Nothing like a pre season friendly in Indonesia to get the heart racing. Not from a fan perspective, unless you’re one of those totally mental Asian fans that lose the plot and vomit at the sight of an Arsenal player. Then it’s 175BPM all game. Do you ever wonder if they dust themselves down after the Arsenal game and repeat the same antics for the Liverpool team who visit a week later?
Just joking. I’m just messing around. Indonesian Gooner’s are very passionate. If I tweet something they like, it gets translated and retweeted for about 4 days straight.
Back to the game. We turned out in the new shirt, which has gone down a dream with pretty much everyone. Take note Puma, we like yellow. The team Wenger turned out in the first half started with Fabianski. Did I read much into that? Not until he subbed him for Martinez. If we don’t bring in a new keeper, could Fabianski be our new signing? Maybe.
The guy sitting next to me on the bus smells like a chip fat pan.
Arsenal got off to a slow start. The astro turf pitch wasn’t really working for the players. A combination of a light bounce and a rusty touch slowed down play. We did create some openings. Chuba Akpom looked lively, making some telling runs. He’s a big lad with a lot of potential. His touch was a bit heavy at times and his shooting was off, but if there were a bag of raw striker ingredients you could buy, he’d have most of them available.
However, like someone said on Twitter… ‘we know how it ends Pedro’. So I shan’t be putting his poster on my bedroom wall yet.
Theo opened the scoring when he turned in a low Chamberlain cut back. The 1st half was a bit painful to watch. We lacked penetration and composure. The players were all dripping wet as well. Struggling to adapt to the climate was no shame though, it’s very humid there. That said, it’s pretty roasting here at the moment!
The second half proved more fruitful. Wenger brought on Kos, Olsson, Zelalem and Eisfeld.
The first goal rolled in pretty quickly, Akpom turned in a low front post cross inside the post. A swift move that started with a tasty Zelalem flick.
Things got majorly serious when Arsene brought on Giroud, Podolski (who picked up the biggest cheer) and Rosicky.
Almost straight away Giroud deftly turned in another low cross, this time from Sagna. He was wearing some very smart black boots rocking a new and improved haircut. Much in the same way Wayne Rooney’s hair transplant kicked him into the next level form wise, Giroud and his new look landed him a second 3 minutes later. He had to do more work this time, picking up another Sagna cross, pivoting and smashing his shot in off the bar. A tasty goal from a man 34% sexier than last year.
The introduction of 1st team players really did make a difference. More purpose and power was immediately on show. It also raised the game of the kids. Podolski looked fit and strong, he powered his way to his first goal rifling off a beast of a shot that the keeper couldn’t get near.
Olsson had his chance on 84 minutes turning in a chipped Rosicky shot at the back post. I have to admit, I had no clue who he was. A nice goal and a nice performance from the youngster.
The last goal came from Eisfeld, bursting into the area smashing the ball in off the bar. A great finish and a positive result.
We don’t need Suarez.
We don’t need squad players.
Giroud is king.
Does that about sum it up?
Of course not. It was a solid opening against a team of part timers. We can’t read too much into it. It’s great to see goals flying in from all over the park, because that only builds confidence. We can’t start drawing dim conclusions like… ‘Hey, why spend £30m on a striker when Giroud could make the jump to world class this year?’… you know what, Giroud might make the jump this year. So if he can, we’ll have some stiff competition for a striking spot. Arsenal are going back in for Suarez armed with £35m, we have Higuain on the back burner because Madrid want £37.5m… so keep them crossed, but we could have ourselves a very interesting striking quartet this year.
Players around the rest of the park that impressed were Zelalem. He’s clever on the ball, has great awareness… but he’s incredibly young and light weight. One to watch though. Gnabry looked solid. He could easily start in the Carling Cup. He reminds me a little of Theo in the early years. Maybe a little more advanced skill wise. He has German confidence and looks like he really enjoys getting amongst it. Perfect build for the league.
Carl Jenkinson looks ready to challenge Sagna in his transition year. He looked fit as ever. Hopefully he can take lessons from Bacary… but more importantly, I really would like to see Sagna get back to his previous level of right backery. He lost form last year and it was painful to watch at times.
Aaron Ramsey picked up where he left off with an assured performance. At 22, it’s time for him to shine. He covers plenty of ground and he’s stopped make the hospital passes. I have a feeling he’ll add goals to his game this year. He’s always had an eye for a shot, just not one for the target. I’d love to see him up his game and contribute to a successful season this year.
Arsenal still need to bolster all over the pitch. I think we lack power in the middle of the park and we do need a specialist defensive midfielder. I’d like to see a back up centre back brought in to give us a bit more edge when we’re down a Per or a Laurent. I also really worry about our keeping options. Both are mentally fragile and both lack a proven edge about them. We could really do with having a solid base to build from this year. Fabianski has looked good since his come back, but he’s suspect when the heat is on and he seems to be very injury prone.
Overall, a solid start to the Asian Tour and a great showcase fro ‘Brand Arsenal’.