Arsenal continued their winning ways as they hit three in 15 minutes in their 2nd pre-season game. Playing in the classical red of Arsenal the starting 11 for this game was David Ospina, Laurent Koscielny, Mohamed Elneny, Nacho Monreal, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Alex Iwobi, Alexandre Lacazette and Olivier Giroud, again playing in a 3-4-2-1 formation.
We only had to wait a couple of minutes to get off our seats as the team started very quickly. We may not have scored but after receiving the ball from Maitland-Niles on the edge of the box, Lacaztte showed great composure as he turned expertly before beating another couple of players and then getting a shot on target.
The first half an hour would see Arsenal control the game as you’d expect, Ramsey was doing well in the centre of midfield to move Arsenal forward as did The Ox down the right hand side but we couldn’t make the possession count.
Western Sydney did have a spell putting the pressure on Arsenal but luckily the quick thinking of David Ospina at the back got us out of trouble.
33 minutes into the game and after battling with the Western Sydney defence Giroud got us off the mark. After a nice one-two with Lacazette, Monreal bombed forward from his left centre back position and finding himself at the byline he cut the ball back for Giroud who in true Giroud fashion superbly clipped the ball into the roof of the net.
4 minutes layer and we doubled our lead. Ramsey made yet another forward run off the ball and was finally found by Nacho Monreal with a long ball over the opposition defence for his second assist of the game. Ramsey only needed one touch with his left foot to lift the ball over Janjetovic in the Western Sydney goal.
Just before the break and we got our 3rd of the game. After a corner not being dealt with the ball was played to Elneny on the edge of the box who hit it first time into the back of the net with the help of a deflection, but the initial shot was on target anyway.
Like Thursday there was only one change at half time which saw Emi Martinez come on for David Ospina.
A couple minutes into this half and the fans were off their seats again. Picking up the ball from a Ramsey back heel inside our half and then driving by and tricking three defenders into getting an Arsenal corner. The resulting corner then saw the ball come to Elneny again outside the box who this time hit a much better shot from range which unfortunately only met the crossbar.
10 minutes into the second half and there was chaos inside the Arsenal box. A Clisby shot from the edge of the box ballooned off the crossbar and with the ball pinballing all over the place Ramsey then passed the ball back to Martinez meaning Western Sydney were given an indirect free kick 6 yards from goal. After bouncing his first shot off an Arsenal player Lustica stuck the rebound home to make it 3-1.
65 minutes in and we got our subs on. Like in the first game all outfield players were swapped seeing these guys come on: Krystian Bielik, Per Mertesacker, Sead Kolasinac, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, Francis Coquelin, Eddie Nketiah, Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck.
The next real chance for us came six minutes from time. A free kick just outside the box after Joe Willock drew a foul was stood over by Ozil, a calm run up saw the German clip the ball over the wall which just curved onto the post rather than into the goal.
The game would finish 3-1 but of the guys that came on in the second half the players that stuck out for me were Krystian Bielik and Eddie Nketiah. Bielik filled into the defence again and even though he wasn’t troubled much by opposition forwards he showed just why he’s at Arsenal by spraying various accurate long passes across the pitch. Nketiah came on as a wing back but it was clear to see his striker’s instinct as he got quite a few shots off and hit the post for the second game running.
That brings an end to the Australian leg of Arsenal’s pre-season tour so we’ll see you again in a few days when Arsenal face Bayern in China, hopefully it’s not as bad as last time.