Sunday, 8 August 2010

Legia Warsaw smash five past Arsenal but the Gunners win in Poland

Legia Warsaw 5 - Arsenal 6

First half: Fabianski, Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Clichy, Nasri, Frimpong, Wilshere, Walcott, Chamakh, Rosicky
Second half: Fabianski [Szczesny - 46], Sagna [Nordtveit - 79], Vermaelen, Koscielny, Clichy, Nasri, Frimpong [Gibbs - 46], Wilshere [Lansbury -72], Walcott [Eboue - 46], Chamakh [Emmanuel-Thomas - 72], Rosicky [Vela - 45]
Goals conceded: first, second, third, fourth, fifth

Eleven goals might be good for a crowd to see in pre-season, but lets hope the five goals conceded by Arsenal here give the manager food for thought over the next seven days.

Arsenal's defending was woeful for most of the 90 minutes. If this game proves anything, it would suggest to me at least we need to strengthen our central defence and replace one of our goalkeepers.

For the returning Lucasz Fabianski, this could be the telling performance which gives Manual Almunia the number one jersey for Anfield next weekend.

To be fair to the Pole, he could do little to prevent a wonder strike from outside the box rocketing into his top left hand corner.

Neither of his central defenders, Vermaelen and Koscielny, closed down the man with the ball. The midfield pairing of Frimpong  and Wilshere were no where to be seen and when the strike came in my first reaction was 'what a goal!'.

However the player should never had been allowed to take the strike.

The second goal however is where the goalkeeper was at fault.

Yes, he had a crowd of players around him. But that was no excuse for not taking charge of the situation.

As the ball came in from the corner, the goalkeeper made an attempt to reach it, either to punch or catch the ball. We'll never know his intentions as he never reached it, tripping over Thomas Vermaelen's leg.

The ball comes back across the goal and is turned in by Koscielny.

And the third, more woeful defending is evident.

Another corner sees the ball passed to a Legia player standing outside the box. He whips in a cross, Rosicky misses his clearance and it falls to a player standing behind him. It's played inside and the Legia player strikes the ball high into the roof of the next inside Fabianski's near post.

Arsenal 3-0 down with 36 minutes gone. 

The comeback started before the break. Chamakh holds the ball up well in the centre with considerable pressure around him, plays the ball to Nasri on the left.

He jinxes inside the box, plays a right foot cross in and Chamakh is on the end of it with his head as the keeper comes rushing out.

Brave play from our new striker.

The first 45 minutes were poor from an Arsenal point of view. We could not impose our game on the opposition. Frimpong and Wilshere were light in midfield. They couldn't cope with the Legia players. Walcott was anonymos - a passenger we can't afford when we need an outlet. 

Half time came and Arsene brought on Szczesny, Gibbs and Eboue for Fabianski, Frimpong and Walcott.

The new Pole in goal was called into action quickly. He made a great double save from close range.

That was Arsenal's cue to go on the attack.

Emmanuel Eboue headed home from a Carlos Vela free kick. And then the man from Ivory Coast added his second to equalise.

Played through by Jack Wilshere after the young Englishman had chased the ball down, Eboue drove into the box, dummied the keeper and smashed his shot into the top right hand corner.

Kieran Gibbs added the fourth, with a delightful chipped shot.

Legia drew level again after casual defending. But Arsenal weren't finished.

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas put the Gunners back in front with a nice turn of pace and left foot shot and then our player of pre-season  Samir Nasri added a sixth from a free kick inside the D. The Legia keeper should have done better as the ball went right through him.

There was time for Legia to add their fifth though and in the 90th minute more casual defending allowed their player to sneak into the six yard box and put the ball in the back of our net.

Not our finest our defence wise. And certainly something Arsene will need to look at over the next seven days.

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