Sunday, 18 July 2010

A win for Arsenal means the real football is back

Barnet 0 - Arsenal 4

First half: Fabianski, Nordtveit, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Traore, Rosicky(C), Frimpong, Wilshere, Emmanuel-Thomas, Simpson, Arshavin.
Second half: Mannone (Sub: 68 Szczesny), Eastmond, Djourou, Miquel, Gibbs, Nasri(C), Henderson, Lansbury, Walcott, Chamakh, Barazite.
Goals: Arshavin(2), Simpson(16), Simpson(45), Nasri(75).
Attendance: 5,701

It was a stroll in the park for Arsenal, and so it ought to have been. Barnet are a League two side and with the greatest respect, Arsenal's reserves should win here comfortably.

But this type of game is where it's all about fitness and making sure you're not too rusty after spending a few  weeks relaxing on the beach, not thinking about football or training at all. Goals are obviously important to. They keep the crowd happy and boost the players confidence.

As ever our traditional pre-season opener gave Arsenal fans the chance to run the rule over Arsene Wenger's summer signings. Both Laurent Koscielny and Marouane Chamakh were on show yesterday and put in decent performances.

It didn't take long for Arsenal to find their rhythm. Within 90 second the ball was in the back of the net. Andrey Arshavin the goal scorer.

The Russian came in from the left and picked out Tomas Rosicky on the right hand-side of the Barnet penalty area.

The pair played two neat one-twos, the second of which split the defence, allowing Arshavin to glide through, dummy the keeper into driving the wrong way and tap the ball into the back of the net.

Those who travelled to Underhill and watching online didn't have to wait long for the second.

A Jay Emmanuel-Thomas tackle just inside the Barnet half on the left started the move. He played the ball wide to Arshavin who carried the ball forward. At the edge of the area, the Russian passed back to Emmanuel-Thomas who in turn crossed the ball along the ground for Jay Simpson waiting in the area.

Simpson's shot was blocked and the ball fell to Jack Wilshere inside the penalty area on the right. He came inside, dropped his shoulder and found Simpson waiting 12-yards out to fire the ball home with a right foot shot.

Arsenal had the dominance in this game, set up by the early goal, but also by good work from Emmanuel Frimpong in the centre of midfield.

The youngster harried the Barnet midfield and won the ball back well, quickly turning play to attack with his good passing. I was impressed by the Ghanaian. He showed fight and good strength in his role as the midfield anchor.

The third goal of the half fell to Simpson again. He is always in the right place at the right time it seems.

Arshavin motored down the left hand-side - he does run when he needs to - Jack Wilshere made a run from right to left across the box and Arshavin found him with a perfect pass.

The young midfielder drilled the cross along the ground to Simpson to tap home left footed.

The first half team looked solid. There wasn't much defensively to do and we were able to deal everything Barnet threw at us. Armand Traore was good going forward but still worries me defensively. That is a side of his game which he really needs work on.

Laurent Koscielny alongside Thomas Vermaelen looked fine. One pass forward when straight out of play but on only one performance you can't judge him. He seemed to be the one of the two who was playing the recovery player.

Vermaelen would go towards the ball and if anything broke from that challenge, Koscielny would sweep up any trouble. He does look a bit light weight, but I'm not too troubled by that.

We've got several more games to analyze his performances before the start of the season.

The second half wasn't as busy as the first. That was mainly down to Barnet changing their line up and having more of a presence in midfield.

Arsene rang the changes. Eleven fresh players for the second period allowed us to see Marouane Chamakh for the first time in Arsenal colours.

He looked positive in his approach but had few opportunities on goal. His style will certainly fit in at Arsenal. He was able to hold the ball up and distribute it well to his team mates.

Theo Walcott had a good half. Showing excellent touches on the right. Running at pace and passing and crossing well. He didn't stick to the right hand touch line, and drifted inside considerably. He looked dangerous and determined.

If we have gained something from Theo not being selected for England's World Cup squad, it is a player who has something to prove and will be determined to put his career back on track.

The second half goal, came courtesy of Samir Nasri. The Frenchman followed up a pass backwards towards  a Barnet defender. The ball bounded awkwardly for the defender, and he then stepped on it, then fell backwards.

Nasri pounced on this and took the ball away, dummying the keeper with a delayed shot and striking the ball right footed into the back of the net.

A good run out for all twenty three players. The next game is in Austria on Wednesday at 18:00(BST).

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