Emirates Cup, Day One: Arsenal Produce Six-y Football


Arsenal 6 – 0 Olympique Lyonnais

1 – 0 Giroud (29)
2 – 0 Oxlade-Chamberlain (34)
3 – 0 Iwobi (35)
4 – 0 Ramsey (38)
5 – 0 Özil (62)
6 – 0 Cazorla (84)

As days go, this will go down as one of the better ones of the summer. Six goals in a friendly win and Theo’s finally going to sign da ting, according to reports this morning. Pen is being put to paper and set to be announced in the next fortnight this morning’s Mirror claims, avoiding a tortuous start to the season.

In the meantime, that’s it for this summers’ Emirates Cup, surely? Villarreal need to win and score twice – entirely possible, I am sure you will agree – but Arsenal not scoring? Not in this mood, there’s no…ah, yes, I remember last summer. It’s interesting to think that some still propose points for goals for league football. Not so loudly any more; the creeping encroachment of corruption in world football makes the professional game more susceptible to foul play with that sort of incentive.

Arsenal did what was asked of them. That they played a generous opponent means nothing; you can only beat those placed in front of you and enjoy victory. Entirely comfortable, Arsenal had few moments of genuine concern. And with four or five goals in the bank, does that really matter?

The answer is no. Winning builds momentum, continues the feelgood factor from the FA Cup as far as the players are concerned, a little bit more confidence I suppose Arsène might say. And to be fair, some of the football yesterday was excellent. That’s the luxury friendlies afford; the players are more relaxed, at ease and capable of playing the pass they want against less intense opponents who offer the space and time usually missing in competitive matches.

A decade ago, putting six past Lyon would have made us sit up and take notice. Not so at the moment; they’re in a comparative lull and facing more of an uphill struggle than Arsenal to overcome the petrodollar. The French side were a permanent fixture in the Champions League and they had Juninho on their books, curling free kicks in from impossible angles and distances. It wasn’t that Juninho, this one had a perambulator somewhere in tow. Which made the free kicks all the more impressive, I suppose.

But frankly, they looked like they couldn’t be arsed yesterday, even before the first of four goals in less than minutes, was scored. It isn’t Arsenal’s fault that they were hit by Lyonnaise towels as they walked onto the pitch before kick-off.

Four goals in nine minutes, including three in four, killed what was already becoming a one-sided affair. Arsenal’s passing and movement was excellent, with Özil at the heart of it all. The German played for an hour and it was as good as he has all pre-season. And a continuation of the form he showed in the second half of last season. Passes flowed from his feet with little problem and certainly no lack of cohesion, all capped off with a fine finish.

All of the goals had their merits but two through five were eye-catching simply for the fluidity of the passing prior to the excellent finishes. Oxlade-Chamberlain served notice that it was by no means certain that Theo is going to slot back into the XI in that position. Or if it is certain, Walcott is going to be kept on his toes.

The relaxed nature of the occasion was captured in one moment, footballs’ biting humour of football was evident. Santi Cazorla’s free kick had just trundled under the leaping Lyonnais wall; Steve Bould put his hand over his mouth seemingly to talk in code to Arsène, instead barely stifling his laugh. There’s nothing like making a fool of your opponent.

Having warned before the trip to Singapore that we should not read too much into these matches, Arsène promptly reinforced that message,

Let’s be cautious [when talking about winning the title]. We finished third in the league and won the FA Cup last season. That’s a good basis, of course. Our target is to do better. We know that we will put all of our effort in and that it will be very difficult because it will be a big challenge

It’s the same tempered response when he was asked about a “desperate need” for a striker,

WIt depends what you call a desperate need. When you score six goals, I concede that you don’t have a desperate need. We won the FA Cup final scoring four goals. We score goals, and that’s what I mean by that. We can create chances and we can score goals. We are open-minded but everybody is on the market. 

Euphoria should be tempered by last season’s 5-1 victory over Benfica. Twenty-four hours later, Arsenal slumped to a single goal defeat. Arsène would do well to heed his own words at that time, to offer some quiet perspective on pre-season,

I think it’s very difficult to draw any conclusions like that. Benfica might be in a different level of preparation.

If we are getting carried away with yesterday’s win, let’s all pan Chelsea; mark them down for relegation, say I, entering into the spirit of things.

Of course we can’t be as euphoric. Last pre-season, Yaya Sanogo scored four against Benfica and that hasn’t ended well, has it? It’s a time when football flatters to deceive at either end of the spectrum. Defeat is as much a portent of doom as six-goal victories are a vision of things to come.

There is an element of truth though, in what he says. We are not desperate for another striker so no, he hasn’t got to rush out and buy one immediately. It’s just the hyperbole of football and part of his job is to defend his current players but there’s more to this than general transfer chat. Lord ‘Arris of Axminster fanned the flames with his outburst in The Heil and it seems to have been an interview which rankles with the manager,

On one side the questions in the press is, ‘How do you keep everybody happy?’, and on the other hand, one minute later they ask me, ‘Why don’t you buy any more players?’. So, if I cannot keep the ones I already have happy why should I buy more? I think our squad is well balanced quality wise and numbers wise because of the number of games we have we need everybody.

