1st half line up:
Fabianski, Nordtveit, Vermaelen, Djourou, Traore, Nasri, Wilshere, Frimpong, Walcott, Arshavin, Chamakh
Fabianski started in goal and as a punishment for last seasons poor form, he was forced to wear a pink goalkeeper shirt. That'll learn him...
Arsenal were in my favourite away kit of the last ten years, very stylish, so much so, I'm considering buying one for once!
Frimpong had another chance to show his value to the team by hopefully demonstrating his potential could outshine Denilson and his A-list stats. Nordveit was hoping to impress in the right back role again and Chamakh was hoping health and safety could pass a method statement for his highly flammable gel laden hair...
Samir Nasri looked like he'd taken time out this summer to hit the tread mill and JD was aiming to prove that he could complete two consecutive games. Would Jack Wilshere ease the pain of losing out on Joe 'Liverpool are the best team in the country... seriously' Cole? Only time would tell!
First good move of the match came when Nasri put Arshavin through on goal, the Russian just short of the required pace to reach the ball first.
Chamakh bagged his first assist of the pre-season when he cleverly managed to get tackled outside the box, knowing Nasri was following in to bury it low and hard past the Graz keeper from 20 yards.
1-0 to the boys in mustard and red currant.
Traore pulled off a super bit of skill, lifting the ball away from his full back winning a corner. Chamakh nearly finished the corner leaping as high as the jumping keepers hands were! We are now a genuine threat from corners. That's exciting to know.
Frimpong was ticking over in the centre of the park, linking in well with Jack Wilshere who had a solid yet quiet game by his standards.
We were mostly in control of a slightly flat game, but the defence looked shaky and allowed the tiny Sturm striker through on goal forcing a good at the feet of Fabianski. The resultant corner led to a free header from two yards. Same old Arsenal when it came to defending this evening. Regardless of how early it is in our pre-season, we weren't looking sharp at the back...
Jack Wilshere won a freekick after turning his man on the edge of the Sturm box. Nasri stepped up and dinked the freekick into the top corner. A superb goal. I thought it was funny that the commentary team mentioned the Frenchman's hunger… you don't need to tell us guys!
2nd Half team:
Koscielny, Gibbs, Eastmond, Lansbury, Rosicky (c), JET on for Vermaelen, Traore, Frimpong, Nasri, Arshavin, Chamakh
Koz came on for the second half, I was hoping for some heroic show of manliness top prove he had Lucio type strength. I wasn't holding my breath. Geoff informed me he is in fact 6ft2 according to the Arsenal magazine. It's a shame there are under 16's with more muscle mass… the dinner lady at Colney wants to be putting extra meat on his plate this season! How he’s expected to deal with Drogba / Adebayor types I don’t know!
Chesney got his first full half and chose the pink kit because he felt it complimented his light complexion. He made a good save early on which must have eased his nerves.
We bagged our third after JET cut the ball back to Lansbury who dummied before chipping past the keeper.
I like Lansbury, a technically gifted box to box player… sadly, he struggles to impress whenever he plays for us. If he wants to shine in this group of kids, he’s going to have to up his game. His goal and a fizzing 30 yard shot went some way to him staking a claim for a squad number this year.
JET has a similar languid playing style to Bendtner. I can see that irritating fans because he can look lazy at times… however, the kid has dazzling feet, power and productivity. I really hope he realises his potential with us. That will require a lot of hard work... something the English boys have lacked in years gone by.
Theo continued to disappoint with a typical performance. He has very little skill going round players and he’s not very instinctive. I’m struggling to see how a full pre-season is going to change fundamental flaws in his game… but I’ll reserve judgement until October.
The game concluded with a clean sheet and a victory.
What did we learn? Well… we learnt that Arsenal have the same problems they had last year. We attack well and knock the ball round impressively… but we can’t defend. Graz were an extremely weak team and they opened us up on numerous occasion. If we’re to challenge next year, we need a proper keeper and a proper centre back pairing. If we don’t address those issues, I’m struggling to see what’s changed this summer?
I've heard that we’re out there making enquiries for top class players this summer (I'm talking £40mill worth of talent in the two positions I heard), but I can’t help but feel we’re going to go into the Emirates cup disappointed again. Wenger hasn’t done his shopping early as promised and we’re once again the proud owners of a transfer window cash surplus. It smacks of doing it on the cheap again and it lacks ambition considering we’re a club looking to sell £14,000 corporate hospitality tickets.
I know there is plenty of time left until the transfer window shuts but I can't help but get that deja vu feeling... is it time for the 'I'm satisfied with my squad' press conference?
I hope not...
Eduardo left as I predicted earlier in the summer. Reading some of the Gooners in blog land go on about him, like some sort of war hero had just passed away, was a touch vom inducing… jeez, get a grip people! He broke his leg and earned a full footballers salary throughout his recovery, probably watched Jeremy Kyle and loose women everyday and received the best treatment available.
Honestly, you'd have thought Dennis Bergkamp had lost his leg in his prime they way some people have been eulogizing... I thought he was a good player but for me, he lacked pace and involvement in the game. We gave him our full support after he was assaulted, he recovered, now he’s off to make a success of himself at one of the richest clubs in Europe. Good luck son!
Arsenal seem to be very keen to publicise the fact they are using GPS technology, the commentators were asking whether the boxes on the players backs were so Wenger could remotely control the players. Well, just to clarify that isn't true, here is the run down of what it does...
- Distance (broken down into time and % of time in zones).
- Speed (max, average, minimum – total in zones)
- Heart rate (max, average, minimum – total in zones)
- Impacts/body load – the ability to view the musculoskeletal stress
- Meters/min – a key variable of intensity.
- This the one of the key variables used by our clients to monitor and manage the total “WorkLoad” of each player.
Basically, the tech will tell Arsenal how hard the players have trained/played, how fatigued they are and how close they are to injury. A massive boost for our medical team and our fitness staff.
For more info on the product, click here. I know that that GPS sports supply the devices, however, what I’m not sure of is whether they manage sport scientists and the implementations. I’m on the case though…
Sol Campbell is rumoured to be signing back on with the club. I'm pleased about that, but I'm still incredibly nervous about the state of our backline. We've got 3 defenders that are untested in the Premier League and another who can't manage more than one game a week. Hardly confidence inspiring is it? I'd like a centre back, a defensive midfielder and a keeper... that'd put us in the frame for sure.
2 games, 7 goals, 2 clean sheets... still a long way to go if we want to be competing for Champions League and Premiership honours this season. Standing still squad wise is not an acceptable outcome this summer, we need to progress... keep the faith Grovers, that rabbit we've been praying Wenger will pull out of his hat is probably dead now, three years is a long time to go without sustenance, however, I've still got faith he's been feeding it behind out backs and this is the summer he'll pull it out and reveal something a bit special!
Come on Arsene, show us the rabbit!