The team that started was: Manuel Almunia, Justin Hoyte, Gavin Hoyte, Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy, Jack Wilshere, Denilson, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Nicklas Bendtner, Carlos Vela.
This was our first chance to see Vela and he had a decent game up front. It was obvious that he wasn't 100% match fit. He had some good moments, good touches, good runs, but lacked sharpness. I can't judge Vela on this game, but I'm sure there is more to come from him. He had a few good chances but failed to take advantage.
The game started with Bendtner and Vela up front which pushed out Walcott to the right. Bendtner looked good and has a big presence about himself. The one player who caught my eye for the second game running was the 16 year old Jack Wilshere. Deployed on the left hand side of midfield, his inventive play was years ahead of his age, his dummies, his dribbling and his creativity was a real ray of sunshine. Believe me, this kid will be the real deal.
In the centre we saw Denilson and Ramsey combine together for the second game in a row and Denilson is obviously a candidate for the defensive midfield position in Arsene's eyes. Ramsey was deployed in the centre and it's a position that Arsene says he sees him in long term. His play was good, tidy and effective. Again, a player that looks ahead of his age but still raw in some areas.
At the back we saw Sagna and Clichy on the wings. As they both missed the Euros, it was all about match fitness for them too. Gavin and brother Justin Hoyte were deployed in the centre of defence.
The game started well with Arsenal dominating the early exchanges. By the 15th minute though, the home side had started to get into it more and were showing that they posed a danger. As the hald went on, Szombathelyi became more confident and that's definitely a good thing to make these boys step it up a level. Good passing from Wilshere, Denilson and Ramsey created many chances. Walcott deployed on the right wing showing a few classy touches and bursts of pace.
It wasn't a real shock when Szombathelyi went ahead, albeit against the run of play, but a good move, a lob and despite young Hoyte's efforts of a goal line clearance, the goal stood and it was 1-0 to Szombathelyi.
Szombathelyi 1 – 0 Arsenal
The goal kicked us back into action and it wasn’t long before we scored our equaliser. The minutes ticked down and it looked like we’d go in 1-0, but then a moment of magic, combined with a longish ball and a good take down by Bendtner. The big dane took the ball down straight out of the air in one move and passed it in another move…. straight to the feet of the onrushing Walcott, who tucked it away Henryesque passed a defender and the goalkeeper.
Szombathelyi 1 - 1 Arsenal
Half time soon approached, and no doubt, a good half for the youngsters.
The second half saw the introduction of Vito Mannone, Armand Traore, Mark Randall, Henri Lansbury in place of Manuel Almunia, Gavin Hoyte, Aaron Ramsey, Carlos Vela.
The second half was more of the same, with the teams evenly matched, but Arsenal with more possession. Henri Lansbury played well throughout the second half and he can’t be too far away from the first team either. Francis Coquelin and Jay Simpson came on on the 62nd minute for Nicklas Bendtner and the impressive Jack Wilshere and both very good substitutes, with the young Frenchman particularly strong in midfield.
The game ended 1-1 and it was definitely a good run out for the team.
Nasri hails “immense club”
So, let’s take a look at a few other news stories floating around today. Young Samir Nasri has been busy being excited, which is awesome to hear. He’s been training with the team and has met his new team mates, albeit yet to make an appearance. He should make his debut against Stuttgart next Wednesday.
The Frenchman said:
“I’m so excited. I’m discovering my new team-mates. But I’m not lost at all, with all those Frenchmen. Today I’m very happy to be a Gunner. I have joined an immense club where there’s everything to achieve great things. I’m delighted to be part of this new adventure. Arsenal are a reference point.”
Not sure what he means about a reference point, maybe he means it’s indicative of his career and performances so far. He’s also taken some time out to praise Arsene Wenger:
“He’s been decisive. He represents stability and continuity. We understand we can work on the long term with him. I think he’s been at Arsenal for 13 years. It means the world. I was looking for that kind of guarantee to advance my career. I didn’t want to go to a club, even a legendary one, where everything could change from one day to another. I know Arsene Wenger’s going to help me improve. He has had a lot of success with other French players, especially youngsters he helped blossom.”
It’s called loyalty, and I hope Samir takes it on board. But he’s right, there is stability and ambition and I’m sure Samir will revel in his opportunity.
Productive day today.