By Walter Broeckx
The line up fort his first match in the International Champions cup against Atletico Madrid is:
Leno, Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Kolasinac, Ramsey, Guendouzi, Nelson, Smit Rowe, Aubameyang, Lacazette. So one could say some experience at the back and up front and Ramsey with the kids in the middle.
A really troublesome start for my stream. Up and down it went and then some ads popping up and not being removable…. But after some 22 minutes I finally find the right stream and could watch the match.
But what I could see was not that bad. Arsenal mostly with the ball having a few chances to score. Aubameyan twice attempting a volley but both times going wide. And I also saw Lacazette having a shot but the keeper somehow saved it.
Atletico with a good attack on their right wing but the shot was topped by the head of Mustafi.
The match going up and down a bit around the half hour with Atletico now also getting more in front of Leno. At the other end Lacazette away on the right but the angle favoured the goalkeeper who could block his shot. Bot teams now playing some open pre season football. And the youngster showing some nice passing when building up an attack from the back. Alas the backheel from Ramsey ended nowhere. Smith Rowe went down at the edge of the penalty area but correctly nothing given and the small contact was outside the penalty area anyway.
Guendouzi almost losing the ball in front of his own penalty area but a good recovery from him was the start of a great Arsenal attack. Lacazette with a low shot that was pushed away by the goalkeeper and Nelson misssed the rebound as the defender did just enough to distract the youngster. We really should have been in front by now. And just when I typed this Atletico put in a cross from the right that was headed in by Vietto. 1-0 to Atletico after 41 minutes. A bit cruel given what I have seen so far. That was the score at half time.
Cech then only change at the start of the second half. What a good way to start the second half. Emile Smith Rowe opens his Arsenal account as the youngster scores his first senior goal for Arsenal. GOAL 1-1 after 47 minutes. A great right footed shot in the top corner form the young Gunner.
A ball is played in dangerously from the right but a defender can just clear in front of Aubameyang and Lacazette. Aubameyang takes a shot from distance but is deflected wide by a defender. Then we had a revisite of last years Arsenal. Losing the ball deep in our own half, then winning it back deep in our own penalty area only to give it away again and then somehow we managed to clear the ball for a corner. Cech with a great save and then Holding with the block for a corner. Mr. Emery please tell to whack it high and wide when needed. As a result Atletico got us on the ropes for some 5 minutes with desperate defending. AStill 1-1 after 60 minutes.
A complete shift of the team then. Well that was what we wanted but the ref didn’t let it happen first time so we have to play the ball out again. And Atletico sportingly give it back to us. I think Guendouzi and Kolasinac were the only players to stay on the pitch apart from Cech. On came Chambers, Sokratis, Mavrapanos, Maitland Niles, Lucas Perez, Mkhitaryan, Osei Tutu, Nketiah,… and sorry if I have forgotten one…. Özil sitting on the bench and not coming on today it seems. Just when Atletico changed over half of their team Willock came on for Guendouzi.
Arsenal still trying to play it out too much from the back when under pressure and then losing the ball and getting under pressure. I sure hope this will stop in the next weeks as it is living dangerously. Not that much cohesion in the Arsenal team in the second half. But the youngster with a good combination finding Nketiah on the right but he scuffed his shot a bit and the keeper could save his low effort. Mavropanos at then end of a corner but he was too surprised to put his foot around the ball and the ball went out.
Both teams now clearly feeling the impact of pre season and the humid conditions and the passing fo the ball was not as it should be. So not much good football to see in the final 10 minutes or so. Kolasinac still on the pitch being the only player to play the full 90 minutes and extra time.
The final score was 1-1. A bit more difficult than against Boreham Wood of course and that is the meaning of pre season matches: to raise the bar.
Blimey, I didn’t pay attention to Tony his article and so I almost missed that we would get a penalty shoot out.
A penalty shoot out that is lost 3-1. Not that this matters a lot of course. The Atletico keeper stopping 3 penalties from Arsenal.
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