The women’s euros
- The women’s Euros: what we learned from the second round of games?
- The Women’s Euros, what have we learned from the opening round?
Arsenal started out with:
Cedric, Saliba, Gabriel, Tavares;
Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli;
On the beach… Okonkwo, Bellerin, Mari, Walters, Holding, Elneny, Maitland-Niles, Lokonga, Torreira, Pepe, Nelson, Balogun, Nketiah. Reuell Walters is a 17-year-old defender,
Second half changes involved Rob Holding, Mohamed Elneny, Hector Bellerin, Nicolas Pepe, Eddie Nketiah and Ainsley Maitland-Niles all coming on. Arsenal also changed the system in the defence with a three man line up across the back.
Then on 70 minutes on came Lokonga, Mari, Nelson, and Walters while off went Xhaka, Gabriel, Martinelli and Saliba.
Smith Rowe was once again not in the squad and is said to be struggling with an injury.
But Saliba was on from the start, Jesus scored again, and Everton looked to be continuing their off-form approach that we saw for a lot of last season. Although to be fair to them this was their first pre-season game, so Arsenal had the advantage in that regard.
Arsenal had mulitple chances and could have been ahead before getting a corner on 32 minutes. The Everton defence looked disorganised and the keeper coming off the line at the wrong moment allowing Jesus to score.
Within moments Saka made it 2-0 picking up a ball from Jesus.
In the second half Everton changed it around totally and included in their lineup Alex Iwobi who may well still be wondering why he ever left London. Everton improved and Arsenal tried out a back five. Reuell Walters, came on with 20 minutes to go, and Arsenal regained their dominance.
So with multiple changes it was a pre-season friendly in every sense of the phrase, but still, all games are there to be won and that is exactly what we did.
There is a longer video of the game on Arsenal.com
We might at this stage also compare how things are going with Arsenal’s pre-season in July and August last summer.
In 2021 there were six pre-season games. The run started with two in Scotland – a 2-1 win over Hibernian and a 2-2 draw with Rangers. After that came two 4-1 victories, against Millwall and Watford, and then the two home defeats that made us realise that illness and injury was having an effect.
Those two games were a 1-2 home defeat to Chelsea and a 1-0 away defeat to Tottenham. And those as we may recall really were the shape of things to come with defeats to Brentford, Chelsa and Manchester City in the opening three league matches.
Two things were learned from that. One was that the first three games of a season tell us nothing about the remaining 35 league games, a series which saw Arsenal perform as the third best club in the league behind only Manchester City and Liverpool. It was rather funny how the media concentrated on the first three, but not on the remaining 35. It was statistics all the way in terms of the first three, everyone trying to out do everyone else over just how many centuries it was since Arsenal lost the first three. After that the media rather lost interest.
The other was that pre-season really can tell you something about what is going on in the club. Which makes the match in the early hours somewhat more interesting than it is being treated by the media.