By Walter Broeckx
A rather interesting team that started the finale of the Barclays Asian Trophy against Everton.
Cech making his first start for Arsenal and for the rest as expected lots of changes from the team that started against Singapore XI. The only player to start again was Jack Wilshere.
A complete new back four with Bellerin, Chambers, Koscielny and Gibbs. And in midfield no Coquelin or Flamini but we did have Aaron, Santi and Özil and Jack. Up front Giroud and Walcott.
The team that started was Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Chambers, Gibbs, Ramsey, Cazorla, Wilshere, Ozil, Walcott, Giroud.
On the bench we had : Szczesny, Debuchy, Gabriel, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Monreal, Flamini, Coquelin, Akpom, Iwobi.
So we played without a defensive midfielder one could say and it was down to Santi, Aaron and Jack to use their head and be alert and be able to defend and attack.
Arsenal had most of the ball in the opening minutes if the match but because of some stream issues I couldn’t make much of it. The stream got better gradually and so did Arsenal and they had the match in control. Not much openings for either team. So a 0-0 after 15 minutes was the just result.
Jack, Santi en Aaron die afwisselend aanvallen en verdedigen.
Spijtig dat ik niet kan kijken
But in minute 21 Santi got the ball in the centre circle and saw the gap as did Theo. A lovely ball over the top and and Theo put it past the Everton goal keeper. GOAL!!!! 1-0 to the Arsenal after 21 minutes.
Arsenal kept the control of the match and only a long leg from Stone prevented Theo from having another chance. Arsenal kept on dominating and Everton didn’t really get near Cech. And when they tried to give a cross ball to the left back position it was… Theo who was covering for Gibbs and cut out the attempted pass.
Everton trying to do a bit more attacking then but the Arsenal team was well positioned most of the time and working hard on their defensive duties. Everton with a free kick on our left flank but Naismith headed the ball from an offside position against the crossbar so putting the ball in the net from the rebound didn’t count. The first time Everton really made an attacking contribution.
Özil trying to set up Ramsey for a spectacular volley but the attempt was wild and went wide off the target. The game opening up in the final minutes with some fatigue creeping in maybe in the difficult climate but Clevery his shot also well of the target. Theo with a great run to Özil who tried to set up Giroud but a defender just could cut out the ball. The score at half time stayed at 1-0 to The Arsenal.
Chamberlain came in at the start of the second half in the place of Wilshere. Theo with a first shot from the left but a defender diverted the ball in to a corner. Ramsey with a nice flick to Theo but nobody in the right place to put his low cross over the line and a defender could clear resulting in another chance but the header from Özil just went wide.
Everton with a long distance shot but Cech punched it away and Arsenal with the reaction and the Everton keeper had to stop a low shot from Cazorla. Oxlade-Chamberlain with cross that ended up with Giroud who mishit it but it came to Walcott who curled it just wide of the far post. Meanwhile Santi more and more played as the defensive midfielder. Giroud just not on the end of a cross and Theo couldn’t reach to the ball at the far post. Bellerin then with a shot but the keeper tipped it over.
The corner was short taken between Özil and Cazorla and the little Spaniard twisted and turned on the edge of the penalty area and suddenly unleashed a low shot with his left foot! GOAL!!!! 2-0 to The Arsenal after 58 minutes. Arsenal really was the better team.
On the hour mark Kone with a heading possibility but he was completely off balance to produce any danger and headed the ball wide over. A great attack starting Giroud heading it further, the Ox to Ramsey who could have taken a shot himself but opted to give it to Theo who shot over. But it was only a matter of seconds or Arsenal again with an attack this time Santi to Özil and he was one on one with the keeper and coolly finished it off. GOAL!!!! 3-0 to the Arsenal after 62 minutes.
Arsenal completely in control and only the keeper going wide out of his goal prevents another goal from Theo. Arsenal at times toying with Everton and dancing around their players like Muhammed Ali in his best days. Meanwhile the central defenders also did their part and sniffed out any possible danger. Lukaku had come on in the place of Kone for Everton.
Ramsey with a lovely ball to Oxlade-Chamberlain but his lob went just wide. Wonderful football at times. After 70 minutes the according to the media injured Arteta came in the place of Walcott. Time for a drink. Cech with a good punch after a rare Everton corner showing he also was on the field.
The Ox losing the ball in midfield resulted in Barkley having a shooting chance and he scored a goal for Everton after 72 minutes. 3-1 and no clean sheet for Cech in his first match.
Time for more changes in the Arsenal team. But Debuchy, Coquelin and Akpom coming on for Bellerin, Giroud and Santi. The cohesion had gone a bit now but still Akpom just came late to a loose ball and the Everton keeper could intercept it.
Arsenal now leaning back a bit in the closing minutes of the match. Everton pressing a bit more now but not really creating much real danger. The Ox with a lot of dribbles in the box but the shot from Ramsey as a result is blocked by a defender. Akpom could escape after a mistake from an Everton defender but his shot was too weak to beat the keeper and he got no warning from his teammates when he got the rebound. Arsenal ending the match on the front foot and again controlling the match and attacking in numbers.
The final score stayed at 3-1 to The Arsenal and as a result Arsenal win the Barclays Asia Cup. A well deserved win with Arsenal being the better team for almost the whole match.