The second Emirates Cup match between Arsenal and Portuguese Champions, Benfica was one that blew an air of excitement and confidence from London to every corner of the world where Arsenal has groups of supporters. From the joy of watching former Olympiakos loanee, Joel Campbell dazzle, to the surprise of seeing Yaya Sanogo stealing the show with 4 of the 5 goals scored today, the Emirates, were it not just an edifice, would have done more than Sanogo on the dance floor with electrifying skills.
Arsenal fans, going into the match already had anticipated interesting things to look forward to and their expectation was not only met but surprisingly blown out of control. Firstly, the PUMA kits looked very amazingly fitting and expectantly, those who have not visited the Arsenal store for their kits and accessories would have cleared out the store by now. Also, fans were able to watch the new recruits today except Mathieu Debuchy, who sat out the encounter on the bench and David Ospina who was ruled out through a thigh strain suffered in training and interestingly, they all showed flashes of what to expect from them. Calum Chambers started with Nacho Monreal at centre back and showed stability while Alexis Sanchez only saw some few minutes but had few good touches on the ball. However, here are 5 Lessons to learn from today’s match as observed from a keen and attentive spectator.
- The Boys are ready: Today we saw Hector Bellerin showing to Arsenal that deputizing at the right back position is the least of his wishes right now. The lad displayed an amazing recovery rate for someone who bursts upfront regularly and he performed fairly well defensively. Damian Martinez with today’s performance should earn an immediate promotion as the Arsenal third choice goalkeeper. Brilliant saves like that he made from Bebe’s free-kick is a senior team feature. Ignasi Miquel and Chuba Akpom also showed some flashes of readiness for the top flight.
Lesson: Do not underestimate the potentials locked within the youth ranks. The boys would make a big mark. Promote at least Bellerin and Martinez. Make Bellerin an assistant to Debuchy while Chambers can deputize as one of the Centre Backs as Vermaelen is obviously at the door.
- Sanogo was made for goals: Yaya Sanogo who scored 3 Van Nistelroy-type, tap-in goals and a Van Persie-type, impossible-last-leg stunt goal, has shown the stuff that made Wenger snap him up from Auxerre last summer. The name of the game is goal and the French U-21 could well slot in some when he is given more time. This goals of his has broken a somewhat deadlock and he may start unleashing some terror on Premier League goal keepers and defenders. He sure can score, and he will with more time.
Lesson: Slow but steady developmental program for him would gradually make him star. Psychological stability through long spells without any more of those nagging injuries would help his development.
- Campbell is the Diamond in the rough: Joel Campbell may have shown glimpses and flashes with a goal and assists today, but his potential has not been truly appreciated by Arsenal fans because his numerous loan spells abroad didn’t afford us that opportunity. A player with an Oxlade Chamberlain build and stature, Campbell’s power is very needed in the EPL.
Lesson: DO NOT SELL!!! Even a loan move away from the club this term should not happen. Campbell unleashing his pace, passes, goals and energy on the EPL, is something an Arsenal fan wouldn’t want to miss.
- Rosicky’s still on: The fluidity that a team with Rosicky operating in the middle has is endless. The veteran has grown to love football the Arsenal way and he expresses himself more, around even younger players. Today, Arsenal found it hard to score when he was substituted. A particular link-up play between him and Campbell, then him and Bellerin was a beauty to watch.
Lesson: Play Rosicky more! Energy may be waning, but experience and intelligence works in football.
- Arsenal supporters can give you more than you can imagine: Arsenal supporters hardly do more than sing, shout, attack Spurs supporters and raise banners. Today, it was very amazing to see Arsenal supporters do the Mexican wave. It really must be happy times for Arsenal this year.
Lesson: Make the fans happy by winning games and the pride and confidence that made Arsenal the pride of London would be restored.