It’s a relief to have something other than the transfer goings on to talk about with Arsenal. I have resisted as much as possible from being drawn into the speculative rumours of which players are close to joining the Gunners and at times it has been justified.
Now we have had some football to take our minds off the subject and the Arsenal didn’t hold back on the goal front. I won’t bore you with a match report as such, there are highlights available for you to draw your conclusions however I will comment on my observations from watching the match.
An Indonesian all-stars XI were the opponents in Jakarta as we romped to a 7-0 victory. Most notable thing for the start of pre-season games is no new signings were present to draw extra interest in the game there were however a number of youngsters spluttered in the team to showcase their abilities.
Interestingly the game was played on astro/artificial turf meaning different footwear was required, I always find it weird seeing professional players playing on non-grass surfaces, memories of the pitches at Luton town and QPR come to mind. The bounce of the ball is different and it’s out of the comfort zone for many of the players. The score line itself is enough to show how well we coped, of course the opposition is hardly of the highest standard but you still need to concentrate for the 90 minutes regardless.
It was a great performance all round for the players as they didn’t waste time is shrugging off the rustiness of the time away from football. Most notably Aaron Ramsey put in an accomplished performance; he was a class apart in the first half and definitely showed he has plenty in his locker. Too early to judge how a player will perform once the season starts but if the young Welshman can reproduce performances of the like from yesterday then he will go on to have a very influential season.
Although we came away with a clean sheet and played well in general there were a few ropey moments for starting centre half Ignasi Miquel. It may seem a bit harsh to judge him on his first game of the pre-season calendar however with the movement of defensive personnel Squillachi and Djourou the young Spaniard currently is automatic fourth choice. Given our injury record you cannot rule out the required services of fourth choice centre half next season. This means Miquel has to be critiqued the same as would be of Koscielny, Mertesacker and captain Vermaelen. This could be a big season for the young centre half and he needs top performances pre-season to prove to Wenger there is no need to sign another defender. He was shifted to left back in the second half however that is a position I feel he should be used in as a last resort. We are well stocked in the left back department but with Nacho Monreal on extended break after his Confederations Cup duty Miquel is the alternative option there.
An interesting decision by Arsene Wenger was the deployment of Chuks Aneke in a centre back position when brought on at half time. I’ve not known of the youngster playing in that position though he certainly has the physique and athleticism to be a decent defender. It could be a masterstroke by Arsene to reinvent Aneke as a defender; he has done it before with Kolo Toure so you never know. It’s an optimistic assumption I know but I would like to think Aneke has a future at the club and if that is in a new position then so be it. His close friend Jay Emmanuel-Thomas was a versatile player who many in the Arsenal backroom staff believed had more potential as a defender however JET was adamant he had more to offer offensively. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough offensively in his game for Arsene which has resulted in his career being elsewhere. If Chuks is willing to do all it takes to succeed at Arsenal and heed the advice given then he will at least have known he gave it a go.
Chuba Akpom started the game and was rewarded with a goal, nothing more the youngster can do to impress his manager. In football you have to take your chances and the youngster is not messing around as he is moving rapidly up the ladder of approval by all those concerned at Arsenal. He really is proving to be a top talent and one for the future, let’s hope he avoids all the outside influences that have the potential to derail the best.
All the youngsters performed admirably yesterday, they were comfortable on the ball and certainly showed the Arsene ethic of football. Gnabry, Olssen, Eisfeld and Zelalem, didn’t looked phased by the occasion and I hope they get the chance next season whether it’s in the League Cup or any other competition for that matter to prove themselves in games with higher stakes.
And finally all the players played well, 7-0 is a great score even against part time players but new players are still needed. We cannot use yesterday’s result as any justification that our squad needs no new personnel.Business i’m sure will be done,i suppose despite recent seasons proof we have to believe that the players Arsene wants at the club are negotiating deals in the background. Some people have touted this as the worst summer of business at Arsenal yet we are still over a month away from season start, the time to judge is when that window closes. we have the sticking point of a Champion’s League qualifier which could be throwing a spanner in the works of some deals, time will tell.
Enjoy your day people.
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