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Stuttgart 1-3 Arsenal – (30/07/08) – (Friendly) 31 July, 2008

Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.

So we kicked off our pre-season-proper with a decent 3-1 win over Jens Lehmann’s Stuttgart. It was the first game of the new campaign for most of our big names and you could argue our starting 11 was full-strength:

Sagna – Djourou – Gallas (c) – Clichy
Walcott – Eboue – Denilson – Nasri
Adebayor – van Persie

Almunia, Sagna, Clichy, Denilson and Walcott have all played a part in our previous friendlies this summer but for the rest of the guys out there it was their first chance to impress the manager this season. Not sure where Senderos is, but Djourou played centre half with Gallas and Eboue had to fill in at central midfield. When I saw the team I assumed Nasri would be in the middle but he did a great job out wide. Eboue wasn’t actually too bad but that is definitely not a viable permanent option.

I’ll start at the very, very beginning, with the kit. How fucking good did that look yesterday? Nike have got it right this time and I can’t wait to get my hands on the new yellow and blue away strip. It’s supposed to be in the post tomorrow, it’s going to be like waking up on Christmas morning.

We started the game quite layed back, like you’d expect in a pre-season friendly. Some players did look a bit rusty footballwise but did look quite fit. Stuttgart weren’t doing a lot with it either however their long balls over the top did sometimes cause our defence a bit of a worry.

However after 8 minutes, we had a really good chance. Adebayor played a great ball through the defence and van Persie was one-on-one with Lehmann. Jens came out and Robin went for the chip but the German’s reactions were quick and it was saved.

It was a great pass by Adebayor but that’s about all he did all game. He didn’t look very sharp at all and got caught with the ball under his feet more than a couple of occasions. He really didn’t do anything extra special anyway to prove to the boss he’s got what it takes to make people forget the past. That pass was pretty good though; I’ll give him that.

About 10 minutes later Alumina made a great save down to his left. Stuttgart made a charge down the right wing, the attacker broke inside and fired the show low inside the near post. Almunia got down to it well though and forced it into the side-netting.

A few minutes later we had another really good chance. This time it was van Persie with a fantastic defence-splitting pass from the halfway line that sent Walcott in the clear on the left hand side of the box. His marker did enough to catch up with him though and as Theo tried to square it with his right foot he blocked it out. If Walcott had the confidence to shoot with his left though it should’ve been a certain goal.

Just before the half hour it was Walcott again with a great chance. It was a typical Arsenal move with one-twos and quick passing that ended up with van Persie inside the box near the touchline. Walcott continued his run though and van Persie squared it gently to him for the shot. Theo went to put it in the top corner but Lehmann made a great one-handed reaction save to deny the goal. Fantastic move and a brilliant save.

The half finished 0-0 and it was time for some substitutions. Almunia, van Persie and Adebayor went off with Fabianski, Vela and Bendtner replacing them like for like. Stuttgart also made a change bringing on Bastürk and it was he who opened the scoring 5 minutes into the half. It was a through ball between our defence and a decent finish by him under Fabianski, who was also playing his first game of the season.

That goal woke us up a bit. Vela and Bendtner were still on a high from the last game and were playing well together, and it was their combination that made it 1-1 in the 58th minute. Bendtner chipped a ball across the Vela who did well to hold off the defender and take it past Lehmann. He finished well into the roof of the goal considering it was on his wrong foot and at a tightening angle. I thought Carlos Vela was going to be a winger/attacking midfielder for us but he’s proving to be a deadly forward.

A few minutes later Nasri was substituted for Jack Wilshere and I thought he had a good debut. He looked great on the wing and wasn’t afraid to shoot either. Was impressed by him but I’m looking forward to what’s to come. Eboue was also taken off for Ramsey.

In the 65th minute we took the lead and it was the front two combining well again. Bendtner won the ball deep and played it to Vela whilst continuing his run forward. Vela chipped it over the defence and Bendtner took the ball down well and it was a great finish low into the corner. Another great goal and those two players really are looking good for the news season.

We scored our third in the 73rd minute. Clichy, ever tenacious on the wing kept the move alive and kept our attack going after losing the ball. Once he had it he looked up and picked out Wilshere who was open on the far side of the box. Jack took the ball down well and finished low on the half volley to get his third goal in two games. Another great goal, well taken by the 16-year-old too.

So it finished up 3-1 to The Arsenal and a not so happy night for Lehmann. A decent run out for some players but it was the ones who’ve played in the previous matches that shone again. Vela and Bendtner linked up really well and deserved the two goals between them.

Afterwards Wenger said the chequebook was closed on the striker situation:

“We are not as short of strikers as people thought. We have Vela, who has integrated well into the team, and Bendtner was a force at the end of last season. He will confirm that again this year. In all the areas in total we are perhaps one player short. But up front we don’t need anybody.”

It’s true, we really are in quite a good situation in attack but it’s defensive midfield where I’m worried.

Yesterday we signed a midfielder by the name of Amaury Bischoff. He’s an U21 international for Portugal but was born in France. He’s from Werder Bremen but hasn’t played much first team football and seems like a bit of a risk to be honest. He’s currently out with a long-term injury and wont be fit for another 3 months or so and Wenger admits he’s a gamble. I’m a bit confused about his arrival so I don’t really know what to say at the moment but his position will become clear later this season, then we’ll see. He’s will wear the no.28 shirt.

Ok that’s it for today I have to shoot off to work, no time to read back through so excuse any typos!. See you soon.


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