Pre-season has finally started as Arsenal went on to win 2-0 against Sydney FC in what was a comfortable outing for Arsenal. The starting team for this game was: Petr Cech, Krystian Bielik, Per Mertesacker, Sead Kolasinac, Francis Coquelin, Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson, Cohen Bramall, Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck.
We got off to a great start in the game as Per Mertesacker marked the beginning of his last playing season with a goal. After Sydney failed to deal with a Mesut Ozil corner the BFG neatly tucked the ball home from inside the six yard box to make it 1-0 after four minutes.
The period after the goal wasn’t as action packed as the first 5 minutes of the game but it was clear to see the benefits of the 3-4-3 formation that was used. When out of possession everyone closed down spaces well forcing Sydney to play the ball long and having enough width to dominate going forward.
Just after the hour an hour mark Sydney had their first chance of the match. After breaking into the box Brillante’s shot was tipped across the goal by Petr Cech, the ball was met by Simon who could only hit the post.
For our first half of football that was very encouraging indeed. One player who impressed in that first half was Reiss Nelson, a very well-known prospect in the club he showed just why he’s on this tour, playing at right wing back which isn’t his position he looked very natural there gliding past players, picking out great passes and showing his great touch to set Arsenal twitter alight.
Joe Willock also impressed in midfield sniffing out danger as well as making good forward runs and almost grabbing a goal for himself. With his brother Chris now at Benfica he looks like a man on a mission to make a name for the Willock footballing family at Arsenal.
Surprisingly there weren’t many changes at half time for Arsenal as Emi Martinez replaced Cech so the fans had to wait a bit longer to see their new signing Alexandre Lacazette.
A couple of minutes into the second half and we had a couple more opportunities to score, Nelson involved in both. The first came as Ozil used that 360 vision of his to somehow find Nelson in space on the far side of the box but unfortunately he couldn’t take advantage of the chance.
Nelson was then creating chances as burst into the Sydney box before back heeling the ball into the path of Theo Walcott.
It was fair to say Walcott didn’t have the best of games as about ten minutes into the half he struck the ball onto the back of Ryall who was protecting the open Sydney goal but thanks to the mistake of the referee we were given a penalty for a handball that never happened. After discussions with the Sydney players Danny Welbeck stepped up and had his penalty saved, in all fairness he didn’t seem like he wanted to score knowing it shouldn’t have been a penalty.
68 minutes and we had a mass change as Arsene Wenger switched almost the whole squad bringing on Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Mohamed Elneny, Nacho Monreal, Alex Iwobi, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Granit Xhaka, Donyell Malen, Alexandre Lacazette, Olivier Giroud, Eddie Nketiah.
Shortly after the switch Arsenal hit the woodwork through yet another impressing youngster. A Granit Xhaka corner found its way into the box uninterrupted which saw Eddie Nketiah side foot the ball onto the post unfortunately.
It only took 15 minutes to happen but it did happen. Alex Iwobi was set free down the right wing and cut the ball back into the box and who was there running onto the ball? The main man, Alexandre Lacazette, all he needed was that one touch to fire the ball past Redmayne in the Sydney goal to send Arsenal fans everywhere mad.
In injury time we were lucky that Martinez kept his concentration levels high as he quickly reacted to a poor Mohamed Elneny back pass to keep the ball out of the Arsenal goal.
Let’s hope we can follow up this winning start against Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday, until then have a great time.