More football to feast on! And what a game to observe! I’m sure it was even entertaining for the neutral too, to see two great sides duke it out…..in Dubai!
Yep, we got our second pre season 2.0 friendly yesterday for The Arsenal yesterday afternoon and it was another victory and another penalty shootout win that ensures the Dubai Super Cup will be getting on that plane and heading its way back to London Colney this week, as Mikel Arteta’s super reds edged AC Milan yesterday afternoon. Forget your World Cup semi finals, this is where the real action is, which is why I’m going to dedicate the rest of this post to talking about it. The World Cup can get in the bin 😉
Although let’s at least acknowledge the nice story of Messi getting himself to a final. One of the best players of all time could be on the verge of securing greatness this weekend. Even if it would mean that Emi Martinez – who is turning in to quite the pantomime villain right now, would also therefore be happy and on the winning side if it happens.
But anyway, back to proper football, which is that Arsenal continued their preparation for the restart of the season by bagging a couple more goals and beating a Milan side that seemed decidedly sluggish, if truth be told. I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t watch t he game live and in full (if you do want to see Arsenal live scores you can do so), but have seen the highlights and the goals, including a pretty sumptuous free kick from Odegaard and a nice – albeit slightly fortunate – strike by Nelson deflected in to put us two goals up by halftime. It has been an interesting trait of Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal for some time that we do like to is to go early in games. We were three up by halftime against Lyon and in the Premier League we like to start quick and get early goals if possible. I think back to how quickly we scored against Liverpool as an immediate example that springs to mind. The players on the pitch yesterday may not have been the usual first XI that we would expect for most Premier League match days, but it is nice to know the mentality is the same and the approach to games is applied regardless of the personnel. And yes, I know it is only a friendly, but mentalities can be shaped in pre season, as the summer showed, so seeing the team pick up where it left off is positive. It doesn’t mean we’ll beat West Ham, it doesn’t mean we couldn’t have a rubbish Christmas if we fall down away at Brighton and at home to Newcastle, but based on what we’re seeing in front of our eyes right now, seeing this preparation ahead of the resumption of the league can only bring positive vibes.
We also saw the return of a few faces and that was really great to see too. Thomas Partey played 45, as did Ben White, which will be good for them and you’d expect them to get more minutes on Saturday when we line up against Juventus. I suspect they’ll also be joined by the likes of Turner, Tomiyasu, Xhaka, which will bring a semblance of normality to the side that could start the last pre season before it all kicks off again. The big question is around KT, who apparently went down with nobody around him and was substituted late on. I really hope it isn’t a setback for him because he must be looking at the situation with Zinchenko having played little football in this second pre season, and fancying his chances. But if he isn’t fit or breaks down, it could be an opportunity missed for him. There hasn’t been that much said online about him (well, I can’t immediately find anything on a quick search this morning, that is) so my hope is that it was minor and we don’t have anything to worry about. But he needs a run of games and if Zinchenko is expected to be fit for Boxing Day, then KT really needs to be a few steps ahead in terms of fitness if he wants to take that left back spot on 26th December.
Arteta also admitted that in the next few days the other players will come back, so my hope is that we get as close to a full compliment as possible on Saturday; it would be nice to see Saka and Martinelli at the Emirates, even if they aren’t in the squad, because they’ll get the love from the crowd and you just know that will be beneficial for them and how they are feeling after their respective countries’ exits from the competition.
There’s not really a lot else to talk about really. We could touch on the Ben White stuff, but it all feels as though it has been swept under the carpet – whatever it is. Depending on what the reasons for leaving the camp were, that might be a good thing for Ben, actually. Arteta seemed to think that everyone knew why he left the England camp, but of course nobody does, so I doubt we’ll ever really know, as the focus will now be on the football and to be honest that is always how it should be. As long as the club are behind him, looking after him, so he can feel happy and comfortable and performing to the best of his abilities in an Arsenal shirt, that’s all that really matters.
Right, i’m offski. Time to take more cough syrup and throat lozenges and hope this blasted cold gets out of my system in the next 24 hours.
Catch you all tomorrow.