Eboue Djourou Vermaelen Silvestre
Wilshere Diaby Ramsey Arshavin
Here are a collection of my thoughts… My match reporting needs a bit of a warm up, so don’t expect the good stuff until the season starts!
Diaby played in a slightly Cescy sort of role… free roaming in the centre of midfield but not playing as the second striker.
Arshavin looked like he had enjoyed the holiday period a little more than some of the other, busy but a little sloppy with his passing and shooting.
Eboue showed a couple of neat moves out wide, but having Jack there definitely excited me more. It showed we’re moving away from round pegs / square holes line up selection (Until the second half, this report was chronologically written).
My first impression of Vermaelen is that he looks fast and pretty well built… defensively, it was difficult to make a judgement. He does look like a beast though… if looks were ability… he’d be world class.
Ramsey looked clever; he is always looking for a killer pass or to get a shot out from his feet… I think that is an exciting trait in a player and something we’ve lacked for a while.
Say it quietly… Silvestre had a decent first half!
Thomas Bendtner should not be taking corners… what is it with Arsenal and tall players taking corners? Nik B had a few half chances and got into some good positions… but in the beginning he seemed to lack match practice and that edge.
A token Eboue shot was blasted over the bar and out the stand (Someone suggested this was a tribute to Ade). He reads Le Grove apparently… so I must praise him. Well played Eboue, you are a king among peasants (Seriously though, he is in danger of winning me over if carries on like he did towards the tail end of last year).
I was a bit worried by how easily the pub team broke… the first was a Denilson misplaced pass… the second was a break from a corner. It worries me that a 44 year old can scare us by breaking as fast as out kids?
Rambo was the free kick taker in the absence of Robin… and about as effective as him… looping his effort over the bar from 20 yards.
The first goal came after Almunia dropped a clanger of epic proportions… the ball was rolled back to him by Silvestre, he took a heavy touch in his area, trying to move the ball onto his other foot in a ridiculously dangerous position… he couldn’t beat the Austrian to the ball, one nil down. Quite what Almunia thought he was doing is beyond me… what a muppet.
However, fear not… two minutes later, Diaby chased down an Austrian player in their box, dispossessed him, laid it off to Nik, who slotted home with the type of accuracy normally only associated with legends of the game like Pele and Maradona.
A few minutes later, Silvestre passed to Rambo who was on the edge of the box… the young Welshman faked, then buried the ball low and hard in Overmars like fashion. His celebration was muted… apparently still grieving the passing of MJ.
The third goal came when Bendtner picked up the ball from Jack… powered through the Austrian midfield, laid it off to Rambo, who with one touch played it straight back into the path of powerful Dane… who faked the keeper left… then slotted it into the empty net. My hero… he is as good as Thierry… NOW. Nik, I have a good feeling you are going to repay the faith I showed you last year…
Diaby had a top half, he looked assured on the ball, played the correct passes and got involved in a lot of the build up play. Denilson looked off the pace and pretty much the same as he did last year… I can’t believe we are not going to buy another centre mid… In fact, I refuse to believe that Arsene is going to be that stubborn and not address the big fat white elephant sitting in the holding roll… and yes, I know it’s pre-season… but it’s not like he was out of top gear today…
Jack Wilshere looked solid without being spectacular. He didn’t waste any balls and played in a very compact mature manner.
The Second half began with changes… Sagna, Senderos, Toure, RvP, Song, Traore and Sjecekvhyerbiagjkra (<- Keeper) all came on.
Traore looked lively early on, bombing down the wing like a hill billy protecting his land. He played the cross that won the penalty… RvP converted expertly.
Arsenal still looked incredibly dodgy from set plays. A corner from the Austrians caused all sorts of problems… a great block by Senderos prevented us getting found out. Big Phil, our new rock in the holding role… ?
A midfield of Senderos, Denilson and Song… you’d struggle to think of a more negative line up! I must say though, I thought Song looked ok in the more advanced position! Denilson still managed to look more average than Joe the Plumber…
Sagna whipped a beauty of a cross into the box on 73 minutes after Rambo knocked the ball into his path with a clever back heel… Robin leapt like a squirrel to bury the header past the slightly rotund Austrian keeper.
The sixth came when Robin over hit a free kick into the box, Senderos fought to return the ball back across the box… Gallas was there to nod it low past Tubby Lardhoffer between the sticks.
There was another long ball into the box that was allowed to bounce… alarming.com was my immediate thought.
The seventh came from a Robin freekick… Song got in the way of Rambo… the ball bobbled out, Rambo fired it low and hard past the keeper.
The game ended confusingly… our keeper rolled the ball out for a corner for no reason… maybe he was bored? The corner was whipped in then the ref blew up 3 minutes early.
So, in summation… a good work out. We started off in a really lethargic manner but after Almunia cunningly motivated the team by dropping a clanger… we started to look a lot sharper.
My picks of the game were Rambo, Bendtner and Diaby. Some solid performances from three players I expect to feature heavily this year. Bendtner took his goals well and looked quite handy. Diaby wasted little and released the ball a lot quicker than he had been… make no mistake, Diaby is one of the most talented players we have in our team… if he applies himself, he could be immense. Ramsey is a player that I’ve always enjoyed watching… I think he is a very intelligent player, but what excited me more about him is his tenacity and urgency. He was involved with most of our dangerous play yesterday and he got on the score sheet twice. He needs to be our right midfielder when first choice options are exhausted and he needs to get game time this year. Geoff has said many times… if he gets the same amount of pitch time as Denilson… he’ll be twice the player.
I also enjoyed watching a very motivated Traore make a menace of himself down the wing and I thought Big Phil looked quite good in the holding role. He is powerful, defensively minded and he is the best player we have in the air… he also has that ‘die for the cause’ mentality. Perhaps in a less highly pressure role he could excel? Just a thought… and one for you to consider in a thoughtful and educated manner.
My worries… Denilson in the middle still managed to look very average, I thought our weakness in the air was a big problem… a problem Wenger believes he can cure with ignorance by the look of things…
Before I leave, the thoughts of the authors and the Grovers go out to Nasri… may your recovery be swift and your boredom minimal… so, no Rosicky, no Eduardo… Hleb on loan anyone?
Oh, and Harry, may I politely ask you to return you hilarious idea of a deal right back up your arse where it appeared from… we’ve just managed to shift on our very own bag of crap… we could do without yours.
So Grovers… fire power is clearly not going to be a problem this year… but that centre midfield slot possibly needs some thought.
Have a great day!
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Finally… Click here to witness what happens when thick people earn too much money and start believing their own hype. Steven Gerrard, you shame your profession and our great country… I hope you go to prison.