More Gears to Come – Arsenal beat Lazio

August 5, 2018

Going into the game, expectations were high with the prospect of a debut for Lucas Torreira and a return for the Albanian Eagle. Impressions after the match were dominated by the impact second half substitute Matteo Guendouzi had on the look of the Arsenal team.

The match began as if it was a training scenario, Arsenal having virtually 100% possession and Lazio making thousands of small shuttle runs denying space and chances.

Laca was on target from a fine volley; the dinked pass from Lichtsteiner a real treat and in complete contrast to his ebullient roughhousing. I really enjoyed watching an old school defender employing the full range of tricks of his craft. Stephan Lichtsteiner won’t be bullied this season, that’s for sure. It would have been very interesting to see how he would have coped with Hudson Odoi the other night. I’d imagine the chav may have found himself flying into the first couple of rows of seats at some point!

Reiss Nelson was sharp to follow up Alex Iwobi’s effort off the post giving the boys in the “peacoat navy” (seriously ) shirts a deserved lead. Lazio finally woke up, finished the half stronger and were, perhaps, a little unlucky not to equalise with both a chip on to the bar and a clear header.

Auba scored after fine work from Elneny and Lacazette on the edge of the Lazio area. The intensity of the game dropped after numerous substitutions and Lazio clearly lacked the sharpness a tougher preseason might have given them.

The final 20 minutes was my favourite part of the game with all the big hitters, Mesut, Micki, Auba, ESR and Matteo on the pitch at the same time. Arsenal became a purring Rolls Royce coasting to victory. Whether the Premier League will allow us the luxury of seeing so much skill and pure talent on the pitch at the same time is another matter entirely.

Guendouzi was majestic, playing with the unabashed confidence of youth. Mesut loved his cameo and the highlight came from Micki with a sublime turn and nutmeg.

Calum Chambers played particularly well in the first half. He really seems to be maturing into a fine defender and his passing from the back adds a level of calm we didn’t see against the chavs on Wednesday.

Lucas Torreira’s debut was pretty quiet. His rapid shifting of the ball forwards was very pleasing to watch. More to come from the Uruguayan undoubtedly.

All in all a very decent, if not spectacular, run out, though which players will make the cut against City next week is anyone’s guess!


Torreira Debut? – Arsenal v Lazio

August 4, 2018

Today’s friendly in Stockholm is Unai Emery’s last chance to get the measure of his squad before next weekend’s Prem curtain raiser against City.

The biggest question and most enthralling prospect for the game is whether we might get a look at Lucas Torreira in an Arsenal shirt.

Who will start the game at centre back? Mustafi and Sokratis looked less than convincing against the chavs. Time is running out for an obvious settled partnership to emerge. Perhaps Calum Chambers might feature in his preferred position?

Ramsey is out with a perfectly timed tightness in his calf. The Beast is out for 8 weeks. Interesting to see if ESR gets another chance. Xhaka alongside Torreira could be fun.

Up front I’d like to see Auba and Laca in tandem as it offers up the most chances of scoring goals.


Lichtsteiner Chambers Mustafi Monreal

Mkhitaryan Torreira Xhaka


Lacazette Aubameyang

Hark at me choosing a team for a friendly. How preposterous! Maybe choosing players I’d want to see start against City,  more like.

I know virtually zero about SS Lazio but they finished 5th in a Serie A which appears to be re-establishing some of its former strength, so they’re no mugs.