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By Bulldog Drummond.
Arsenal’s starting XI was set out by those who were there as:
White Saliba Partey Magalhaes Timber
Saka Jesus Trossard
I’ve found a couple of videos of the game. Neither are the most coherent of presentations, but at the moment that seems to be the best there is.
So Arsenal went a goal down twice, and there was a deflected goal for Barcelona who have clearly been watching Manchester United.)
Saka missed a penalty in a very similar fashion to one I recall seeing him miss last season – it simply goes wide of the goal. He also had a superb chance early in the second half. But it is worth it all to see Trossard’s goals, and a powerful strike for Smith Rowe showing he is back to full strength.
Interestingly after the Manchester United game of violence, Arsenal opted to give possession to Barcelona with them having 60% of the ball.
But at the same time it is possible to see that Arsenal clearly were determined not to be caught out again as they were by Manchester United, so they didn’t hold back on the fouls… perhaps on the basis that this is how they play in America. So we had committing 22 fouls – way beyond the norm while Barcelona only committed 12. But on the positive side, Arsenal had 20 shots, with nine on target (Barcelona had nine in total and four on target).
It was 3-2 with 15 minutes to go until Trossard scored his second touching in a cross from Tierney. Then on 79minutes he was replaced by Gabriel Martinelli while Eddie Nketiah came on for Jesus.
As Arsenal settled down to the new formation, Barcelona immediately went on the attack and hit the post from a tight angle, and thereafter they continued to push forward. But it still wasn’t over as on 87 minutes Barcelona got one back when Holding slipped while receiving a pass and Torres scored.
Then with a nod to his undoubtedly developing talent, 18 year old Amario Cozier-Duberry came on to replace Saka.
So we were coming to the close of the game when on 89 minutes 89mins Fabio Viera brought back the two goal lead with a curling shot. It was indeed quite a jolly final ten minutes. It would be rather nice if a decent video of the match emerges at some time so it can be fully appreciated.
However that is the end of American tour, and I would hope that before next summer’s arrangements are made, further thought is given to how these things work. If the club wants to go overseas to let fans elsewhere see the club live, that is fair enough. But in such circumstances surely is is worthwhile getting edited highlights of the match out soon after – especially when the game is kicking off in the small hours European time.
Also the club really does need to look into the issue of the people in the UK who paid their money, could not get a connection, and was told it was their fault. If this system of broadcasting only works on certain computers, we need to be told in advance (although actually I don’t think that is the problem – the technology itself seems too fragile).
Still, at least the next game is at home; it is the Emirates Cup – and hopefully watching it on TV is not going to be a problem for those who can’t get to the game. None of the problems that some Arsenal fans are facing does Arsenal’s reputation as a club caring for its supporters, any good at all.
Back with this match, we should remember that although Barcelona are in financial meltdown, the reality is that they won the Spanish league last season by 10 points, scoring 70 goals in 38 games, and conceding just 20. A goal difference of +50 is not to be sniffed at, and for Arsenal to knock in five, even though it was only in a friendly, is no bad feat.
The key thing with the friendlies is both to get people fit and to build up confidence, and I think this result will put matters on track.
So far the results are two wins, one draw and one defeat in the pre-season series, with 11 goals scored and six conceded. And yes I know of course they are simply friendlies, but the game against Manchester United certainly didn’t look like that in terms of the way Manchester United were tackling as we mentioned at the time.
So if one purpose of the tour has been a toughening-up process, then it looks like it has been obtaining its purpose – but it remains a dangerous approach for pre-season, for given the way some opponents have approached these games in America (obviously I am thinking particularly of the appalling display by Manchester United) players could easily come away with serious injuries.
For me the most important lesson so far from this summer’s work-out, is to avoid pre-season games against Manchester United at all costs in future.
There is more on that topic at Manchester United continue to cause damage in pre-season games.
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