Returning Gunners given familiar test from Barnet

Barnet gave Arsenal a stern workout in their first pre-season game with Tomas Rosicky given the captain’s armband after his comeback from injury.

Barnet 2-2 Arsenal

Not much should be read into the first pre-season game except the assuring comeback of Tomas Rosicky. The Czech midfielder was made captain and produced a steady performance, showing no ill effects both physically and mentally. In fact, halfway through the first half he made a crunching tackle which in the Premiership would have been a red card while he tracked back at willingly at all times.

Off the pitch it is he and Andrei Arshavin who have struck up a bond as both are able to speak Russian while on the pitch they showed in sporadic spells, a potentially potent partnership and understanding in the making. Understandably, the Gunners were very rusty; too many over hit or under hit passes while the first sign of tiredness, over ambitious long passes were the order of the first half.

Wenger was readying his side for the departure of Adebayor and in that instance, Andrei Arshavin played as the second striker. For Russia and Zenit, he likes playing on the counter preferring to float across the channel between midfield and attack. However, one could see why Wenger wants to deploy the Russian out wide; he made some telling runs behind the back line of Barnet which was one of the features of the Frenchman’s ‘Invincibles’ team. His movement created the first goal as Watt broke from the left and crossed to Arshavin to tap in. Nacer Barazite got Arsenal’s second with a fantastic curling goal. His flailing arms and timid steps were reminiscent of Robert Pires and his goal did the Arsenal legend no dissonance.

At the back, Vermaelen made his debut in what was a shaky first period for the Gunners as a whole. The power and height of Barnet’s front two caused endless problems though it didn’t help that the centre backs were played out of position as full backs therefore not stopping the flow of crosses.By deploying the forwards on the shoulder of the defence it pushed Arsenal’s backline deep. Paradoxically, the defenders like to play higher up the pitch as it means the Gunners are dominating. This was displayed in an uninspiring second half as Arsenal’s youth side had the most of the possession hence denied pressure on the backline.

At 6ft, there is an argument that the Gunners are vulnerable in the centre back positions however Toure and Gallas let in three goals from the air in 2007/08 while lasts year’s relative failures show a lack of cohesion and communication rather than a lack of height. Yakubu got in between Djourou and Gallas for Barnet’s first goal from the set piece while their second came after a confusion in defence which saw Mannone knock the ball the path of Elliot Charlie to finish.

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Almunia (7) – Djourou (6), Gallas (6), Vermaelen (6), Silvestre (6) – Randall (6), Frimpong (6) – Rosicky(c) (6), Arshavin (7), Wilshere (6) – Watt (7).

Second Half (4-2-3-1): Mannone (6) – Eastmond (6), Ayling (7), Vermaelen(c) (7), Cruise (6) – Coquelin (6), Henderson (6) – Simpson (5), Emmanuel-Thomas (6), Barazite (7) – Sunu (6).

Goals: Arshavin (43), Yakubu (45), Barazite (51), Charlie (83)


5 thoughts on “Returning Gunners given familiar test from Barnet

  1. Rosicky made a good comeback yesterday. His passing and vision are still good. I hope he stays fit and makes deadly partenrship with Arshavin.

  2. I was at UnderHill yesterday, for me, the performance was so/so. Still some problems in central midfield, but i don not envisage Frimpong or Lansbury playing many minutes in the bigger games, although the former has looked a good player for the youth teams.

    The team needs to become more compact in the coming weeks, especially the attack and midfield strangling space collectively, many teams don’t have to work hard to get close to our goal.

    The defensive unit also need to take collective and individual responsibility in all situations, it’s like they are scared of getting team mates to do the right thing, for instance when ever a goal is conceded, no one ever complains, but they just have a sign of resignation, in the days of Gallas captaincy, every goal conceded was met with shouts from the players, conceding the goals we did yesterday is not acceptable even in a pre-season…..then again the goal Foster let in for Utd was a joke!

    Lets hope the intensity and application is sufficient before the season starts in 1 month, this is a good place to build from.

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  4. Congrats mate, you got linked to the Tim Vickery Column! He knows his stuff, never seen him link to another Arsenal blog, sign of the great work you’ve got going on here! Seems we all share the same passion and style of the ‘Legendinho’ in a short passing intelligent midfield game!

    Keep it up mate!

    1. I’m a big admirer of his work; I haven’t yet read his newest post but always do. I didn’t know that pingback I recieved was from Tim Vickery but it is nice to know that an established journalist has been reading my stuff. Actually, it’s a curious article he has linked to; wasn’t sure of the reference but there is a snippet that is relevant.

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