverpool have conceded 3 goals in both their games in Asia and the Tiny Totts just lost in South Africa. These things happen. Moreover, Greentown are already a few weeks into their season so their fitness levels were much better than the Gunners.

Despite that, there was something eerily familiar with the way Arsenal struggled. Some people might blame the defenders but I thought the problems stemmed from the lack of balance in front of them. It does not absolve the defenders completely but they do deserve better support. Nasri and Rosicky hardly contributed to the defence as one would expect from midfielders in the modern game, we all know Arshavin fairly well, and Vela almost mirrored him on the right flank.

I have mentioned this in the past on a number of occasions – the defence struggles whenever the team fails to impose its style of play (that is not the only reason the defence struggles but it is one of the primary ones). The opposition finds a great deal of time and space when the passing game doesn’t work. Lack of pressing, poor positioning, and lethargic off-the-ball movement from the midfield and attackers made defending easy for the hosts while allowing the Greentown players the opportunity to pass the ball around and find their runners. This put the defence under pressure and even when a defender won the first header, it inevitably fell to an opposition player.

Clearly, this won’t be the case in most of the games that Arsenal will play this season but based on the evidence of recent seasons, I am worried it will happen often enough to cost crucial points and a Cup tie or two.

There were some positives as well. Nasri looked impressive on the ball. He was able to take players on and run past a couple at will. Van Persie had a few good moments and played a big part in creating the goal. Vela showed he has the anticipation and acceleration to be a threat in the box. Frimpong was strong and energetic.

The second half saw the introduction of the youthful starting line-up from the previous game. With Song and Wilshere marshalling the midfield and the young wingers pressing enthusiastically, Greentown were pinned in their own half for most of the second period. The hosts rarely threatened the Arsenal defence as the work done in front of them offered genuine protection.

But for some saves/blocks and a couple of missed opportunities by Theo this game could have been a comfortable win.

With this Arsenal concluded a successful pre-season tour of Asia. I was impressed by the support and would like to applaud the fans in Malaysia and China. Hopefully, some Gooners who didn’t appreciate Johnny Foreigners might develop a better understanding of the level of passion in people who follow the club from afar.

I am not sure if this tour has achieved the same level of rigorous workout that the players used to get in Austria. Time will tell whether that will affect the performances in the opening weeks of the season or not. I certainly will be a bit more nervous about the Champions League qualifier than I have been in the past.

There is still time though. I think the performances in the Emirates Cup and the friendly with Benfica will give us a much better insight into the level and quality of preparations. By then we will also have seen new signing Gervinho in action along with any others that are bought.

An interesting month ahead.

25 Responses to Seniors Still Sluggish But Young Guns Continue To Excite

  1. ashish says:

    Gr8 point mate…. Arsenal always strugle a lot when the midfield are not able to impose themselves on the game. This leads to waves and waves of attacks from the opposition that is why i fell we need a backup for alex song because if he is not on the pitch our team struggles a lot. The same thing happened today in the first half. We cannot allow opposition to take so much control.

    If Song is not available wenger will either go to Diaby or Denilson(If he is still with Arsenal) in the holding midfield role and this is where our problem lies.

  2. 037 says:

    Great to see you frequently posting again 🙂

  3. Don McMahon says:

    It wasn’t the lack of midfield cohesion that caused us problems but the long 40-50 yard balls from their defense down between our centrebacks in the first half. Their goal was an embarrassing error on Mannone’s and Djourou’s part but that’s Arsenal.
    I was very impressed with Wilshere’s close control, excellent runs and intelligent movement but once again we tried to walk it in almost exclusively. Their keeper did well to save a few hard shots but we need someone to hit the precise ball from outside the penalty area that catches the keeper wrong-footed like Henry used to do. Our timing and accuracy will improve as they play more games and the 2nd half is what we can expect most of the season.

    • james says:

      the goal wasnt mannones or djourous fault it was squilaci being to slow to push out of the box then he didnt challenge the second ball until it was too late and just seemed to fall on the floor

      • Tony says:

        Sadly you are right, methinks Squilaci is another Cygan, lets hope we don’t see too much of him this season.

