Today was our first pre-season game, and it was a good outing for the team despite the goals conceded. The team line up included new signing Vermaelen who did look very comfortable in the centre of defence. Let’s take a look at the first XI…
Djourou – Gallas – Vermaelen – Silvestre
Rosicky – Frimpong – Randall – Wilshere
Watt – Arshavin
And that’s what you call a mix of youth and experience. And the return to the squad and starting line up of Tomas Rosicky was very much welcomed, approximately 18 months since his last competitive outing… and he played for 45 minutes and that was seriously the best news of the day without doubt. Tomas Vermaelen started along side William Gallas and it was good to see the new signing get a game. He lasted 90 minutes whereas the rest of the team were replaced after 45. From the exposure we had of him today, he certainly looks like a very accomplished defender.
A player who caught the eye, maybe more so because of the departure of Adebayor, was the teenage sensation up front that is Sanchez Watt – the star of our under 18 FA cup run last season. He looked lively up front and connected well with Arshavin. It was the duo that created and made the first goal with Watt finding space on the left and crossing an inch perfect cross to Arshavin to make it 1-0. Barnet player Yakubu equalised on the stroke of half time to make it 1-1 at half time.
The second half team saw a lot of replacements and it was more of the same… with Arsenal dominating most of the game and substitute Nacer Barazite scored a great solo goal when he tried three times to score, with the third being a curling shot past the Barnet defence. Eight minutes before time, Barnet equalised in what was deserved draw for the home side – at the end of the day, we got to give certain members of the team a good run out and that’s all that matters.
Arsene spoke after the game, and had this to say:
“Yes some good performances, we had 14 players at home but it was still a good game. Barnet gave us a good run out and for the first game it was quite good. We played basically with the Youth Cup-winning team in the second half and in the first half it was interesting because we were challenged physically. Barnet were well organized, committed and to improve our fitness it was just ideal.”
If you imagine that we’ve been without Tomas Rosicky for so long, it was absolutely great to see him in action today – if he can stay fit and reach his level before his injury, we’ve suddenly added a world class player to the squad which will prove a very useful asset throughout the season.
“Tomas hasn’t played since January 2008 so that tells you a lot. We wanted him to be our captain today because he has been frustrated for 17-18 months of football. It’s fantastic to see him back with us.”
There were quite a few people missing from the squad so from the middle of next week we will have more of the team joining us… overall, a good outing – good to see so many kids as well as the return of a certain Tomas Rosicky.