I’d put the squad names on yesterdays post but by the time the players were on the pitch doing their warm-up both Almunia and Eduardo had mysteriously morphed into Mannone and Szczesney. This felt to me the right thing to do as I couldn’t see what Almunia would have to offer in this kind of game and was looking forward to watching both of our other keepers being tested. So, flu or no flu, good decision Arsene.
Traditionally in this game Arsene sends a pretty much 1st team out 1st half and then the reserves for the 2nd half but this year it was more of a balanced mix. Rosicky captained the first half with a team set out as a 4-3-3 with Arshavin, Jay Simpson and JET up frontish. The mid three were Wilshire on the left Frimpong in the middle and Rosicky on the right. The back four Traore – Vermaelen – Koscienly – Havard Nordveit. Arshavin put us ahead inside 2 minutes and we all relaxed.
If you’ve never seen him play, Frimpong looks like Eboue. He was playing the holding mid-fielders role and his energy in driving play forward and in the tackle was a pleasure to behold. I hope he turns out to be good enough for Arsenal because I saw him playing just over a year ago in the Youth FA cup team and was impressed with him there. He runs at players, has good ball skills and he made some fine tackles. Had a couple of shots too. I think we’ll see more of him.
Even though Jay Simpson showed his appetite for goals and his finishing skills, the star of the first half and indeed the match for me had to be Havard Nordveit. He usually plays as a centre-back but he was imperious here as the right-back. Don’t we have any right-backs coming through? He got to more headers than Koscienly and his crossing was pretty good too, anyone know if he’s right or left footed because we noticed that his crosses came off his left-foot.
The second half was a bit of a slumber party. Some good linkup play between Theo and Chamakh, nice neat passing that could have produced a couple of goals. They seemed to be alternating playing in the middle. Chamakh was happy to track back and showed a couple of tricks. If our wing-backs could learn how to cross he will get us goals, he got into a great position for a corner late in the half but the delivery was poor.
Here are chary’s thoughts of the game:
A much more competitively contested game than in 2009, as evidenced by the late sliding tackle on the revelation of the first half, Havard Nordtveidt, who seemed to ooze class and composure giving the Barnet left winger no joy at all.
Arshavin and Nasri looked as though they had come back from fat camp and showed touches of class, although more came from our Russian maestro.
Both Rosicky and Barazite seemed to have gotten a job lot discount on haircuts.
Jet looked like an amalgam of Kevin Campbell and Heskey to me, but the Emile comparison is not meant to be derogatory, he’s still young enough to round off the rough edges to his game as he certainly has the power and pace.
Kozzer needs to get some high protein shakes into his diet and bulk up on his upper body but he seems the determined type of player who will bust a gut to improve.
Chamakh settled into an Alan Smith type of role – holding up the ball to allow others to come into play and I’m salivating at the prospect of us actually posing some threat at set pieces now. His close control seemed pretty impressive too.
It’s a pity Barnet couldn’t throw/kick in some crosses to test Chesney’s catching and decision making as he barely had anything to do
Finally,the first Peronis of the season were downed by yours truly and jolly good they were too!