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Arsenal v Western Sydney Wanderers. The teams, the opposition, the food, the transport

by Tony Attwood

Western Sydney Wanderers were formed in April 2011 with the idea of having a club with a strong community focus.

In their first season they won the A League, which by and large is not a bad start.  They currently play at Stadium Australia and Sydney Showground Stadium while their permanent home ground of Parramatta Stadium is in the process of a three-year rebuild.

The main supporters’ group for the club is the “Red and Black Bloc” and they are talked about in terms of the atmosphere they create, the chant “Who do we sing for” and performing The Poznań at the 80 minute mark of matches, in recognition of the fact that the first ever football match in Australia was played in Parramatta in 1880 – before the founding of Arsenal in fact.

Last season however they slipped down the league…

Pos Club Pld W D L F A GD Pts
1 Sydney FC 27 20 6 1 55 12 +43 66
2 Melbourne Victory 27 15 4 8 49 31 +18 49
3 Brisbane 27 11 9 7 43 37 +6 42
4 Melbourne Heart 27 11 6 10 49 44 +5 39
5 Perth Glory 27 10 9 8 53 53 0 39
6 Western Sydney 27 8 12 7 35 35 0 36
7 Wellington Phoenix 27 8 6 13 41 46 -5 30
8 Central Coast Mariners 27 6 5 16 31 52 -21 23
9 Adelaide United 27 5 8 14 25 46 -21 23
10 Newcastle 27 5 7 15 28 53 -25 22

So they scored 20 fewer goals than Sydney and conceded 23 more.

But it’s not a league game, and they are promising a “mammoth pre-event party” before the game with the area around the ANZ stadium bathed in red light, an Arsenal Fan Zone, with 30 international-themed food stalls and cafes with live music and roving entertainment nearby.  Just like the Ems! (?)

They also do transport different in Sydney from London.  All tickets for the game include return transport to and from the ground although it is perhaps reassuring that even in a modern city like Sydney they have track work going on with bus replacement services on two of the rail lines – just when there is a big match on.

The local interest in the games is enormous with around 20,000 watching Arsenal train this week.  Mind you Arsenal are also doing this sort of work better than ever with players attending coaching clinics and making appearances at events for young footballers almost from the moment they arrived in the city.

In terms of teams I imagine Alexandre Lacazette will play an hour from the start along with many of the players who came on for the last part of the first game.   Aaron Ramsey, Laurent Koscielny and David Ospina – the three who didn’t play in the opening game are said to be playing.  However the absence of Ramsey has not stopped the bloggettas speculating that he was injured and would miss the start of the season.

And that is extraordinary.  A bloggetta run by a major national newspaper making up the story that an Arsenal player is injured when he isn’t.  Whatever next?

Speaking of team selection Arsene Wenger said: “Laurent is suspended for the first two games so I did not need to take a gamble. There was no need to risk him.

“With Ramsey as well I was a bit cautious because last year he was troubled with injury. I wanted to give him a good build-up, a good foundation. They will both play on Saturday.    Ospina just came back. I have three keepers and will rotate them this weekend.”

Theo Walcott was the only player to get any sort of knock from the first game but is still perfectly ok to feature in this match.    And the stadium is once again expected to be nearly full.  Indeed as a “special treat”  Arsenal have brought along both the stadium announcer from the Emirates and Gunnersaurus.

Ray Parlour is also in Oz and did a Q&A although I am not too sure it was wise to run the event without a translator on hand.   Ray’s Australian isn’t very good.

The Wanderers captain Robbie Cornthwaite said ahead of the game, “We’re going to try and take it to them a little bit and give them a test which they probably didn’t get [in the first game].   We’re not there just to make up the numbers or have a kick-about with these great players.”

We opened the first game with Cech, Bielik, Mertesacker, Kolasinac, Nelson, Coquelin, Willock, Bramall, Ozil, Walcott, Welbeck so it is a fair chance that none of those will play.   We might have as an opening team …

David Ospina

Mohammed Elneny      Laurent Koscielny     Nacho Monreal

Ainsley Maitland-Niles                                                          Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Aaron Ramsey                                 Granit Xhaka

Alex Iwobi                        Olivier Giroud             Alexandre Lacazette

On the other hand we might not.

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19 comments to Arsenal v Western Sydney Wanderers. The teams, the opposition, the food, the transport

  • Whoever plays today, I hope we have no pre-season injuries to deal with. I also wish the boys another great outing today.

  • Richard

    Tony only change if make to that formation is a positional one swapping maitland niles for elneny. Other than that I would expect a longer run out for certain players
    Personally though I’d like to see bramall, willock and nelson given more time on pitch they impressed in first friendly and gave something to the team.
    What I liked and will be watching for in the coming pre season friendlies is the high press employed for most of the match if they continue to use it against teams like Bayern and Chelsea.

  • Tony Attwood

    Here’s the team
    Ospina
    Koscielny
    Monreal
    Elneny – hey Untold called that right!!!!!

    Xhaka
    Ramsey

    Maitland-Niles
    Iwobi
    Oxlade-Chamberlain
    Giroud
    Lacazette

    Substitutes

    Mertesacker
    Ozil
    Walcott
    Welbeck
    Martinez
    Kolasinac
    Coquelin
    Bielik
    Bramall
    Nelson
    Nketiah
    Willock

    Read more at https://www.arsenal.com/live#!timeline#FFm4Z53pmRxIa26p.99

  • Josif

    Does anyone know for which first two games Koscielny is suspended – two league games (Leicester and Stoke) or CS + first league game (Chelsea and Leicester)?

