Arsenal 3 Fiorentina 0 Match report and Player ratings

July 21, 2019

This was the fourth game of our pre season and, as expected, we fielded some of our young players.

The team lined up as follows Martinez, Chambers, Jenkinson, Mustafi, Monreal, Kolasinac, Olayinka, Burton, Neslon, Saka, and Nketiah.

At first glance it would seem to be a 343. I didn’t realize we were still changing formation? I thought we would be sticking with the 433. One reason I can say the 343 is a good formation for us to play is because of Monreal as is he is too slow. I would have preferred to see Thompson over Kolasinac and Medley over Mustafi.

First Half

Nothing particularly remarkable from Arsenal in the first 15 minutes, Monreal being sloppy and Mustafi being Mustafi. Florentina were defending really well as a unit and Arsenal were shifting the ball left to right then right to left looking for an opening. Until eventually a brilliant move from Saka (Zaha who steups) playing in Kolasinac who lays on a plate for Eddie who was cool as ever rifling the ball into the net. Some more clumsy defending and more Monreal being sloppy. Olayinka and Burton needed to offer some support to the defense, Nelson to show a bit more probably it was because of Jenkinson Arsenal not getting the same dynamic on the right hand side as they are getting from Saka and Kolasinac on the left. First half ended 1 – 0 and we were fortunate not to have conceded, Martinez really proving to be a great keeper.

I was praying that Mustafi and Monreal would come off for the second half and we would revert to a 433, letting Medley show Mustafi how to defend.

Second Half

Well Emery listened to half of my prayers by reverting to 433 which made us definitely looked much better. Nelson was move to the left flank where he began showing his quality and on one occasion using his smart feet to cut inside and get a shot off but it curled straight at the keeper. Mkhitaryan’s first contribution in the game was to get booked, his second one was to pass the ball to Lacazette who laid it off to Eddie making it two nil, One thing you have to admire about Eddie is his ability to get space in the box. Willock held his own again when brought on and was smartly set up by Lacazette making it 3 goals to nil

Conclusion

One of the Star performer so far for me was Saka, I wouldn’t have any qualms him starting in the opening game. Eddie has a great ability to create space in the box. Mustafi is woeful and I hope he is frozen out just as Emery did with Mesut. We played much better when switching to 433/4231. It was nice to see us continue our fine form and the youngsters taking their chances.

Ratings

Martinez – Was able to keep clean sheet not matter how hard Mustafi tried … 6

Carl Jenkinson – Struggle in 343, looked better in 433 still can’t cross … 5

Mustafi – Another horrible game from Mustafi … 4

Monreal – Struggle in 343 a lot of silly turn overs, looked better in 433 … 5

Sead Kolasinac – Looked solid again today … 6

Olayinka – Didn’t protect back 3, but was solid when we changed to 433 … 6

Burton– Didn’t protect back 3, but was solid when we changed to 433… 6

Chambers – another solid game … 7

Saka (Zaha who steups) – Another great game … 8

Nelson – Was invisible first half, came alive when he went to left … 6

Eddie Nketiah – great positioning in the box and took his 2 goals wonderfully … 10

Subs

Leno – Was able to keep clean sheet not matter how hard Mustafi tried … 6

Lacazette – Much more lively than in the previous game, came up with 2 assists … 7.5

Mkhitaryan – had an ok game but did we really need to see him play … 6.5

Megan Rapinoe – had an ok game but did we really need to see him play …

Willock – is this Ramsey 2.0? … had another great game … 6.5

Xhaka – Gets his customary yellow card and turns the ball over … 3

Thompson – Only a cameo but am really liking the look of him … 6

Other Subs not mentioned …5

Manager

Emery – Has the team looking sharp, his 343 experiment failed and he still doesn’t realize mustafi will cost us goals against better teams… 5

fred1266

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The Youngsters shine as Arsenal beat Bayern 2:1

July 18, 2019

This was the third game of our pre season and we fielded a very strong lineup (4231)

Leno, AMN, Sokratis, Mustafi, Monreal Willock, Xhaka, Mesut, PEA, Lacazette and Mkhitaryan.

Captain for the night was Xhaka. Clearly it should have been Monreal but with Kosceilny on his out and Arsenal needing a new club captain most people here were thinking it would be Xhaka, and it seems Emery was thinking the same way.

My initial thoughts on the line up I would have preferred to see Chambers start over Mustafi and Saka over Mkhitaryan

First Half

Arsenal were quick off the blocks with the first few chances falling to us. We were especially dangerous down the right with PEA and AMN creating chances. Thirteen minutes in and Bayern were still on the back foot with Mkhitaryan just putting it wide.

