By Walter Broeckx
Following up on our article about the good things we have seen in the Emirates cup we continue with some looking back at the second match.
The match against Wolfsburg was another story. A more difficult one. Wolfsburg played like a typical German team. Players who can run for 90 minutes and more if needed and press all over the field. Great skills on the ball and hard work. Why German teams are difficult to beat was very well shown by Wolfsburg.
Theo scored the only goal of the match and he should have scored at least another goal when he was released in the first half by a nice lobbed pass from Wilshere. He took too much time to control the ball and a defender could steal it from his feet at the time. But his runs are there and he is so difficult to stop once he is away. The goal itself was very well taken. A simple pass with the outside of the boot was a good and calm finish. But the way he was setup for this goal was maybe even more impressive.
Jeff Reine-Adelaide, who I will from now on just call Adelaide as that was on the back of his shirt was the assist maker this time. What a first start this 17 year old had. Of course he made a few wrong decisions in the match. Sometimes he could have taken another option but missed the obvious pass. But what I liked apart from his lovely footwork, his quick feet was the fact that he also didn’t forget to do his defensive duties.
When he lost the ball he always tried to win it back. Maybe in the first half he was a bit too reluctant at times and wasn’t aggressive in trying to win it back. But I am sure that this was said to him at half time as in the second half he did this much better. His footballing skills are amazing and he sure made a big impression on me. He sure looks a big talent for the future if he can keep a cool head on his shoulders.
Now we must turn our head to the back four, make that back five. At first I thought that Wenger was taking a big gamble with this back four. Certainly in the middle. Chambers and Gabriel. I do admit I didn’t feel very relaxed before the match.
Not that I think that they are bad players but we must realise that certainly Chambers is not very experienced at playing there. The Stoke match being a good example of him showing his inexperience at the time. But it seems that Chambers just as Bellerin did after making some mistakes has learned a few things.
Of course he has to learn a few more things and sometimes he could have done better. But for a rather inexperienced central defender he certainly did a great job against a difficult team. Maybe he did get some good assistance from his partner next to him, Gabriel.
Gabriel once again confirmed that he certainly is a 100% defender. He isn’t the biggest defender but in the air he was amazing. I think he won all his duels in front of goal. And when he saw an Arsenal player being roughed up a bit in the first half he went in himself in a bit a wild way and sent a message to some Wolfsburg players that he was ready to give back anything they gave to our players.
Gabriel-Chambers were under a lot more pressure than Per and Kos on the first day but they did a good job. In fact most dangerous moments from Wolfsburg came from shots from outside the penalty area and that is more down to our defensive midfielder(s) not always being at the right place at the right time. Maybe, just maybe Arteta’s legs are getting a bit too old for this position.
So is this a call from my part to bring in another defensive midfielder? Not really. As we maybe have the solution already in place. I thought Hayden was very impressive when he came on later in the match. Some good aggressive tackles, pressure on the Wolfsburg players and he was certainly one of the reasons (for me anyway) why Wolfsburg didn’t really make a lot of chances in the closing minutes. Yes lots of possession but no real chances any more. So do we have the solution already at Arsenal? Maybe yes.
As Wenger is seeing the future of Wilshere in the attacking positions as he told the other day I don’t count on Wilshere being trained for a more defensive role for now. Jack who had his burst again and who was stopped on more than one occasion by being hacked down by the Wolfsburg players. Sometimes a bit unlucky but also with some great passed and certainly Theo should have put Jack on the assist list with scoring one goal.
But at the end of our team was a player making his début for Arsenal. Petr Cech. We all knew that he is a great keeper. And he did all that was needed to confirm this. His shot stopping was great, his distribution was great certainly with no big centre forward to aim at. His commanding of the area was great. So, yeah I think we did a good deal with bringing him to the Emirates. And one can only wonder what would have happened if Wenger had got him when he wanted to buy him all those years ago.
A final word about Akpom to finish off this article. I felt that Akpom was a bit too nervous at times. As if he wanted to impress too much. His run to allow Theo to score the first goal was a great run dragging two defenders to his side and opening the gap in the middle. That was great work from the young man. But he also should have been more calm and sure of himself when we were countering at the end with 3 against 1.
A good simple layoff would have been enough to score a second goal for Arsenal but he completely messed up. You could see him being caught in two minds. And not just on that occasion this was happening to him. And a player who doubts, usually loses the ball. Will I take on the last defender myself or give the pass to a team mate? Chuba, just make a decision and stick to it. But just make sure you execute it in the right way. Now it was, I will take him on and do it myself and then oh no, I will give the pass but then it was too late and he messed it up.
Learning money it is called in my country and it is no shame to pay it. In fact all players have to do it at some time in their career. And better to do it in the Emirates cup than in a more important match.
28 July 2002: Arsenal signed Gilberto Silva for just £4.5m. The low fee came because Atlético Mineiro had not paid their players, were banned from transfer deals, and there were problems getting the work permit despite the fact he went on to captain Brazil.
28 July 2009: Kolo Toure sold to Man City for £14m thus making Arsenal a profit of £13,850,000. He played 82 games for City before being transferred on to Liverpool on a free.