Emirates Cup Day 1 - 5 Things we've learned...

Discussion in 'Personal Articles' started by asajoseph, Aug 2, 2009.

  1. asajoseph

    asajoseph New Member Elite

    Now that I've just about managed to sweat out the beers I've been drinking this afternoon (in the rain, mostly), it's perhaps time to cast an analytical eye back on the first day's live football that most fans would have been able to witness this season. The Emirates Cup is not exactly the most competitive fixture of the season, but it's a step up from the likes of Barnet, SC Colombia and Szombathelyi H, and usually sees the manager begin to cut out the experiments, and bed down players, tactics and formations that he's got in mind for the coming season. No sign of Senderos in midfield today, and not a Silvestre in sight, but instead we saw 17 players who will almost all feature largely in the first team squad in the upcoming campaign. So, without further ado, 5 thoughts from my first day of live football of 2009/10:

    1 - Completely un-Arsenal related, but my God, was PSG vs Rangers a dull game or what!?! Two years ago, when I first saw Paris Saint Germain in the Emirates cup, they were a big, strong, technical and fast side, with physicality and flair to burn. The outfit I saw today were flat, un-inventive, and had absolutely no pace about their game whatsoever. A couple of moments from Jerome Rothen aside, they seemed very short of quality, and only perhaps Loris Arnaud looking like he had any real class going forward. Being dominated by a team with Pedro Mendes in the engine room must surely be about as damning as it gets. Rangers too weren't much better - Kris Boyd looks like he belongs in the 80's, though Steven Naismith had some touches to suggest that a trial at Arsenal a few years ago was not entirely undeserved.

    Perhaps it is a sign that the Emirates Cup is not quite as attractive a pre-season proposition as it once was, but Arsenal need to draw some better quality next year, or lower the ticket prices back to 2008 levels.

    2 - Some things have not really moved on at all from last season. Eboue still has the ability to take a few nice touches, and then have his brain turn into a mouldy sponge the second he gets into the final third. Denilson is still a very pedestrian passer of the ball, and somewhat devoid of vision. Coaching defensive corners is obviously still something beneath the intricate sciences of Arsène Wenger. Arsenal are still capable of giving away a lead right in the last few minutes.

    Yup, it certainly was a game that reminded me of just what we've been able to expect from Arsenal over the last couple of seasons.

    3 - A three-pronged attack looks like it might be an effective way of getting around a lack of reliable goal-scorers next season. Names like Ronaldo, Henry, Drogba, Lampard, Van Nistelrooy, Pires - successful teams almost always seem to have one or two players who seem to be able to score consistently for them, week-in, week-out, fuelling a title challenge over the course of a 10 month season, being someone who will put the ball in the back of the net come rain, shine, or a dirty Sam Allardyce defence.

    Two years ago, our title challenge was propelled largely by Emmanuel Adebayor's knack of scoring regular goals. We didn't make it all the way through, but a valuable lesson was learned - scoring one or two goals consistently is more important than scoring three or four occasionally.

    Right now, it's hard to see a consistent goalscorer in the Arsenal side. Eduardo is the only player who's been consistently prolific in the past, though that was in the Croatian league, but the group of Bendtner, Van Persie, Rosicky, Walcott, Vela and even Arshavin might not include a name that is going to carry the goalscoring responsibility single handed for months on end. Having three of those players on the pitch at once, on the other hand, as we look set to this season, could be a very exciting prospect nonetheless, more than capable of sharing the fun around.

    4 - Jack Wilshere is the most ludicrously gifted English footballer since Gazza. Even at 18, he is already exceptional at so many areas of the game, and, whilst he is by no means the finished article, he looks more than ready to make an impact in the coming season. He's already a multi-faceted player: his skill and close control are comfortably good enough to see him past a marker; his vision in possession and ability to pick out a man looks like it belongs to a man 5 years older; not something we saw today, but we also know he has a superb shot on him, relying not on power but spin and guile to beat a goalkeeper.

    He will need to improve his work-rate, and he is alarmingly small still, however it's now almost impossible to imagine him not becoming a superstar in the next few years.

    5 - We're deeper than many think. In attack, we have (to my count) 9 players who can occupy the front 3 spots extremely effectively. In defence, even without new boy Thomas Vermaelen, Manuel Almunia, and a half-fit Gael Clichy, we managed to keep one of La Liga's most exciting attacking outfits extremely quiet. Djourou did a great job on Aguero today, whilst Forlan hardly had a sniff on goal.

    The big issue for me remains midfield. Diaby and Denilson are of highly questionable quality, and with Nasri out for a few weeks with a broken leg, how we're going to find a capable set of central midfielders to form the dynamic unit we're going to need next season remains highly up for question.

    So that's it. A few things didn't quite make the cut, like my indecision as to whether or not I should have booed Jose Antonio Reyes along with the rest of the crowd, or my distaste for ridiculous Mexican waves (seriously, next time just go to the circus), but there's plenty more time for that tomorrow, after we've no doubt hammered Rangers and re-gained our own trophy (as if anyone will have the cheek to take it from us?!?). But a positive performance today, even in the rain, and a good result to take forward for the last couple of warm-up games.

    Still some obvious work for the manager to get through, but certainly a positive day today at the Grove.
  2. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Great article Asa, I've posted it on the main site.

    <a class="postlink" href="http://arsenal-mania.com/articles/3107120/Emirates-Cup-Day-One-5-Things-weve-learned.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://arsenal-mania.com/articles/31071 ... arned.html</a>

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