Arsenal were looking really good – and I don’t just mean the kit. Arsenal were playing from the back with confidence, counter attacking with purpose and winning the possession back quickly. But with all the great play, in the 38th minute Bayern almost took the lead with Muller beating Mustafi to the ball from a cross forcing a great save from leno with another shot on target coming just 3 minutes later.

We went on another searing break to end the first half as Aubameyang picked up the ball in his own half and sprinted forward, laying the ball off for Ozil but he fluffed his lines and it came to nothing and the half ended 0-0 at the break. It should also be noted that Willock made 3 more tackles than any player on the pitch he also won more fouls (2) and had the second highest number of touches of any Arsenal player

Second Half

Two changes in second half; Martinez came on for Leno and Kolasinac also came on (just in time for Sue to watch). We finally made the breakthrough via an own goal in the 48th minute as Aubameyang tried to pass it to Lacaztte. I have to give Mkhitaryan credit for this since he picked out Aubameyang with a great pass.

It was tough times down the right for AMN from Coman who gave him all sorts of trouble in the second half. Aubameyang went on another dazzling run and this time I thought it should have ended with a goal because Nelson was able to keep up and but his shot blocked.

Soon after Bayern were level when Mustafi misjudged the ball – but I actually don’t even blame him it was just simply a great cross and clinical finishing. Martinez keep it level with the game being stretched and chances coming at both ends. But then Martinez found Nketiah with a long kick, and he bullied Sule and got a shot off at the near post with Ulreich making a smart save.

From the resulting corner the ball landing to Jules who then fed Chambers who smartly returned the ball to Jules who the layed it on a plate for Eddie Nketiah 2-1 to the good guys. Eddie, Eddie, Eddie.

Jules should have make it 3 – 1 but he fluffed his lines, again it was another great pass from Nketiah to Kolasinac.

Conclusion

Our first real test of the pre-season and we passed with flying colours. I was dissappoted that the main team didn’t score a goal but they looked great. Although Mkhitaryan set up the first goal he should have been subbed for Mesut we need more pace on the left side to keep up with Aubamayang. Those who want Zaha should look at how we played today. If this is our new style of play, he would actually work but the likes of Saka and Nelson can still do a job. Someone should have known AMN need help on the right, I don’t expect Aubameyang to come back and defend so Willock/Burton should have offered more assistance if PEA wasn’t willing to come back.

Ratings

Leno – Solid first half and made s smart save … 6

AMN – Solid first have horrible second couldn’t cope with Coman at all … 6

Mustafi – Looked solid woudn’t blame him for the goal … 6

Monreal – was caught out far too many times … 6

Sokratis – Looked solid again today … 7

Willock – Had a wonderful game … 7.5

Xhaka – Wasn’t spectacular and didn’t give away the ball… 6

Aubamyeng – wow was magnificent today … 9

Mesut – controlled the game but he really need to work on his finishing no way somone of his class should be miscontrolling the ball when he about to take a shot … 6

Mkhitaryan – Great pass for opening goal and missed a easy chance should not be starting game anymore to much talent … 6

Lacazette – wasn’t his usual self today … 6.5

Subs

Robbie Burton – Solid when he came on … 5

Reiss Nelson – When I saw the lineup was hoping for Saka instead of Nelson but after this cameo made me wonder why people even think we need Zaha, missed a sitter but it was defended wonderfully … 6

Tyreece John-Jules – setting up the winning goal and missing a sitter … 7

Nketiah – back to back games showing his class … 10 MOTM

Saka – looked wonderful again, has excellent close control (Zaha who) … 6.5

Chambers – If am not mistaken he was in midfield and looked damn good … 7

Manager

Emery – Excellent substitutions … 7

 

Written by Fred1266


It’s the young guns NOT playing against Borehamwood that you should be excited about.

July 6, 2019

At last … I know it’s only been a few weeks since our disappointing end to last season. I, like, many felt like I needed a break from football … but you can’t help salivating at the thought of seeing those red and white shirts strutting their stuff again at Borehamwood today.

The first team will only return to training next Friday and so we will field a side composed mainly of under 23s with Steve Bould back in charge. The exact team has not been announced at the point of publishing, but there will be plent of young talent on show at Meadow Park.

It is expected that Amaechi, Balogun and John-Jules will feature whilst Zech Medley is also likely to play along with promising young goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo. There will also be several promoted from under 18 level, the likes of Mazeed Ogungbo, Sam Greenwood and Matthew Smith.

However, more significantly, these players are not in the squad …

Eddie Nketiah

Emile Smith Rowe

Bukayo Saka

Joe Willock

 

… they will be joining the  first-team for training. This is great news and one that is likely to be music to the ears of AA bloggers following the comments this week calling for their inclusion.