    Also, to repeat my question from the earlier thread: is Iwobi still considered as U21? I have found two different interpretations so I’m confused.

    Thanks for both answers.

  • para

    Lets come out of the pre games with solid training experiences and no injuries please.

    Players getting to know each other in the position(s) they play and building the dertimination to win, win, win.

    Looking forward to our upcoming season for real. 🙂

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    I am already seeing the picture of the Western Sydney’s Stadium where this match will be played live, on my TV screen. But the players are not yet out on the field. Hopefully, if they didn’t take light like they did in the Sydney vs Arsenal match, I’ll watch the whole match live.

    According to report on the UA, it’s been reported that Le Prof said, he’ll play Koscielny and Ramsey in this match. However, I would have like it if he replay some of his youth players, if not all, he played in the Sydney match. Those young Gunners had harassed and barked in that match but they did not bite, biting is the essence of playing a football match. If the players didn’t bite, they won’t score and will not win the match. So, that is the reason for my wanting Le Prof to play these his youth players again to see if they’ve learnt and have corrected themselves in the errors and mistakes they committed in the last Sydney match. The game is already 18 minutes into the match but no scores. So, let me concentrate on it.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    @para

    Iwobi was 21 on 3:5:17 so was only 20 on 01:01:17 which is the counting date for the 17/18 season. He therefore counts as U21 for this coming season but will need one of the 25 squad places for the following season. Hope this helps.

  • Nitram

    3 goals up in Australia coming up to HT

  • Tony Attwood

    Well now that was a very jolly first half. And one in the eye for the snarling negativists on the bloggettas who were really getting at the management for putting Elneney in the team.

    Of course it is a pre-season game against the Stoke City of the Oz league, but still… this squad is looking rather interesting.

  • Nitram

    Tony

    I don’t read the ‘Bloggettas’ but are they really moaning already?

    If they are that is beyond pathetic.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    A typical Arsenal play has seen Olivier Giroud gave Arsenal a goal lead in the game after side kicking in from a cutback by Monreal. Early in the match, Lacazette was blocked twice from scoring. A long Fabregas looking pass by Monreal into the Western Sydney’s 18 yard area saw Ramsey meeting the pass to whip in into the Western Sydney’s goal to give Arsenal a 2 goal lead in the match. But from what am seeing on my screen, it’s only Niles that is a youth Gunner playing in this match. The rest are all senior Gunners. Maybe Le Prof has decided to play his senior team players in this match to get them into a good shape in readiness for the bigger task of playing against Chelsea and Bayern Munich in China. Elneny has made 3-0 for Arsenal with a powerful ground shot that hit the back of the net of Western Sydney goal. It’s looking like the Gunners are massacrering the Western Sydney’s team in this match. But by the way, where is Lacazette? He’s gone quiet in the game after been blocked twice from scoring.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    The second half has began and all eyes are on the £52m Lacazette to see if he’ll score in this match. His body language suggests he’s not looking comfortable as he returned to field for the commencement of the of second half of this match.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    A blunder of a back pass by a Gunner to Osipna who caught the ball instead of to kick the ball away or pass it to a Gunner has seen the Western Sydney team given a free kick in the Gunners box. And from the resultant free kick, the Western Sydney scored at the second attempt after seen their first kick blocked by the Gunners wall. Le prof has done some changes to his team.

  • Chris

    Well apart from the fact that we missed so many chances, I did like Bielik and his young colleagues, We definitely have a conveyor belt of talent there, just hope we can keep them and integrate them into the first team.

  • WalterBroeckx

    match report is on line

  • Polo

    @ Tony, ‘Of course it is a pre-season game against the Stoke City of the Oz league’ i think you got this observation totally wrong, WSW is similar to Arsenal, an attacking minded team, no way like Stoke City.

  • para

    Watching AW interview, i get the feeling that Alexis is going.

    AW said this.
    “We/I expect him to stay”.

    This means that he is not really sure?

    Or maybe he thinks City will not pay the money
    Arsenal asks.

    Which ever way, there are/seem to be negotiations going on, if not with City, then with someone else for sure.

    Hope i am wrong.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    MALAYALEE BUSINESS MANAGEMENT

    An elderly merchant had a small shop for years.

    One day a huge Supermarket set up shop across the road from his little shop.

    They put up signs advertising their prices, including one that said “Butter – 100 Rupees”.

    In response, the Malayalee merchant added a sign to his own window, “Butter – 90 Rupees”.

    The next day, the big supermarket had a new sign, “Butter – 80 Rupees”.

    Sure enough, the Malayalee merchant’s sign now read “Butter – 70 Rupees”.

    This went on for a while, until eventually one of the Malayalee merchant’s customers pointed to the sign and said,

    “Sir, you cannot keep your prices so low for long. These big companies can use their buying power to sell products cheaper, and a little store like yours can never compete.”

    In response, the old Malayalee merchant bent forward and muttered,

    ” Look son ,I don’t even sell Butter…”
    😀😀😀