Review of Arsenal vs. Malaysia XI

Arsenal 2 – 1 Malaysia XI by KJ

Sorry for the late report but I’ve been quite busy with the Olympics about to start and so on. So yesterday, we finally got to watch some Arsenal action. It’s been a long time and I was truly chuffed to have the privilege of watching the red and white once again (on this occasion, it was more purple and red).

The starting line-up was:
Mannone
Jenkinson Djourou Vermaelan Gibbs
Coquelin Arteta
Gervinho Diaby Santos
Chamakh

This was quite an experienced team that would hopefully give Wenger a realistic look at players that will definitely feature for Arsenal next season.

On to the game… We looked quite sluggish out of the blocks. The passing lacked crispness and were being misplaced. However, this is understandable with the players having a month out of competitive football. The Malaysia XI actually looked quite threatening, with them splitting the defence open numerous times.

Azmi Muslim finally broke the deadlock with a wondrous strike from about 30 yards. Questions will be asked of Coquelin who should’ve closed him down. This is one of the reasons why I feel that he just isn’t ready for first team football yet. He just seems a bit raw. However, I wouldn’t be too disappointed if he was rotated with Song/Arteta over the season.

The second half started and Wenger named an almost entirely new team:

Mannone
Yennaris Bartley Eastmond Miquel
Aneke Song
Walcott Chamberlain Miyachi
Afobe

This team clearly reflected the youth of the squad and how they would cope. To be honest, they seemed a bit better than the more experienced lot. It’s clear that they were eager to impress and they were managing to force a few attacks with the immense pace of the front 4. Unfortunately, the Malaysia XI had decided to sit back and defend meaning that there were only a few chances to talk about.

Wenger substituted Eisfeld on in the last 15 minutes. It was great to see our newest German youngster in action as we haven’t seen much of him yet. Finally, after 80 minutes of play, we were back in the game. Yennaris did some great work on the wings to get inside his marker and deliver a nice cross for the man himself, Eisfeld. He coolly finished into the back of the net.
Moments later, our centre-back convert to left-back Ignasi Miquel managed to dribble past a couple of the Malaysians whilst interchanging some beautiful passes with Chuks Aneke. Then, Aneke managed to get a shot off which was deflected by an opponent’s defender to make it 2-1. We saw through the dying minutes to win the game.

Overall, it was a decent performance, especially by the youngsters. Chamberlain was head and shoulders above every player on the pitch when he got substituted on. He just glides past players so easily. It is truly remarkable that he has such close ball control as well as being one of the fastest players in the world. It is a deadly combination.

Diaby thoroughly impressed me with his cameo yesterday. Not only did he contribute to attacks but he was also vital in slowing down the tempo when we were in trouble. He just reminds me of Yaya Toure and it would be great if he fulfilled that potential. The good news was that he didn’t have any reactions after the 45 minutes which can only be positive. Many will be surprised with how talented he is. He easily walks into our midfield. That’s how good the guy is.

All in all, it was great experience for the youngsters and it tells them that Wenger has faith in them with not only taking them on tour but letting them play the majority of the match. Here’s hoping for a great game on Friday against none other than the Premier League champions.