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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Barnet vs. Arsenal

Underhill Stadium



Preview: Barnet v. Arsenal

Here we go again, football is back. It`s that time of the summer where the Arsenal squad travels a short distance due north to Barnet for the traditional preseason curtain raiser, before flying out to Austria. Asenal`s record in this fixture in the last nine years is predictably impressive at 7-0-2. Last year Barnet took the game to Arsenal early on and scored the goal they deserved, but Arsenal eventually broke through in the second half with a goal from Jay Simpson. Then the young Gunners went on to win by a solitary goal thanks to Nacer Barazite.

For Arsenal, this is a game where the youngsters get their chance to shine alongside Arsenal`s finest. The starting line-up usually consists of a mixture of starters, squad members, and of course everclear, the foundation for all the best punchbowls. Sarcasm of course, but after long, tough weeks at the beach, the legs and minds of even our best players are always a tad intoxicated. Wengerball never gets rolling in this fixture. However, at halftime, we should see the Boss make eleven substitutions to transform the lineup into a full-fledged youth team, which usually sees the game liven up. This match is a chance for the squad to sharpen up physically and to get their touch back into the proper groove, but much more importantly, the key to this game is to come out injury free.

Vital Quotes:

Wenger`s been a bit mum these past few weeks probably due to the combination of vacation and that transfer that's been moving along during past few days, so I have quotes from our captain on his best friend. "I have spent a lot of time with Rosicky and I know how he feels" Fabregas told

"I know what he wants and I have never seen a guy being so committed, so professional and never giving up. If this happened to me I probably wouldn't want to talk to anyone, I would be always down and angry. But he's unbelievable and when we see that he will be back next season, he will be strong and hopefully he can help us improve a lot. Technically he is one of the best in the world and physically I am sure he will be really strong because he's been working really hard. I am happy because soon he is going to be back and I can't wait to see him playing again."

"He's the type of player you enjoy playing alongside and as a guy he's amazing. He didn't deserve his injury but I am sure he will come back stronger. I wish him all the best because everyone here at Arsenal loves him a lot."

When Ian Hendon, the Barnet manager, was told the Arsenal players that could be facing his team, he laughed and said with a wry smile "Some line-up there".

Barnet Team News:

Barnet won their first preseason game against Conference South opponents Dover Athletic last Saturday despite missing several key players. Barnet won 2-1 with goals either side of halftime by Mark Hughes and Joe Devera. Exciting prospect Albert Adomah and Luke Medley both missed the game with the flu, but should be fine by Saturday. Jake Hyde is a doubt for the game due to a glandular infection, aka the kissing disease, aka mono. Oh Hyde, you dirty, dirty boy. Striker, and top scorer from last season, John O'Flynn will miss the game after suffering a torn muscle in his right foot during training.

Interesting news coming out of Barnet this week is that manager Ian Hendon took himself off the squad list. He was the Barnet captain when the Bee`s regained Football League status in 05, and the 37 year old took over as manager on Boxing Day last year and has now been appointed full-time on a two year deal.

Player to watch: Albert Adomah

Albert Adomah is a quick 21 year old winger who is being courted by plenty of Championship teams like Reading, Sheffield United, and Watford. He should be fit enough to take part in this prestigious fixture for the Bee`s, and he certainly could sting Arsenal for a goal.

Arsenal Team News:

With only a handful of players competing in international tournaments this summer, the vast majority of the first team has reported back to London Colney during these past two weeks, so traveling fans will see a more experienced team than during World Cup and Euro summers take on Barnet. Although not everyone who has returned will feature. Only the players who returned on July 7th will be included in the squad. Don`t fret though, you will still be able to see new signing Vermaelen, Arshavin, and Silvestre! Fabregas, Theo, and Gibbs are still on holiday for the weekend, while Carlos Vela is on international duty for Mexico. Vela has recovered from a leg injury and will start in the Gold Cup quarter-final for El Tri against Haiti on Sunday.

Arsenal fans will be treated to some ghosts of seasons past on Saturday when Senderos and Rosicky will once again be wearing the red and white, while Eduardo looks likely to feature as well. Like usual for this match, squad numbers will be disregarded and the traditional 1-11 will be sported by the starters.

Player to watch: Tomas Rosicky

Tomas Rosicky is expected to return to action for the first time since limping off the field against Newcastle an astonishing nineteen months ago. While he should not be included in any permanent plans for next season, his possible addition to the squad could be massive boost. I`m looking forward to seeing his unique, prancing dribbling style again.

Second Half Player to Watch: Jay Simpson

Jay Simpson should play a substantial amount of minutes in the second half. He scored two goals in his debut start for Arsenal in the Carling Cup against Wigan last year, and during the 07/08 campaign he was named League One Player of the year while on loan at Millwall. He went on loan again to West Brom following our exit from the Carling Cup, and scored 2 goals in 12 starts for the Baggies. He has always stated his desire to compete for a starting spot at Arsenal, despite permanent offers from other Premier League teams. Look for him to get on the score sheet for a second year in a row.

