Arsenal Win Kos Of Eis, Goals And Alex
The Far East tour got off to a winning start, completing a good day for Arsenal.
Barely had the print dried on the morning’s blogs when the club confirmed that Laurent Koscielny had secured his transfer to Barcelona next summer by signing a new four year deal with Arsenal. Crucially part of the negotiatons included a medical examination which confirmed his Catalan DNA, clearing the way for a move at the end of the coming campaign.
There can be no argument about securing Kos’ future, he was THE outstanding defender in a much-maligned back twelve, a consistent performer in what was a season best forgotten defensively at least. Should he show the same improvement this season, there is no doubt he will be confirmed as another Wenger ‘gem’, if he has not already merited such status.
The only black cloud came with the FA charging Emmanuel Frimpong over an apparent Twitter spat following abuse received from a Tottenham fan. Only Frimpong knows whether or not the comment he made was racially motivated but that seems unlikely; that is no excuse either but getting involved in the first place was questionable judgement. He must have seen the aggravation which fellow professionals rise above, begging the question as to why he reacted.
Player interaction is welcomed in an era when they are more distant from the ‘ordinary man’ than previously but it comes with a caveat; too many keyboard warriors exist and rarely waste the opportunity to entice a reactionary response. The incident exemplifies why O2 are withdrawing their support from football although quite what traditional values blood capsules, tawdry affairs and gouging in rugby uphold is yet to be fully explained.
So back to the tour match. It was a hotch-potch side fielded at kick-off, a mixture of youth and experience. In terms of the performance and result, they are insignificant. The match was the first of pre-season for many, certainly for the players who are reasonably expected to play in the majority of fixtures this season. As such, what should be expected? Not a lot and on a pitch which would be shamed by Hackney Marshes, avoiding injury certainly is a bonus.
The goal conceded contained lessons; yes, it was well-struck and a cracking shot at that. But why did Arsenal back off to allow Azmi Muslim to have a free shot at goal? It was a basic error and one I am sure that it will be something not lost on the coaching staff. However, to place too much emphasis on it is as much of a sin; getting the message home will not be hard given that a goal was conceded as a result of the backing off. That point was not lost on the manager who noted post-match that there was tactical work as well as physical conditioning to be completed,
We are far away physically and tactically we still have some work to do. Technically it was not bad considering because the pitch was not easy and the pace of Malaysia was quite good.
Overall we still have some tactical work to do and some physical work but don’t forget that some players have only had two or three days training. Some others have only had a maximum of seven or eight so physically we are far from what we can produce.
If it is a mistake which is repeated in future tour matches, then yes, there are grounds for concern.
Both sides had ample opportunities to score more and perhaps should have. Aneke and Afobe were lively whilst Thomas Eisfeld’s run in creating the equaliser was another promising step. The experience of watching the ball constantly fly over his head at Euro2012 does not appear to have done Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain any harm. The left side was an interesting experiment with Gibbs and Santos; I know Wenger has used the Brazilian in a more advanced role before and it does seem to give a more sturdy look to that area of the pitch. If Santos had a right leg that was used for anything other than stopping him running round in an ever-decreasing circle, he might have grabbed a couple. Gervinho and Diaby put in useful shifts which given the former’s apparent loss of confidence post-ACN is good whilst anything from the latter that has not resulted in injury has to be considered a bonus.
As the squad moved to Bejing ahead of Friday’s meeting with Manchester City, Arsène has set a deadline of August 18th for any deal to be concluded with Robin van Pursestring‘s sale; whether the Powers That Be will agree to that is an altogether different matter. Santi Cazorla will be the subject of a bid of £16m plus the entire back catalogue of Earth Wind and Fire, all duly signed, as an inducement. The Spaniard apparently likes the idea of having his wages paid on time.