Writer: Brice Coffer
Date:Saturday July 18 2009
Arsenal played their first preseason game of the summer against Barnet FC at Underhill Stadium this afternoon. Arsenal were held 2-2, after going ahead twice.
While the game itself wasn't incredibly exciting, Arsenal fans did get a glimpse of Thomas Vermaelen and Tomas Rosicky. As the players came out onto the field in the new blue away strip, all the Arsenal players gave those two high fives and man hugs. Rosicky even had the captains armband. All the excitement out on the pitch was marred by Almunia though, who was sporting a new haircut. A bleach blonde top with brown sides. Comon mate, you should know better! Vermaelen started at left centre back. Normally that is Gallas' position. Maybe a sign of things to come in that partnership?
The game started out with a lively tempo. Arshavin had a go early on but it was well wide. Later on, Rosicky played a defence splitting ball into Wilshere, who swung it into middle. Watt beat the Barnet defender with his first touch, only to be denied by an excellent save. Arsenal wasn't the only side attacking however. Barnet nearly broke though with a couple of corners. Then Djourou and Gallas got themselves in trouble down by the corner flag, but Almunia easily collected the cross. Rosicky had a couple of brilliant touches to evade a defender or two, and then was fouled. But the Czech bounced up like a racquetball. That was pleasing to see. The game did die down around the 35th minute, and my phone was going off with news of Adebayor having a medical at Eastlands. Adebay-who?
Watt then was played through by Wilshere who found Arshavin at the back post and he smashed it into the upper netting. It was great movement by the little Russian to get on the end of the cross. It looked like Arsenal would go into the break on top, but Mark Randall made another foolish challenge and Barnet scored off the free kick. Randall hasn't learned from his red cards from last year. Halftime and the score was tied 1-1.
10 changes came at halftime with only Vermaelen retaining his spot. He also had the armband. Arsenal took the initiative early, with Barazite at the heart of it all. After an early penalty appeal, JET back heeled a ball to the Dutchman, who curled a scrumptious ball into the far corner. It's a third successive season Nacer has scored in this fixture. After the goal, the game again died down, and once again my cell was vibrating with news about Hughes confirming Adebayor's medical. Once again, I pressed ignore.
The game kept rolling along. Arsenal attack, Barnet attack, Arsenal attack... you get the trend. No clear chances being created. The ATVO cameraman was so bored that he focused in on Eboue decked out in a pimpin' hat on the bench. Rosicky was also on the sideline and he looked quite happy with his preformance, and rightly so. There was a game still going on though, and Barnet eventually equalized by sloppy defending from everyone in blue. Arsenal then upped the tempo in search of another winner. Jay Emmanuel Thomas pulled a shot just wide, but that was as close as Arsenal got. The ref blew his whistle and ended the suffering. 2-2 the final score. Nothing spectacular, but a good work out for the squad nevertheless.
Congrats to Thomas and Tomas on the appearances today. I'm sure we'll see much more of both of them in the upcoming season.
By the way, here's what a fit Rosicky can do for Arsenal next season.
Game against SC Columbia on Tuesday. We will see van Persie, Nasri, Eduardo, and others against the Austrian side. Cheers everyone.
Date:Saturday July 18 2009
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