Match Prediction:

Obviously I don`t expect Arsenal to relinquish their dominating form in this fixture, but predicting the score is very much a guessing game. Arsenal has previously won 10-0, but sometimes Barnet pushes us to the very end, like last year. I will go with an away win by 3 or 4 goals, and I wouldn`t be surprised if Barnet scored against our out of shape defence.

Next Fixtures:

21/7 (Tue) - SC Columbia (A)

27/7 (Mon) - Szombathelyi Haladas (A)

There are still tickets available for all areas of the ground on Saturday. Call the Barnet Ticket Office on 020 8449 6325 or visit the official Barnet website.

If you aren`t making the short trip to Underhill, the match will be shown exclusively on Arsenal TV Online (It will not be on the Arsenal channel). Go to the ATVO homepage, register if you haven`t already, and it`s like 4 pounds for all of Arsenal's preseason games this month, excluding the Emirates Cup. Great deal if you ask me.

Have a great weekend everyone. Arsenal's back!

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The Journalist

Writer: Brice Coffer Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday July 17 2009

Time: 6:16AM

Your Comments

Thanks for all the info Brice. Just a quick line to wish all the boys well, particularly Rosicky. Let's hope he comes through unscathed as he makes his long awaited return to the first team.
Cockney Rich
I always go to this as my best mate is a Bees season ticket holder, but for the first time in ages I've got to miss this one this year and watch it online. Mind you, that means I'll probably take more of it in, as I'm normally *****ed as a newt by kick off.
Im going tonight navydave so I'll gladly do your drinking for you. As long as you let me know the score and what happened !!
Cockney Rich
Getting there early Rich?
will Edu be there?
Yeah, shewore, looking at a 1pm finish from work meaning a 2pm kick off on the scoop front. I always look forward to this game, but it's normally a saturday and baking hot. Still, I can drink my own body weight in beer and have the weekend to recover. Does anyone know if my favourite player, Adebayor, has been included in the squad !!??
Cockney Rich
The game IS tomorrow!!!!!!!!! Or am I going mad?
The game is tomorrow. You're not going insane, just yet.
I went insane years ago, but the game is Saturday. I think you're in for a lock in Rich, in whichc ase you'll be really wasted by the time the game starts!
Little Dutch
Bollox, better get a lick on
Thank you chaps. I have been in Frankfurt for 2 days, and on my return was told the game had been moved to tonight. Probably one of THE hugest wind ups that I have suffered. Thats what happens when you work with idiots !! Oh well, beer and the Test Match for the rest of the day.
Cockney Rich
Have one for me Rich, shame it's raining in the cricket.... you'll have to watch the Open instead!
Little Dutch
No Kolo in this squad? I don't think Kolo's had any int'l games to play for Ivory Coast, has he? It's been very quiet on the Kolo front. Re Carlos Vela's injury: latest reports I've heard here on this side of the pond is that he is in fact unable to appear in the game v. Haiti because his ankle injury was more serious than thought, and he hurt it while training for the game. I have a feeling Vela won't be available in the early weeks (maybe as long as 2 months) of the season.
Kolo didn't return till the 13th so that's why he's not in the squad. And I saw an interview with the Mexico coach yesterday and he said Vela would be starting against Haiti this weekend. There seems to be conflicting reports, so I guess we'll have to see.
gk, thx for the Kolo update. Re Vela -- I'll take the crazy Mexico coach's word (you know, the one who kicked at a Panamanian player's balls and got suspended). I saw a news report yesterday saying he wouldn't play on the weekend but it wasn't sourced.
Yeah I saw that. A disgrace he is. Only a Mexico coach would be that arrogant. Because they still think they're a world power in the game, even though Mexico probably won't qualify for the World Cup. I felt bad for the player, as he got a red card for barely pushing the coach, who took a swing at his family jewels.
Anyone know why Senderos isn't in the squad?
I'm really looking forward to seeing more of Coquelin this pre-season. I honestly think he could be pushing for a first team place within a couple of years.
Actually I've stopped looking too far into it - there a loads of players who aren't in the squad who might have been.
It is potentially interesting (I say potentially, coz it could be very innocent, like a slight knock) that Senderos isn't in the squad. It could be that either he, Kolo or both of them, are maybe being kept fresh incase they have to do medicals at other clubs. But hey, maybe I just adding two and two together and getting Hangeland?
I think you all are looking into this to much . It's not really a mystery why Senderos isn't in the squad. His Arsenal career was over when he was loaned to AC Milan. The players that did come back on the 7th and aren't in the squad, like Nasri, Denilson, Traore, and Eduardo, it's not a big deal. They will play in Austria.
