Football’s Back! – Malaysia XI 0-4 Arsenal – 13/07/11 – (Friendly) 13 July, 2011Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
Finally, the beautiful game of 22 men kicking a ball round a pitch is back and the bullshit games of transfer rumours, speculations and lies can be forgotten (for 90 minutes). I haven’t been around much recently and that’s largely down to me just being sick and tired of the same old transfer window rubbish. I used to love the summers; the speculation, the rumours the excitement of potential new players but I’ve grown out of it now. I just can’t stand Sky Sports News’ and the tabloid’s consistent and transparent lies and it’s totally put me off. I think I’ve written once or twice since the season actually ended which is kind of sad but that’s just how I’ve felt.
However today was our first piece of action of the 2011/12 campaign and I was glad to get involved again. Our pre-season kicked off in untypical fashion; the traditional pre-season opener vs. Barnet has been scrapped in favour of a money-spinning Asian tour. It’s a shame not to be able to make the traditional trip to Underhill but at the same time nice to see us in a change of environment and hopefully creates a bit of revenue for the club.
Earlier this afternoon we faced a Malaysian XI allowing a run out for the complete 23-man squad. We started with Szczesny in goal and Jenkinson making his first appearance in an Arsenal shirt alongside Vermaelen, Kosicielny and Gibbs in defence. Song, Wilshere and Ramsey made up the midfield and up front it was also a first look at Miyaichi who was joined by Walcott and Chamakh.
We took an early lead with a penalty from Ramsey, Wilshere being brought down inside 5 minutes and Aaron tucking the spot kick away. Walcott had a chance to make it 2-0 but the ‘keeper came rushing out like a mad man and did just enough to put Theo off, thankfully avoiding to break his leg. Theo did eventually make it 2-0 in the 37th minute; Ramsey with a great lofted through-ball and Walcott finished well lobbing the ‘keeper.
There were 8 changed at the break which meant we lined up with the following; Mannone, Jenkinson, Squillaci, Djourou, Traore, Frimpong, Denilson, Ramsey, Miyaichi, Rosicky and Vela. Nice to see Traore, Frimpong and Vela back in the side and all three had decent games I thought. Vela didn’t looked greatly improved from his loan spell with West Brom however he was in the thick of the action for his 45 minutes and it was Carlos who made it 3-0 in the 58th minute. And you’d never guess it, it was a lobbed finish from the Mexican. However just a few minutes later he proved that his chips are his only speciality as he couldn’t guide an open header in front of goal into the back of the net.
Halfway through the second half saw the introduction of Sagna, van Persie, Arshavin and Nasri. They replaced the only remaining starters Jenkinson, Ramsey and Miyaichi, plus Denilson who also made way after a mere 20 minutes. Apparently he stormed right down the tunnel refusing to sit back on the bench with the others. To be honest I was surprised he traveled to Asia in the first place after his quotes at the start of the summer, I thought he would’ve stayed at home with Bendtner and Almunia to find a new club. Well after today it looks like he might’ve had enough. Oh well!
The extra quality from those subs showed immediately and we came close to scoring on a couple of occasions. I was impressed with Nasri who looked like we was trying especially hard to get involved and to get on the score sheet. After the game Wenger hinted that we would keep Samir despite his contract running down, I expect Arsene’s plan is to convince him to sign up over the course of this season but we’ll see.
The 4th came right at the end, a good bit of work from Arshavin from the left resulted in a deflected cross that fell to Rosicky and was an easy headed finish for Thomas. So 4-0 it ended and a good run out for the squad. Our next game is lunchtime on Saturday and hopefully we’ll see a bit more of the likes of van Persie and Nasri in that one.
For the first friendly of the pre-season campaign I was fairly impressed with the performance. There were some nice balls being played and quick attacking moves. It really should’ve been 5 or 6 but you have to be happy with the 4-0. Mannone and Szczesny didn’t have a great deal to do really. However the defence were a little sloppy at times, Jenkinson worked hard but showed there’s still room for improvement and the whole defence could do with a bit of work on their offside trap sharpness. However it’s the first game and you can’t be too critical.
It’s just great to have the football back.