By Walter Broeckx
With Tony at the Emirates I have not idea what BT will do today so for those who want to inform us you can do so.
With Valencia winning with 3-1 against Benfica they took over the lead from us and we had to at least score a goal to win the Emirates cup. Not that it was a top priority but at the start of the season but it is always nicer to win any competition you take part in.
On paper a stronger starting team than yesterday with Szczesny, Debuchy, Koscielny, Chambers, Monreal, Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere, Alexis, Cazorla, Giroud.
Ramsey starting again looked a bit odd to me to be honest. Chambers the other player who had started yesterday. Alexis making his first start for Arsenal.
The match just hobbled around a bit in the first half hour. Not many goal chances or dangerous situations. Monaco looked however sharper than Arsenal in the opening stages. Sanchez the only Arsenal player that looked to bring some speed up front for Arsenal. Giroud looking slow and completely not in top form for the moment. Clearly missing some practice with only one week training. Maybe the same could be said of Sanchez who disappeared after a good start.
Monaco pressed a bit more around the half hour with a few corners and then a stupid foul from Wilshere gave Monaco a free kick and him a yellow card. Falcao was left unmarked and he could head the ball in goal for Monaco. Not really what we had hoped after yesterday. Arsenal playing too slow today and Monaco clearly sharper than Benfica yesterday.
A note on the ref: letting a few nasty fouls go early on, on Arsenal players. Atkinson his usual useless himself when Arsenal play a team in blue.
In the second half Oxlade-Chamberlain and Miquel came on and Sanchez move in the centre of the attack. And it almost paid off when after some 4 minutes the Monaco keeper produced a stunning save when Sanchez won the ball back and Santi gave the ball to Wilshere who shot was amazingly stopped.
Arsenal better in the second half but not many chances. Some players clearly not realy up for the start of the league I think. Another chance for Sanchez a bit later on but his shot went wide.
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The most important moment in the game was when Akpom was through on goal with only the keeper to beat. He rounded the keeper who hacked him down inside the penalty area. Ref pointed at the spot but his assistant said the foul was outside the penalty area. It was clearly in. The assistant referee robbing Arsenal from a certain penalty there. Ref Atkinson only gave a yellow card to make sure he didn’t mix up the identity of the player to send off maybe?
With all the subs that had been brought on the already not really big fluency went even further away.
In the end it stayed 0-1 for Monaco. I think this match came one week too early for Arsenal. Monaco will start the league next week and for Arsenal it will be one week later. That might have played a part in Monaco being a lot sharper and stronger.
It wasn’t really the best performance, certainly compared with yesterday. But in a way maybe good that it happened. This shows that the young Gunners are banging in the door loudly and it should be a big warning to those who think they are sure to start that they have to up their game.
Positives from the whole weekend are certainly Campbell with a good show. Sanogo who showed he can score goals. Bellerin who can be considered a real possibility for the right back position. Chambers with a good match against Benfica. A bit unlucky with his defending when Monaco scored but this is something you can expect when playing together for the first time with a new pairing.
Negatives is that still a few regular players certainly miss match rhythm but that is the fallout from the world cup and with the players returning every week and not all starting together you could see a big difference between some players.
A quick maths test showed that Valencia won the Emirates cup this time. Arsenal still have some work to do and still a few players are far from top form for the moment. But that is something we need to fix on the training ground in the next two weeks.