Zech Medley (he’s a centre back if you didn’t know) may be one who some wish had also made the step up … does this mean we will be getting a new, more experienced CB?

Just for the record, in the same fixture last season we fielded a side peppered with first team stars and won 8 nil with a hattrick from Auba, and a goal apiece for Laca, Mkhi, Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson and Jeff Reine-Adelaide.

Rasp


Unai Emery … listen to Freddie … you already have the young talent

July 4, 2019

There’s been a lot of talk about using Academy players to plump up the squad as we seem to have run out of money … thanks Stan for not putting your hand in your pocket to help your team!

I find it worrying that often when we talk about buying players we agonise over not disrupting the squad and yet there are legions of fans wanting to sell more than half of our current first team.

Back in 2008 we had a fabulous set of players in the Academy/Under 21’s and Arsene Wenger knew that he was going to need to use some of these players in the First Team. Anyone remember a stunning victory in the Carling Cup against Sheffield Wednesday at the Emirates Stadium. The game ended 6-0. A hattrick for Carlos Vela, a brace for Nicklas Bendtner and a goal for Jack Wilshere, making him the second youngest Arsenal scorer. It was a night of fabulous football, I was there as our boys tore into the Blades and I can tell you I was excited at the prospect of Bendtner and Vela playing together in the First Team.

I’m not sure they ever played together in the First Team, I remember that van Persie got injured and Bendtner became his replacement. But the special way that they had played together that night was never seen again.

Last season we witnessed another night similar to that one in 2008 when several young guns lines up against Vorskla away in the Europa league in November.

 

We won the game 3-0 with goals from Emile Smith-Rowe, Ramsey and Joe Willock. Eddie Nketiah also started the game. In the second half more youngsters were given a chance of game time with Medley, Saka and Charlie Gilmour replacing Holding, Ramsey and Guendouzi. It was a fabulous display, the young guns knew how to play together and it showed on the pitch. We saw some of them individually later on in the season but not in numbers. They’re used to playing together, they know how to read each other, I feel we need to use them as a group.

What I’m trying to say is that they have to be given a chance to play regularly if we are going to reap the rewards of the fact that they’ve been playing together since they were tiny tots.

Arsene Wenger wasn’t brave enough to do this consistently but maybe Freddie Ljungberg will be and Unai Emery will listen to him. I hope so.

peachesgooner


A Youth Revolution?

May 19, 2019

So disappointed with the belief seemingly held by Dick, some here on our blog, and so called “knowledgeable commentators” on other sites, that pressure to produce results in the Premier League prevents the Manager from blooding youth regularly.

Instead Suarez, Lichtsteiner, Mustafi, Micky, Elneny, Jenkinson, Chambers to name a few of the non controversial  ones, labour to make a mark, to make a difference, and rarely achieve. Saka and Amaechi may yet have seats on Arsenal’s extended bench for the Europa Final – but is it enough?

Mavididi playing for Juve

Stephy Mavididi signed for Juve u23s in 2018 and is now on the verge of the first team. Ismael Bennacer’s performances at Empoli have caught the eye of Napoli. Chuba Akpom has won the title in the Greek league. Donyell Malen is a regular in a PSV Eindhoven side that pushed Ajax close for the Dutch title.

Arsenal have one of the most talented set of youngsters in their Academy and U18s that we have ever had. They are the legacy of Liam Brady and now the future under Freddie. But only if they are given a proper window of opportunity. Scouts from all over Europe are ready to snap them up, are visiting each and every game they are involved in. They understand the Arsenal system, the Arsenal family, and they want to succeed big time.

Well, I’m sorry, the Club is doing them a disservice.

Nelson, Smith-Rowe, Nketiah, Willock, Amaechi, John Jules, Pleguezuelo, Medley, Thompson, Saka, Mavrapanos are all worthy of significant game time. This is a serious watershed moment.

We are close to losing potentially top class talent, but at the very least, better quality than many who have gone through the motions this season. Give ’em a (proper) go, Dick, and save the money on bigger gambles you are considering.

LBG


Boys will be men! – Arsenal v Vorskla Player Ratings

November 30, 2018
Well, everything seemed to be stacked against the team in the beginning. Whose idea was it to organise a long trip away midweek before celebrating some serious Spud-bashing in the weekend! Really bad idea!

And then, serious brass monkey weather in the Land of Always Winter! Note, the ref needed a replacement can to paint the ground in the second half because the first one froze in his pants! 🙂

To top it all, martial law and proxy wars of the kind never seen in the civilized end of Europe on the correct side of 1945. Who would have thunk!

