Saturday, July 23, 2011

FC Cologne 1 Arsenal 2

A minute's silence was observed at the RheinEnergie Stadion prior to the match for the victims of the Oslo bombing and shootings. We have a few Norwegian members at Playa Flamenca Arsenal Supporters Club. Our thoughts are with the Norwegian people.

I was not quite sure if Gervinho was a right signing for Arsenal until I saw this game. He was on the pitch for 30 minutes and scored two goals. He looked dangerous and his killer instinct was just what Arsenal needed. I'd love to see more of him (even more if he changes his hair styles!).

Out Gervinho went and Ryo Miyaichi came on. He immediately made his presence felt and the timing of his run and releasing the ball showed his intelligence. A 15-minute run-out was too short to assess his quality, but he certainly seemed promising from what I have seen.

The other new signing, Carl Jenkinson had a bad day in the office. He went forward and put in some good crosses, but he was often caught out of position amid Cologne's counter-attacks. Towards the end of the first half, just when we thought he had realised the danger of that, he made a huge mistake. The own goal was  unfortunate, but it was fortunate it happened in a pre-season friendly. He had a good lesson today and will have plenty of time to learn more before he deputises the first-choice right-back, Sagna (the wait could be longer if Eboue stays at Arsenal).

The defense looked frail both in the first half and second half. Arsenal played two sets of centre-backs, but neither of the pairs looked convincing. I hope that Arsene Wenger is now even more aware of the need of an experienced new centre-back.

However, the left-back situation may be a more urgent problem to address. Kieran Gibbs looked good, when he went forward, but Vermaelen had to play a left-back half the time, which meant that the central defense was stretched thin and often got exposed susceptible to Cologne's counter-attacks.

On the more positive note, Frimpong looked efficient in breaking down Cologne attacks.  In fact, he looked better than Song in terms of passing accuracy. Rosicky played the Cesc Fabregas role very well. I thought the last season might have been his last season with Arsenal, but let's hope he will make more contribution this season. Also, the three goalkeepers did nothing wrong, which was encouraging. 
Overall, it was a good work-out with a right result, though it was a shame Conor Henderson suffered a nasty-looking injury. If Arsenal had played a set of the best eleven players for the full 90 minutes, they would have won the game more comfortably.

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