This was the last game of our preseason and we fielded a strong side comprising Leno, Chambers, AMN, Sokratis, Monreal, Willock, Xhaka, Mkhitaryan, Rapinoe, Aubameyang and Nelson. I expect to see a side with similar players for our opening game of the season. Every time I see Mesut and Mkitaryan in our lineup together I am so frustrated, we just can’t have two guys in the squad offering nothing to the team at the same time.
Barcelona got us underway. But it was arsenal having a good few minutes with Aubameyang being fouled early on, then Nelson feeding Aubameyang whose shot went off for a corner. There was a tricky moment when Xhaka misplaced his pass giving the ball to Griezemann but he couldn’t capitalize.
Ozil finally got into the game and made a forward pass to Aubameyang who left the defender for dead with a gorgeous spin move and hammered it into the net making it 1 nil. That goal was totally against the run of play and Arsenal take the lead into the half.
In the second half we made some substitutions bringing Guendouzi and Kolasinac on for Nelson and Monreal. At that point I wasn’t sure which formation Arsenal was playing.
Barcelona upped their pressing game making it hard for us to come out of our own half. Willock made and outstanding block to keep the score 1 nil. Xhaka decided he didn’t want to deal with the ball and gave it to Chambers who was quickly closed down and Arsenal were lucky again not to have conceded.
But then the inevitable happened AMN lost concentration yet again and passed the ball into his own net, how did he not see Leno wasn’t in goal? It was another case of a player not wanting to deal with the ball but simply just wanting to get rid of it 1-1.
Saka who came on late in the second half injected some energy into our attack and whipped a great ball into Aubameyang, but he couldn’t get on the end of it. Saka actually did more in that move than Mkitaryan did for the entire game. Substitutions were made and I am sure everyone saw Mustafi was coming on and just knew we were going to lose. Three minutes later Suarez had the ball in the back of the net 2-1 to win the Gamper Trophy.
Mkhitaryan and Ozil should never play together in my opinion they are too similar and offer nothing majority of the time they play. Mkhiryan kept leaving AMN exposed. On one occasion it seemed like he was trying to get out of the way for AMN to deal with the player and on another occasion Mkhitaryan literally just had to step over to block the advancing player but instead he made AMN run over to do the marking of the man he should have been covering.
AMN also leaves too much space. He is always tucking inside Chambers, I’m not sure if that how Emery wants him to defend. To me he always has to expend extra energy to mark a player who is coming down the wings, especially since he wasn’t getting any help.
I would have liked Mesut to show his class in the second half. He should drop back to receive the ball when we are being pressed and create something with it. I am unsure as to why we were not pressing Barcelona, was it because Emery believed they are good at holding the ball and we would be out passed? but If our ultimate goal is to be a pressing side then we should do it regardless of the team we face.
Leno 5 – at fault for equaliser
Chambers 5 – partially to blame for winning goal
Sokratis 6 – solid game
AMN 5 – Didn’t look good for the goal and made some silly mistake
Monreal 5 – didn’t offer anything today
Xhaka 4.5 – is he really the best captain option we have
Wiilock 7.5 – another outstanding game … MOTM
Rapinoe 6 – would like to see him control the game when we are under pressure
Mkitaryan 4 – did nothing
Aubameyang 7 – great goal, would also like to see him hold the ball up when under pressure
Nelson 6 – great showing, clearly Mkhitaryan should have been taken off instead of him
Saka 7 – looked great as usually and think he should be given more time, impressed me more than Nelson
Ceballos 6 – didn’t really notice him