And then, in a shocking late move just to disrupt our preparations, UEFA decided at the last minute to move the game to the Olympic Stadium in Kiev. Surely, the sole purpose was to bring memories of another Brexit side crashing to European opposition in last season’s Champions League final!

Yes, the odds were all stacked against us.

In response, Unai Emery decides, in his enormous wisdom, to pack the team with teenagers fresh out of nursery. Bless the man and his sense of humour! In the event, we had a fantastic spectacle where the young gunners ran amok and Vorskled the shell-shocked opposition 3-0 on the night! What’s not to like?

We have struggled a bit with our academy setup in the past couple of years. But, if there was one thing we learnt last night, it was that the future is bright and shining. Yes, these young boys will be men soon enough. But will they stay and take it up the Arse? That is the long term question. In the short term, things look bright. We can look forward to another brilliant teen-show of Emery-ball against Qarabag.

Here are some quick thoughts and ratings. Please feel free to disagree.

Helmet: 6
Better with his feet than with his hands, which were probably frozen. Had to make a couple of saves, which he did, not without pretending to be nutmegged once early on. But that was just play-acting. Especially loved his bold clearance outside the box in the second half.

AMN: 6.5
Holding: 6
Jenks: 6
Licht: 6
The defence had precious little to do by way of stopping opposition attacks. It seems all aggression is diverted towards the Russians at the moment. Holding and Jenks were solid. Licht was good on the overlap. AMN was somewhat iffy in defence but linked up really well with the midfield.

Elneny: 5
Worked hard, but I thought he was the weak link on the night. Caught out of position a few times, and got himself into an offside position in the second half for what would have otherwise been Smith-Rowe’s second goal. However, decent assist for the third goal.

Rambo: 7
Almost convinced the ref and everyone else that he was attempting to dive, but in the process earned as fair a penalty as one would ever see. Wonderful stewardship of a bunch of youngsters (Cech was the captain on the night, I think, but Rambo looked very much the leader on the field). Most importantly, he got the opposition goalie on his knees for the penalty. Now, how many times have a seen a goalie defending a penalty kneeling down rather than diving! Wow!

Douzi: 6
Good solid link up play. Nothing spectacular except the hair, but valuable nevertheless.

Smith-Rowe: 8
Such games can sometimes be nervy affairs, and the first goal is always important. On the night, a wonderfully cool finish for an early first goal that set the tone for the game. To top it all, a wonderful sheepish smile after calmly finishing off a second half goal only for the goal to be disallowed very late. Just because Elneny was caught too far upfront trying to give the opposition goalie the eye!

Nketiah: 7
Tireless work throughout the game. Really gutsy, and very skillful. A fine assist to boot!

Willock: 7
What wonderful maturity, skill and finish for the third goal! A fine talent. A great pleasure to watch.

Zech Medley, Bukayo Sako and Charlie Gilmour.
What wonderful names! Never heard of them before. Medley was wonderful in defence, seems to be a real talent for the future. Sako was excellent in link up play. Both solid 6’s for me. Gilmour was not on long enough to make an impression.

Two final thoughts………..

First, a special thought for the team doctor (don’t know their name) who apparently did not travel with the team and reached late on his own. Then forgot that the game was moved to Kiev and travelled a pointless 400 miles by road to finally reach the game. What a performance!

Second. By the way, that is now 18 and counting! Look forward to some serious mauling of the blue-skinned swamp dwellers from N17 in the weekend.

A mildly satisfied,

Red Arnie


Was Arsène Right?

October 20, 2018

Before I begin, can I ask that if anyone reads this who really knows about player development to kindly leave a comment, because this post is a question as much as an observation, and I suspect that like myself, most regulars on this site would be guessing.

We all heard terms such as Project Youth during the Wenger years, and we also noted that very few players emerged through the Arsenal ranks to have top flight careers, whether at Arsenal or anywhere else.

We now appear to be on the threshold of seeing a very good looking bunch possibly breaking through, with the likes of M-N, Iwobi, Nelson, Eddie and Smith Rowe.

One of my criticisms of the way the project unfolded under Arsène was that most of these players appeared during their sporadic appearances in a variety of positions, while I always believed they should be developed in specific positions.

I’m beginning to think I was wrong. Here’s why.

It strikes me that our homegrown players are relatively late developers, but perhaps there is good reason for this. I’ll expand this thought with a few questions/observations:

  • playing them in a variety of positions could simply be to give them game time when opportunities open up through injuries
  • or, could this have been a deliberate strategy to make them more complete players?
  • examples: we’ve seen Iwobi left, central and right midfield, likewise, M-N left and right back as well as defensive and attacking midfield
  • I get the impression Unai has a more structured approach to positional duties, but will he, and the players, have benefited from Arsene’s more fluid approach?

mickydidit89