  4. dan says:

    frimpong is a poor man’s denilson.i used 2 support arsenal bt wenger frustrated me,i’ve joined chelsea

    • sahil says:

      Nice to see you go we dont need fans like you.
      Dont worry you will find a lot of dross like yourself at chelshit.

    • Tony says:

      Thank God you have jumped ship, some piece of work you are, you belong with Chelski ….gimp.

    • jenikcarl says:

      Hopefully you’ll find all that you want at Chelsea. Good luck… although if you are jumping ships why not go to a team that always wins, why pick a team that won naught last season. Or maybe you are just anticipating a win for them this year… If not, you are most welcome to another jump to another team 😛 Don think Chelsea will miss you either.

  5. Raghugovind says:

    I was quite impressed by Carl Jenkinson though he was not troubled defensively . The kid looks a giant compared to his fellow teammates . Most of the fans think Gervinho is the first signing but its Carl . Just because we did not pay 15-20 m for 19 year old kid(a.k.a Phil Jones) that does not make him redundant . Since most of our attack was from right hand side we were not able to see Miyachi through most parts of the second half but whenever he got the ball he impressed according to me !!

    • sahil says:

      Carl impressed me too. I know he has played just two games but this guy looks a decent crosser of the ball plus his height can help in set pieces and yes miyaichi looked good whenever he got the ball.

  6. Lusekelo says:

    Dan stay at Chelsea and stop commenting on this site. We are Gooners in bad and in good times. So just look for your team’s sites to comments. We don’t need fake fans like you.

  7. Gerry Lennon says:

    I think the other thing to remember is this was two Arsenal teams playing each half, with neither having the ‘first eleven’. The second half had the best midfield and goalkeeper, and it showed. When they get back and start playing with a strong team, we will then see how good the ‘reserves’ are when they slot in?
    This was a workout against a team who were keen to prove themselves. Enjoy it for what it was, because there is much more to look forward to in the coming weeks.

  8. dan says:

    i’m a chelsea fan,i was just teasing on a serious note,squilaci was my man of d match against greentown.judging by his performance yesterday,i think it is safe to say that squilaci is better than vidic.

    • Borkus says:

      Get Villa-Boas to bid for him then Dan my old son. There’s not many defenders of his ability around so replacing him like for like would be nigh impossible but a figure in region of 70p might turn our heads. We might even stretch to giving you a quid if you take Denilson too.

      • Tony says:

        “We might even stretch to giving you a quid if you take Denilson too.”………………as much as that, they can have him for nothing lol

  9. Dan,you are an idiot,go check how your own Yosi benayoun i$ doing

  10. kings says:

    The kids maybe exciting but the name of the game is winning. So long as they win their games,I don’t care whether are exciting or not.

  11. dan says:

    arsenal xi:chezzer-djourou,new cb,verm(lb),new rb-song,wilshere,fab,nasri-van p,miyachi. Jenks n gibbs r nt yet ready.miyachi is better than theo ‘i can give usain bolt a run for his money’ walcott.guys,my earlier comment were meant to lighten mood,no hard feelings.

  12. Tony says:

    IF or should I say when lol we get some new class we could this season win something, I still have my doubts about some of the fodder we have ie Diaby,Denilson, Eboue and Cygan mark two, (the squid) if we can get rid of the deadwood we could be ok. In the second half we showed when we kept pushing some good stuff, walnut need to buy a new pair of boots or get some contact lenses as he still is sh1te with his finishing.

  13. JJ Pittman says:

    Since our Champions League qualifiers(earned? by our 4th place finish) are interspersed among our first 3 premiership matches against Geodies, Scouse and ManUre, it will be very interesting to see which sides Wenger chooses to play in these 5 games. Since any trophy seems to be paramount, maybe we should concede the CL and go for the automatic Europ a League berth that goes with it!???

  14. Danish Gooner says:

    Ther are no cover in midfield(Vieira and Petit never replaced),the defense is laughable borderline comedy,the attack is one dimensional and cant find a way through a barn door,Arsene is deluded and the squad is thin…end of.

  15. santori says:

    I say the Decibel levels at these foreign matches seem better than the Emirates even. Perhaps we need to import some Malaysian and Chinese fans over to help with the voice.:D

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