Boreham Wood v Arsenal live match updates: the first half

By Tony Attwood

Problems with my subscription to the Premier 1 Sports channel meant I missed the first few minutes of the game and by the time I did get a picture Arsenal were 1-0 down.  Unhelpfully, the Arsenbal players do not hve names on their shirts so I’m struggling to say who is playing.   After 10 minutes however the commentator is saying that Arsenal have still not had any sustained possession.  So it is nothing like the games we have seen in recent years.

Also there is a lot of space in the ground with many people still arriving with the match ten minutes old.

The team:

Hein; Swanson, McGuiness, Medley, Thompson; Smith, Burton; Olayinka, Coyle, Tormey; Balogun

Subs :

Hillson, Dennis, Azeez, Olowu, Clarke, Amaechi, Cottrell, John-Jules, Greenwood, Aleblosu, Ogungbo, Matthews

And with 11 minutes gone a cock up in the Arsenal defence almost led to a second goal for Boreham but the ball went out for a corner.  The corner fell to an Arsenal player and it was simply booted up the field.  It is not very Arsenal like, even for an under 18 side.

After 14 minutes Arsenal lose the ball in their own half, and Boreham Wood simply attack in numbers taking the ball into the Arsenal half.   No one makes a tackle, everyone backs off, a simple pass within the penalty area, and then it is 2-0 to Boreham Wood.  And within two minutes of the restart it is almost 3-0.  This is not a confident Arsenal team.

“Yawning gaps in the Arsenal defence,” says the commentator, and that it putting it midly.  When we do go up the other end the shot, if it comes, is snapped at.  The two Arsenal centre backs are struggling to hold the Boreham Wood attack are being torn apart, drawing otherplayers in, and thus meaning there is no width to play out.

20 minuts played and it is hard to remember a moment when Arsenal have put three passes together.  The problem is that the defence can’t cope with the the raiding forwards of Boreham Woodand even when the Wood attack breaks down Arsenal can’t play it out upfield.

26 minutes, at last Arsenal show what they can do with a quick flowing move out from the back, but the final ball went between Arsenal men, and in trying to get the ball back, an obvious foul is committed and Boreham Wood get the free kick.

But the essence of the problem is the number of times Arsenal are giving the ball away in their own half.  Interestingly Steve Bould is not on the touch line helping the players sort things out.   On the half hour Boreham Wood nearly get a third as a shot at goal is deflected and the keeper just manages to tip it over.  The resultant corner however comes to nothing.

The gap between the back four and midfield for Arsenal is significant – there is just a huge gap for the Wood to move into as the ball is pushed forward.  Unfortunately neither this, nor the ball control is improving.  On 32 minutes Arsenal get their first serious attack but it ends with a feeble shot.

And it is so strange to see a game in which Arsenal simply can’t retain possession.   I am not sure how many subs can be used but we have got John-Jules on the bench, so if there are other players with that sort of ability who can be brought on, maybe the second half will be more in keeping with what we were expecting.

And then when it is looking really tough, Arsenal get a break and push through for Matt Smith to get an Arsenal goal they have not looked like getting up to this point.   2-1 to the Wood.  And suddenly Arsenal look more like Arsenal.  But then on 43 minutes Medley gives the ball away, and Boreham Wood get a third goal – a soft shot from within the area which takes a deflection and it is 3-1.

And that’s it 3-1 at half time.  I’ll try and give a bit of coverage for the second half in 10 minutes of so.