You are right ArsenalRob,Coquelin looks a great player and should be one of the first of that group to make the ' step ' up. I've seen alot of Jay Emmanuel Thomas and Gilles Sunu, and they look just as likely to make it. Good luck to Thomas Vermaelen and welcome to our wonderful club.
Cockney Rich
Personally I'm not convinced by either Emanuel-Thomas or Sunu. They're good for their age group but I don't think thomas would stand out so much in the PL, where he won't be able to bully the opposition as much, and Sunu's technique looks a bit limited to me, although he's a hard worker. But I'd love them to prove me wrong of course.
Starting lineup: Almunia, Djourou, Gallas, Vermaelen, Silvestre, Wilshere, Randall, Frimpong, Rosicky, Arshavin, Watt.
Arsenal are back!! I started a new job on 6th July this summer, the same day the players came back to work. I have a good feeling about this season! :D
Looking forward to seeing Frimpong, he is a talent.
It's interesting that Frimpong started over Thomas and Coquelin, and that Watt started over Simpson.
It's nice to see Rosicky with the captains armband.
Can someone update us on score and significant events please.
Arshavin Rosicky combination is looking good!!
great to see Tommy go clattering into a challenge there, he really seems to be relishing being back.
Yeah Rob. That Rosicky challenge reminded me a bit of the courage and readiness Eduardo showed in his first game back. Can't wait to see a Nasri-Cesc-Den-Rosicky midfield, supporting RvP-Arshavin up front with Edu and Theo coming on as subs...!! :D
Andrey!!!! Great assist from Sanchez the boy too!!
Don't forget Nicky Lou. It's almost a shame we're so good offensively now, because I would have loved to have seen more of Bendtner and Eduardo.
This is why I still want another CB.
Another poor challenge by Randall. He hasn't learned from last season. Goal by Yakubu from the freekick.
Set-pieces again!
Arsshavin scores for Arsenal but then once again Arsenal cannot defend set pieces as Barnet scores from a set piece. 1 - 1 at halftime. The game is a bit disjointed.
Er, same old set-piece lol... Almunia would've saved it had he been fully fit in a real game though.
You can sign Hangeland and Vidic and we would still concede from corners/free kicks, that is about coaching day in day out and we quite obviously do not do that.
We need Vermaelen to be a better defender than Toure in open play (crosses and long balls) because that is where we suffer
It's not the aerial ability of each individual defender which concerns me, it's that none of our defenders have been able to show a real commanding presence from set-pieces. Djourou talks a bit, as do Gallas and Toure, but still players seem uncertain as what to do when the ball comes in. I agree the coaching has a lot to do with it, but our defenders don't seem to know how to organize each other.
I'd like to see Barazite get a chance on loan in the Prem.
Barazite scores for Arsenal brilliant goal
Oh it's Barazite? I went away packing my stuff and it's 1-2 now. Glad to see the boy get a chance and score.
Good workout 2 -2 at the end.
Vermaelen was good imo. He only lost one header that I can remember and played generally well. But we need to sort out how we defend set pieces. You cannot just shove a body in there and hope it works out. It has to be drilled in day in day out.
Yeah, 2:2 is a fair result, Barnet played well as did The Arsenal! Great to see Rosicky back on the pitch where he belongs.
I agree about the training Tom, but I still don't see the leadership at the back. When Gallas was at Chelsea, it was mainly Terry directing him and company at the back. Toure was at his prime when being under the command of Campbell. Both of them have tried to lead the defence, but there's clearly a gap there IMO. It's not just the body I want shoved in there for help, it's the leadership.
Vermaelen and Gallas look like a more than good enough partnership, and in the heat of battle, not in a friendly against Barnet, Gallas has proven he can lead. Also, Vermaelen did attempt to lead the directions of players. But sometimes you get hit by a good delivery. What we should also note is that we give away more free kicks than most teams (especially last season)
I'm a big supporter of Gallas, and I think he's our best defender as an individual, and he does lead by inspiration, but I'm not convinced as to his qualities of organisation. I don't feel I'm in a good position to comment on Vermaelen's abilities just yet as I've only ever seen him once for Ajax other than the times he played against us, during which I was focussing more on our team, but I don't get the impression he'll be our defensive leader this season. In fact I'm not even sure he'll be a regular starter.
He looked good enough to me. And Gallas is a leader.
Gallas is our best defender by a mile, but I don't think that he is, or ever wants to be, our leader. I trust him to get on with his own job and maybe give a few words of ' encouragement ' to the others. Once Vermaelen finds his feet he will lead us. He's done it for Ajax ,and organises Belgium at the back. For the amount of games that he has played, and the time he has been with us, Kolo should be taking control.
Cockney Rich
Gallas led us ever since he lost the armband, and for many games with it.
I agree that Gallas is a leader in a motivational sense, but not an organisational one.

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