Football at last but what now for Denilson?

Rambo & Jenks

After what felt like an eternity we at last got to see some football yesterday – some of you may have had to watch the game against an Malaysian XI (MXI) ‘as live’ well after it had finished, as I myself did, due to the time difference & work commitments.

It’s not often I can steer clear of any form of Internet access and/or media so the wait to tune into ESPN at 19:45 last night was a long one (although it has allowed me the time to compose a basis for this post – Actually I’m writing about a game of football that has actually already happened but I’ve not seen and won’t be able to see or comment on until three hours after I’ve written this sentence, it’s kind of like something out of Back to the future & I love that movie!)

Now I just sit looking at my watch until kick off…..

….And here we go!

Arsenal starting XI –


So after weeks and weeks without football we had to wait a mere four minutes to see our first pre season goal – Jack was taken down as he burst into the box and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Aaron Ramsey, undertaking his first Arsenal pre season – cheers Ryan!, stepped up to take the spot kick and after a slow run up coolly slotted home to make it one nil to the Arsenal.

I had been hoping to see Theo Walcott play through the middle but he started out on the right and started brightly, as did Carl Jenkinson at right back making his Arsenal debut.

Another youngster making his debut was Ryo Miyaichi who was always looking to be involved, although he initially seemed to have trouble getting the ball under control – that said he wasn’t the only one & the pitch looked incredibly heavy and was starting to cut up from early on.

MXI attempted a few early long-range shots which was a theme they continued throughout the game. I was just getting settled in and cracked open a beer when suddenly ESPN decided to cut to ads just 23 minutes in!

Five minutes later we were back with the game and it was still 0-1

Jack Wilshere gave away a free kick for a little push and from the resulting set piece the Malaysians attempted another long range effort which Szczesny tipped over the bar. It all could have ben a bit Roanaldinho/Seaman had it had been a little more flukey. *I still don’t think old Safe Hands was to blame for the btw

Marouane Chamakh was playing the lone striker role and didn’t look like he was getting into the game at all, appearing to be much like the player who faded around Christmas time last year after an initial bright start to his Arsenal career.

Captain Tommy Vermaelan headed a good chance wide after Carl Jenkinson had found him with a decent cross.

MXI didn’t really press us much and seemed prepared to run onto long balls played over the top and similarly bursting runs when finding any kind of space at the back. But it was an exquisite Aaron Ramsey ball played over the top of the MXI back line that found Theo who chipped over the on rushing goalkeeper to put the gunners two up.

Half time came and so did a text from Mr Hobbs which read – Chamakh’s positional play is shocking! He spends half the time watching wingers beat their man before any thought of getting into the six yard box.

That perfectly summed up the Moroccans contribution and whilst a whole host of substitutions were expected at the interval he was certainly the player least likely to reappear for the second half.

Aside from agreeing whole heartedly with Mr Hobbs regarding Chamakh my half time thoughts were –

A- I really like the new away kit
B- I love Aaron Ramsey
3- Theo should definitely be given the chance to play through the middle at long last

As expected Arsene chose to make a fair few changes to the side for the second half and they were thus –

Vito Mannone replaced Szczesny in goal. Armand Traore, back from his loan spell at Juventus, took up the left back position in place of Kieran Gibbs.
Squillaci replaced Koscielny & Johan Djourou came on for Tommy Vermaelen.

Denilson came on in place of Jack Wilshere & Emmanuel Frimpong replaced Alex Song, it was good to see the youngster back in an Arsenal shirt after suffering a cruciate injury during pre season last year. I know he may not be ready to be an able deputy for Alex Song over the course of an entire season but he will certainly get games and won’t be phased by anyone. Tommy Rosicky took the captains armband when he replaced Theo & Marouane Chamakh made way for Carlos Vela.

There were certainly a few players on the pitch who many an Arsenal fan thought they may have seen the last of, or at least hoped they had, but the replacements started brightly and things were much the same as the first half.

Aaron Ramsey made a run into the box after the ball was laid off by Carlos Vela but the Welshman was unable to control his shot and it went straight over the bar without troubling the replacement MXI goalie.

Arsenal continued to pass it around without too much opposition and a Tommy Rosicky ball into the box found Carlos Vela who made it 0-3 with a trademark chip over the keeper from close range. It was a lovely finish but in all honesty we desperately need to see something more from the Mexican, it’s quite a surprise that he looks likely to be given another chance at the club and really needs to pull his finger out quickly and show he has more in his locker than the odd deft touch and neat finish.

MXI went on to make their 87th substitution, I think they were allowing members of the crowd to make cameo appearances, and shortly afterwards Wenger made another four subs of his own.

Arshavin came on in place of the impressive Ryo Miyaichi, the young Japanese winger certainly made the most of his debut opportunity and appeared to grow in confidence as the game went on, I think only the heat inside the stadium and Wenger’s plan to use as many players as possible contributed to his being replaced.

The very impressive Aaron Ramsey made way for Samir Nasri & Bacary Sagna replaced Carl Jenkinson who certainly gave a good account of himself on his first start in an Arsenal shirt.

The crowd in the 87,000 capacity stadium gave its biggest roar of the night as Robin Van Persie made his way onto the pitch in replace of Denilson who had only been on the field for sixteen minutes (16 minutes more than he should have been given after his outburst at the end of last season)

It’s reported that the Brazilian stormed straight down the tunnel and you have to wonder what, if any, future he now has at the club. Unless his brief appearance was down to an injury you can’t really see how he’ll come back from what is ultimately a humiliation, this wasn’t a tactical switch in an important game this was the first friendly of pre season and a game in which we were under little to no pressure. I must admit that unless I missed something it didn’t appear that he had done anything wrong while on the pitch but with that said he didn’t produce anything of note either.

ESPN had another five-minute ad break as Samir Nasri showed off some of the skills that made him player of the year for the first half of last season – you have to wonder how much of that we’ll be seeing in the near future whether he stays at the club or not, can he perform to that standard for the duration of a season?

MXI made another 17 subs and continued to shoot from long distance while the crowd cheered every RVP touch of the ball.

For the most part it was just a matter of running down the clock from then on and there was little of note until in the 90th minute Andrey Arshavin chased down a ball which looked like it was heading out for a throw in (It must have been the heat!) The Russian made a darting run into the box and chipped the ball above the keeper and onto the head of Tommy Rosicky who headed home to make it a nice round 0-4 victory. It was certainly the kind of moment Arshavin is more than capable of but we sadly see far to infrequently, if he stays at the club we need to see a vast improvement on this seasons showing from the little imp.

So all in all it was a pretty good night for everyone except Denilson.

It’s early days and you can’t read much into our hopes for the new season based on this one game but whilst there is certainly room for improvement, in both our football & our squad, it was the professional performance and good result that we all wanted to see.

The team now move onto China for their next game against Hangzhou Greentown on Saturday & it will be interesting to see if Denilson travels with them or indeed plays any further part in this tour.

Thanks for reading

Up The Arsenal!


One Response to Football at last but what now for Denilson?

  1. Mr Hobbs says:

    Great blog mate and thankyou for quoting me word for word, I just hate it when the tabloids mis- quote my pearls of wisdom 😉

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