Roll up roll up for the Emirates Cup!
Day one: you’ve only come to see Eboue!
After all the transfer speculation, endless tweet wars, moans and dashed hopes it was nice to get back to the Emirates and see some football. I am taking the twins both days this time (a reward for all the hard work they have put in to their GCSEs regardless of the outcomes in a few weeks) and on Saturday I took their mother along too (her first time at the Grove).
And this is very much the theme for the Emirates Cup (can I say Ems from now on – or is that offensive?); it’s a family day out and a chance for people to see our magnificent our ground is, especially in the sunshine.
We sat in the 5th row upper east tier, overlooking the centre circle. Great seats – from which I could see everything much better than I can from my ST spot in the lower north bank. There were Porto, Napoli and Galatasary fans all around us, all enjoying the day out in a friendly atmosphere.
I chatted to two local Turks who were Arsenal fans too (GalaGooners they described themselves). In front was one small child with ‘Eboue Daddy’ on his Arsenal shirt and I wondered… Eboue was the star attraction for the first game; being cheered whenever he got the ball and loudly when he won Gala a penalty in the second half. They scored, while Porto (the better team for 60 minutes) managed to miss two. It wasn’t much of a game and the highlight (Eboue apart) was the appearance of the ‘Running man’ at ‘halftime’ – a really nice gesture Arsenal!
[As editor of this august journal may I enquire why the word “halftime” is in inverted commas here? I mean, I know you have a doctorate Mr Blacksheep, but is this quite right? – Tony]
There was some trouble in the lower north bank west corner during the game with the stewards seemingly evicting around two dozen Gala fans, no idea why. On the opposite side a similar sized group op Porto fans did their best to keep up a constant chant. They were then replaced by Neapolitans after the change around. On to the main feature…
Yellow. Very yellow. That is the new away shirt which my Turkish friend thought was wrong (‘not at home’, he said). The ground filled up now although despite it being ‘sold out’ it was never full, and there were plenty of new shirts on view.
Watch Arsenal Live Streams With StreamFootball.tv
This is a pre season friendly folks, but some of those around me needed very little encouragement to start criticizing the club for the lack of spending. We started well but Napoli looked a little sharper in front of goal. From where I sat we looked exposed in midfield – Jack and Rambo put in a great effort but looked more comfortable going forward.
The first Napoli goal came as they bypassed the midfield and left poor Jenks out on his own. The second came when Fabianski tried (and failed) to clear up another defensive mix up. Basically we were 2-0 down because we forgot how to defend as a team. The lack of Arteta in there was telling.
We missed a penalty too, it looked soft and perhaps Podolski lacked conviction as a consequence. There were some boos at half time.
Second half we were better at the back. Partly because we were, especially after Sagna came on, and partly because Napoli changed their team a lot. Some bloke called Higuain came on and he was rubbish. Seriously he looks a lot like Giroud and I’m not sure he would be much of an improvement, we need something different.
Giroud (or Sagna actually) pulled a goal back as we pressed the Italians back and then Kos got the equalizer with five to go (typical Arsenal!). In fact for me the Frenchman was our standout player; brilliant at the back, full of energy and deserved his goal. We need to keep him fit and I’d consider giving him the captaincy because he is a natural leader. What a contrast to that Carling Cup final.
A few final thoughts on the team today: Gnabry was good, Podolski lasted nearly all the match, Giroud looks like he did last term, Jack and Aaron are not the answer in midfield, Jenkinson is willing but not as positionally aware as Sagna.
I’d like to see us sign a keeper, a defender or two, a defensive-minded midfielder and another striker (but I’ve yet to see Sanogo) because again our first team can beat anyone but a few injuries and we will be in trouble.
It was a good day out – nice pizza at La Pasta, twins happy, Jill enjoyed it too, a decent drive home and I’m ready to do it all again today (Sunday). Obviously it’s not the same without Tony’s thoughts on the way back [look, just because you say this I’m not going to remove my criticism of your use of inverted commas, ok? – Tony] so I’m looking forward to the season proper and the Villa game. By then who knows*, we might have a few more options on the pitch too.
Now onto Day 2.
*Arsene knows J
Arsenal beat the transfer record
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal FC: crowd behaviour at the early matches
- Arsène Wenger and the moral dilemma over Suárez – A Rebuttal
- The two Arsenal teams for the Emirates Cup (BT makes EPSN looks good)
- Arsène Wenger and the moral dilemma over Suárez
- Clubs treat fans with contempt as they sell the notion of the individual over the team
- Ian Wright in contradictory mood, but the media makes its anti-Arsenal stand