Written by Jamie
Match Report: Cologne 1-2 Arsenal
So now that we have the far-east hand shaking junket out of the way, Arsenal fans could be justified in feeling that this is where the serious stuff begins. After all, Arsène Wenger said so himself.
No more games against Kuala Lumpur elevens or tepid match ups with the mighty Hangzhou Greentowns. Proper football is upon us. An English team against a German team. Football as we know it.
Of course while Arsenal began the Pre- Season proper in Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia region yesterday, El Capitan, Bendtner and co were still plotting moves away from London. So it is impossible to know exactly how we will line up next season but we got a pretty good idea.
One thing is for sure, Arsenal don’t seem likely to change formation. So it seems that 4-2-3-1 or as others like to call it 4-3-3 is here to stay. Frankly, I think that the only difference between the two is how effective the wingers are.
If the wingers are slow and lack movement it is a 4-2-3-1. If they are fast and quick in to space like the first half yesterday then it is a genuine mobile 4-3-3. This is when Arsenal play best.
All of which was evident when Wilshere chipped a perfectly weighted pass to Gervinho.
This seemed to dampen the crowd who had been in good voice pre-match.
A short while later Wilshere was again the architect. Pinging a pass wide to Walcott this time, who squared it cutely for Gervinho to sweep home a second from eight yards out.
The first goal to me was a Wiltord finish, the second a Pires, right place, right time finish. It was very impressive how he found space frequently in the first few minutes.
Based on very little, A you tube video, 29 minutes in a Arsenal shirt and half a dozen games when I didn’t really know who he was in the French League a couple of years back, I would say he looks to me like a Pires/Wiltord hybrid.
Arsenal had wobbled towards half time before Jenkinson capped a brilliant Arsenal performance by beating Szczesny with a lob Dennis Bergkamp would have been proud of.
Arsenal looked vulnerable with the normal high defensive line. The midfielders don’t get enough pressure on the ball in pre season. Frankly, I’m fine with that, I would rather they didn’t risk injuries.
I don’t worry about us defending in open play. Our record is very good on that front. At the risk of stating the obvious, we need a big centre back or an organiser at set pieces.
Arshavin had four attempts in the second half but again didn’t really hit the heights. His pace seems to have gone and he needs to play in the middle somewhere. Where he can use his close control, vision and shooting. He is too isolated on the wing. He never hides though.
Sitting at home, I might be getting worried about Fabregas leaving but all I know is this, if I were sitting on the banks of the Rhine with some of the Gooners that made the trip, I wouldn’t be worrying about any of that. I would be ordering another round of the local Kölsch and trying to work the name Gervinho in to a song.
Life goes on.
First Half Team
Szczesny – Didn’t inspire confidence but did ok.
Koscielny – Strangely out of sorts. One of our best last season but lacked his competitive edge.
Vermaelen – Similar start to Koscielny but improved as the half went on.
Jenkinson – Was trying to cover Koscielny when conceding the own goal. Technique needs work. Could he be a better cover right back than Eboue?
Gibbs – Excellent, his best game yet in the warm up. Smooth and could have scored in the second half.
Song – Solid but no yet at full tilt.
Ramsey – Played well, some nice touches.
Wilshere – Best player, was involved in both goals. He looks very well after his summer of rest.
Walcott – Sharp and focused, made one, movement was good.
Gervinho – Eventful, 29 minutes, 2 goals, impressive movement and a knee knock. I like him even if he does have the least subtle parting since GDR made plans to stop defection in 1961.
Chamakh – Did he play?
Miyaichi – Must have been chuffed to get on, did have one run, with what is becoming his trademark step over. Hoping he gets a Visa, He might brighten up the Carling Cup come the winter.
Second Half Team
Mannone – Curiously solid.
Fabianski – Not much on but good to see him back.
Sagna – No thrills, no spills, just another 45 under his belt, coasted.
Henderson – Got his chance at left back but seems to have come to a sticky end after giving himself a nasty looking knee injury in the dying moments of the game.
Squillaci – Could look out of his depth in a puddle.
Djourou – Tried hard to cope with the lack of structure around him, he gives his lot.
Frimpong – High on industry and low on artistry which is no bad thing for the anchor man but still lacks consistency to his passing.
Rosicky – Played well, it is bizarre that there is a part of all of us that still thinks he might still have his finest hour ahead of him. We can all dream.
Nasri – He looked a bit disinterested other than his cuddle for Jenkinson at half time. I wouldn’t read too much in to it, just easing in the warm ups.
Vela – Introduction was about a noticeable as air
Arshavin – Tried but still looks under par. Arsenal need to get the best out of him this season.
Van Persie – Couple of lovely touches, time has taught him to take pre season easy.
Afobe – Got on at 89 minutes, hopefully we might see more of him through the season.