Sagna Gallas Djourou Traore
Eboue Denilson Ramsey Rosicky
So, the second game of the afternoon saw Arsenal take on an exciting Athletico Madrid side. We lined up with quite a strong team, Denilson sitting in just behind Rambo, Rosicky making his long awaited return with RvP and Bendtner up top. I was surprised to see Eboue in the team… but then again, we did see Kolo in the team just before he flew the nest. I’m more irritated by the fact that the best we can do in right midfield appears to be him again…
Wenger is still giving little away as to what his starting line up will be this season… you’d have to imagine he still doesn’t have a clue! Diaby is injured again, Verma out, Senderos supposedly gone… and I reckon he has at least 2 signings up his sleeve.
It was interesting listening to Ray Parlour (Who was in my local on Friday) talking about what he thought we needed… he said he’d like to see a centre back, a world class holding midfielder and a top class striker. He also said he thought PV04 would be a disaster signing… reckons he wont have the legs… we shall see!
Keeping a clean sheet against this lot was going to be tough. Forlan and Aguerro are hot strikers… Madrid are like the Spanish Newcastle of old!
The first incident of the game came from a Madrid corner that was whipped in front post, a player got in front of JD, flicked it on… Aguerro nipped in at the back and hit the post. It was reassuring that we’re still dealing with corners in the same fashion as we were last year.
Our first chance came when Rambo picked the ball up twenty yards out, dragged it back, rolled Rosicky in, who looked up and curled one into the top corner. It was rightly called offside… a real shame but hopefully a sign of things to come.
The next chance came when Eboue slid a pass into Rocky, who nearly latched onto it. He won a corner… from which he shanked a shot wide. Little Mozart was looking very good.
Denilson was making his fair share of gaffs… perhaps he’d been reading the crab comments, because he was trying to play hollywood balls all over the park in the first half to little effect.
Our next chance came when Sagna drilled a 40 yard cross field pass to Ramsey, who knocked it in front of him, crossed to Robin who weakly volleyed into the ground and wide.
I wasn’t surprised to see the stadium emptier than last year… Selling 35,000 tickets at £30 might rake in more money at the gates… but getting 60,000 in paying a tenner surely benefits the tills inside the ground… not to mention giving lots of people who can’t normally go the chance to see their team. Greedy, Greedy Arsenal.
I’ve never watched £4million disappear so quickly in the space of 45minutes… but every time Eboue tried something with the ball… I felt I was watching another quarter mill disappear… then he’d dive… another million… then he’d roll about on the floor like he’d just stepped on a land mine… it really was car crash football from avid Le Grove reader, Emanuel Eboue.
Sagna started the first move of the second half playing a good one two with Jack Wilshere… he cut it back to Robin, who tried a clever flick that was cleared off the line. Soon after Nik pulled down a cross and half volleyed over from ten yards.
JD continued to look solid at the back making some important interceptions. The introduction of Clichy, Wilshere, Merida really spiced things up. Merida looked very creative and quite bulky… I’m looking forward to seeing more involvement from the Spaniard this year.
Madrid made a substitute… the well moutstached Madrid coach stroked the neck of the youthful Madrid striker in a slightly disturbing manner.
Jack was the architect of our next chance… his clever footwork allowed him the chance to cut the ball back to Rambo who gave the keeper an easy save.
Soon after Forlan broke through our defence, but JD was once again equal to him and nullified the danger with a great slide tackle.
Fab, Arshavin and Eduardo made their way onto the pitch to some electric applause.
Jack chipped Merida in, who narrowly missed connection with the ball… Jacks intelligence is astounding.
Robin Van Persie is to freekicks what Michael Jordan was to baseball… what happened Robin? 3 piss poor attempts continued his fruitless year of freekicking.
Jack wilshere continued to dazzle the half empty Emirates with his trickery and guile. He became the focal point of the Arsenal attack. People don’t mind going with youth when it’s at the standard of him! I thought it was quite sad when the stadium started doing mexican waves… it looks a bit stupid when only half the venue is full.
Athletico perked up in the final ten… Mannone nearly spilled a bread and better shot into his net, they missed two one on ones… then came the goal.
The ball was played into the box by Fabregas who picked out Arshavin at the back post… the Russian casually watched the ball down and side footed the half volley home for the first.
I do have to say that certain sections of the crowd were irritating me with their constant shouts of ‘Shoot’ late on. It’s preseason… we don’t need to start with all that this early on.
5 minutes later, we were brutally exposed at the back when Madrid threaded a ball through the middle of the centre backs… Gallas looked for offside… Prosecco slid the ball past Mannone for the equaliser. Embarrassing.
However, it wasn’t over. Arshavin chased a back pass… noodded it on… took it past the keeper and slotted home from an almost impossible angle. That is what money buys you Arsene… quality. Now couldn’t you repeat the trick in defence and centre midfield? Arshavin makes the game look easy… he put minimal effort into the game yesterday and still produced… keeping him fit this year is of utmost importance.
We are top of the league is all I need to say on the game. Like Geoff has said so many time before, we are only a couple of players away from domination… but those players are in key positions. Denilson didn’t have to pace to catch up with the play maker who played Prosecco in… and the defence weren’t sharp enough to deal with the mistake. On the plus… Rosicky looked fantastic, I forgot how tenacious he was… Jack Wilshere looked at ease and got everyone of their seats… I thought Rambo played well considering his age… and Fran Merida looked like he could give us an extra option this season.
We just need to sort out those positions and we’ll be cooking on gas…
P.S. Jack… what a star… roll on Rangers… I’ll bring back player ratings for tomorrows report! Keep ’em crossed for a busy week on the transfer front!
Have a rip roaring Sunday!