Barnet 0-4 Arsenal: Perfect start, even if it’s only pre-season.

I’m sure we’ve all been looking forward to this day, ever since the final whistle went at the last game against Fulham, all those months ago. Arsenal are back at last, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s missed them dearly!

So it was our usual pre-season curtain-raiser against Barnet, and the original squad list for the trip included:

Almunia (GK), Arshavin, Nacer Barazite, Chamakh, Djourou, Craig Eastmond, Eduardo, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Fabianski (GK), Emmanuel Frimpong, Kieran Gibbs, Conor Henderson,  Laurent Koscielny, Henri Lansbury, Ignasi Miquel, Nasri, Havard Nordtveit, Rosicky, Traore, Vermaelen, Walcott and Wilshere.

But thanks to an apparently genuine injury to Almunia, he was replaced by both Vito Mannone and Wojciech Szczesny, and for reasons unknown to me, Eduardo wasn’t part of the team that travelled down, and was replaced by Jay Simpson. Make of that, whatever you will.

Anyways, kick-off was delayed by 10 minutes, and the 11 that took to the field in the first half were:

Fabianski

Nordtveit     Vermaelen     Koscielny     Traore

Frimpong     Rosicky     Wilshere

Arshavin     Jay Simpson     Jay Emmanuel-Thomas

Rosicky was our stand-in captain, and there was the opportunity to get a first look at new signing, Laurent Koscielny, and youngsters like Simpson, Frimpong and J.E.T. We got off to the best start really, scoring a goal inside 2 minutes, settling any nerves that there might have been. Lovely inter-play between Arshavin and Rosicky on the edge of the box, and with the ‘keeper falling for his dummy, Arshavin had the simple task of rounding the ‘keeper and scoring. Fabulous start! And two minutes later, J.E.T. hit a shot from outside the box which the ‘keeper did well to punch clear.

The second goal came shortly after with 16 minutes on the clock, after some lovely build up play, with Wilshere  teasing, before feeding Jay Simpson to slot past the ‘keeper into the bottom right corner. Vermaelen then had an effort cleared off the line. A few more chances in the first half, with Arshavin curling a beauty from just inside the box on the right, onto the crossbar with the ‘keeper beaten. Great effort.

Fabianski had a free ride really, and just before half time, Simpson added a third, his second, Wilshere again with the assist. It was a counter-attack goal, with Arshavin starting it down the right, feeding Wilshere who squared to Simpson for an easy tap-in.

Second half as expected, saw the 11 changed, so the new line-up was:

Mannone

Ignasi Miquel     Djourou     Gibbs Craig Eastmond

Nasri     Conor Henderson     Henri Lansbury

Nacer Barazite     Walcott     Chamakh

Opportunity to see Chamakh especially, in action for the first time (in an Arsenal shirt). Theo had a great chance to make it four, after a quick burst down the middle, but his chip was only just saved by the ‘keeper. Chamakh had the chance to score his first Arsenal goal, after Barazite (I think it was)’s delightful ball over the top from the left hand side found Theo, who played in Chamakh, but his effort was saved by the ‘keeper. The second half was largely uneventful, but Nasri added the fourth after a mistake by a defender let him in, and with only the ‘keeper to beat, his finish was composed. A few more half chances, Theo threatening as usual with his pace, but we’d done enough anyways, and with everyone (including all 2 ‘keepers) getting a run out, it was just what the doctor ordered.

It’s hard judging the players who played, it being just the first game back, so taking negatives from it would be pointless, but there were a few positives to take from it. J.E.T looks a really good player, and his physical strength is impressive, and he’s not shy to use it. It seems Jack loan spell was beneficial as he looks a better player and he set up two of the goals. Simpson was impressive, scoring twice. Nice to see Rosicky play45 minutes, and I really hope his season doesn’t get curtailed again by injuries. Oh, another positive, none of the players picked up any injuries, it seems, which is a great start! It’s too early to judge the likes of Chamakh and Koscielny, it being just their first game. Theo seems to have beefed up and I was struggling to recognise him a few times, but maybe it’s just the new kit (which is fabulous, by the way)! Still needs to work on his final ball, but give him a break, it’s just the first game back!

A few more pre-season matches will probably give us an idea as to which players one would expect to be definites in the first team, and those who might need to go on loan, but we do have a strong squad, that’s for sure. Arsene said he’s still on the look-out for a goalkeeper, so hopefully we’ll be getting one or two more signings before the transfer window closes- a goalkeeper and defender, hopefully.

As for expectations from the new season, not sure I can handle anything other than a top 2 finish, which 1st being the priority, ofcourse. There haven’t been any high profile departures in any of the top clubs (yet), but neither have there been any high profile additions (except Manchester City as usual), but one would expect teams to be stronger than they were last season, including ours, especially with the addition of Chamakh and with it looking like Cesc is staying.

Hopefully when the first round of league games are over, we’d have established ourselves as real contenders. The Liverpool games is really massive, as a win serves as a marker to others, and ourselves! As usual, the Carling Cup and FA Cup will be taken as seriously as we can, if we can bag one of them, that’ll be great! I’ll wait until the Champions League draw is out, before getting my hopes high, but hopefully we’ll do better than we did last season.

But anyways, let’s enjoy pre-season without any downers, before the really serious stuff begins. I for one, can’t wait to see Arsene back on the touchline- I’ve missed his dramatics! Hopefully it’s mainly positive reactions this season!

Welcome back, Arsenal! :)

  • Gunnersaurus

    I watched the match and I enjoyed reading this account of the game. However, it is ambitious at present to aim for a top 2 finish. I agree we are a club with ambition and great quality, but last season showed that we have frailties within our team, notably in defence. If we don’t sign a new keeper we’ll be lucky to finish in the top 3. If we buy Jagielka or somebody of equal class and then get a decent keeper I believe we have the potential to win the league and can mount a serious title challenge. We should get rid of William Gallas, as he upsets the harmony in the squad, but I think that Sol proved his worth to wear the shirt last season and should be rewarded with an extension on his contract. I for one (as you’ll all be) am sick of all the Barcelona players’ rants about Cesc leaving and they have zero respect for the club. I read today that Puyol said he has ‘just spent six weeks with him (Cesc) and there is only one club he wants to be at’ (Sky Sports News). However, it looks as though he is staying (touch wood), so let’s hope we get to see him kiss the badge next season and furthermore let’s hope Arsene uses some of the money he has at his disposal to buy players that can comfortably fit into the squad and lead us to success in major competitions.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    We had a bid turned down for jagielka i think for 14m and we are planning to up that to 16m. I think that would be a good purchase mr wenger… Get it done.

  • vj

    16mil for phil, he is a quality centre back that would be awsome, plus swhazer now no deal

  • ny

    Reason for Eduardo’s absence? He is going to Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukrain).

  • Gooner Get Ya

    boooo i love Eduardo, gutted he may be leaving!!

  • vj

    joe cole future to be decided soon, liverpool recetly come out as favorites to sign him, arsenal seemed to have dropped out, rumors also circling that we are going to make an improved offer for jagielka

  • CON-MAN

    surprised sanchez watt didnt play i want to see more of what he can do

  • GLONDON

    Good to see Eddy leave – I love the guy but after that dickhead taylor broke his leg – he wasnever the same…i was hoping he’d be sent out on loan to gain some confience back – i remember a time when he was in front of goal you knew h’d score.

  • Yemi

    Good post debs,
    Nice start for the lads (as usual),
    Hmmm on edu, i can’t really say !!! The poor lad needs a run of games to get back in full form and i doubt if we can give him that……..
    OK, Jagielka won’t be a bad addition but No No No to shwarzer. I would prefer Joe hart or Vincent enyeama (Who arsene almost signed sometime ago and who was outstanding in the world cup)

  • CON-MAN

    also to say if eduardo does leave i will be gutted. if he hadnt suffered that injury at birmingham he would of been phenomenal-he had just hit a good run of form several games prior to that.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Joe Cole has signed a four year deal with Liverpool. Not bad signing for them, Benayoun out Joe Cole in…I know which one I prefer.

  • Goonerman

    obviously we all wold of takrn joe cole on a free contract but to be honest i anm not bothered in the slightest, but im pretty sure the spuds will be crying themselves to sleep tonight as im sure they finally thought they could get the big named players.

    also no disprespect to joe cole but i do reckon his move was more for money than anything else whatever he says, totteham could not offer his wage demands and i dont think we would of offered him a four year contract but im more than happy with nasri and arshavin!

  • http://worldofarsenal John

    I feel the lines above are a bit off….
    Fabianski
    Nordtveit Vermaelen Koscielny Traore
    Frimpong Jay Emmanuel-Thomas
    Wilshere
    Rosicky Jay Simpson Arshavin

    The second half
    Mannone

    Eastmond Ignasi Miquel Djourou Gibbs

    Lansbury Nasri Henderson Barazite

    Walcott Chamakh