I’m guessing that Madame Wenger has cancelled the order for the new kitchen lino with ‘Arris’ carpet emporium.

Today’s match against Wolfsburg is another matter. The XI will be changed and Petr Cech makes his home début, with Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla likely to take the starring role in midfield. Another win is the order of the day, setting us for the week ahead for the only pre-season test at Wembley a week today.

’til Tomorrow.

139 thoughts on “Emirates Cup, Day One: Arsenal Produce Six-y Football

  1. Our youth wingers really have been impressive. Iwobo and Reine don’t seemed fazed at all in their matches thus far in the preseason. You can see why Arsene rates both so highly.

  2. I would have no qualms about seeing some of them rotated in during the PL season on the wing against some of the lesser opponents with a strong team fielded around them.

  3. Iwobi appeared the more polished of the two, but maybe that’s because of the nature of the win yesterday. The team has had to work harder with less coming off today.

    What has happened to Wellington Silva? I’m assuming he is going to go out on loan, hopefully in this country to see if he can take the physical game. He hadn’t had a look in though. Strange.

  4. Awful from Akpom. Held on to it when he could have played in front of the player. Then it was too late.

  5. Akpom needs to play a bit more. He is assuming every chance is his last chance and is therefore trying to do too much. A few more outings will give him some confidence and he will settle down. Perhaps on the bench against West Ham and Palace with 20 mins against each of them if things are going our way.

  6. I don’t know what they’re up to in France (well I do: proper coaching), but that country is producing the best young players in the world at the moment. They’ve got a few players that are pretty much complete, in the sense that they combine intelligence with physique.

    Usual caveats, blah, blah, blah, but this Reine-Adelaide kid has an amazing foundation.

  7. Adelaide. . .lovely languid player. .but i hope their performance wont be against arsene wenger buying a top striker again

  8. Fans should forget abt wenger buying a defensive midfielder this summer. .he may likely sign a striker or nothing

  9. @Big Al

    The thing I noticed was how so many of them are so physically developed but are also technically good so earlier in their young careers. The biggest thing will be to continue to develop technically but you are right Reine does look a player.

  10. C, yeah, it’s not just that they’re tall and rangy, but that they’re quick and know how to use their bodies. So you’ve got that and game IQ plus technique. Kinsgley Coman is another one – you see all these elements present in players so young, and it’s scary what could happen if it all develops properly. England have produced one footballer like that for as long as I’ve been watching football, and that was Rooney. France seem to produce one or two each year.

  11. @Big Al

    It is scary to think how talented and good they can be if this generation develops. They dominated the youth tournaments for the most part and you see players from last years U21 coming through in the likes of Pogba, Kondogbia, Imbulu, Zouma and the rest. Another player I really like is Rabiot from PSG, you watch him play in that team and he certainly doesn’t look out of place. Just think, England has produced just one and the US has produced 0.

  12. First time at Emirates fir a while… The french lad was superb and Akpom needs to get his head up. Also good from The Ox i thought. Great to hear Cech telling his defence to push up and also screaming at one player to come back when we had a corner… Proper player

  13. I’m also wondering where Hayden might fit in to Arsene’s thoughts. It had been rumored last season that he would debut until he suffered serious injury.

  14. @CA

    Do you think Hayden and Chambers coyld potentially be linked? Both similar in ability to play both CB and DM as far as skill set goes.

  15. Media –

    We need a 20+ goal striker, cos Arsenal don’t know how to score goals.That’s 8 goals against two quality teams

    We need a DM because we have a soft centre. That’s two clean sheets and with Calum-Gabriel-Arteta starting against Wolfsburg.

    We need Yann MVilla or Felipe Melo (to name a few, Carvalho the latest prescribe). Those two former recommendations have turned world class.

    We need to spend 200m quid cos over spending on mediocre players like Liverpool is the way to go. 11m quid on Cech? Where’s your ambition? Spend some F@*king money.

    There’s no such thing as improvement.

    Bellerin and Coquelin would never come good like Ramsey and Walcott. No footballing brain.

    Ox , Welbeck have no chance.

    Why did Wenger bother to pay 42.3m for Ozil cos he is clearly useless.

    Wenger is clearly an idiot and the media knows better how to develop players.Just buy them.

    Why bother converting Henry into a striker or Arteta into a DM or Santi into a Regista?

    Never mind we have to pay bills as a self sufficient club.

    According to Sir peckham junction talkalotofbollocks, we have enough money to buy Messi, Neymar, Cronaldo and Hannibal Lechter.

  16. You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!

  17. @C

    Chambers has stated he sees himself as a CB. I thought he did well today alongside Gabriel. They were out under more pressure than our incumbents in the first match. I believe Arsene is right to say we have 4 quality CB’s at the club. I wouldn’t rule out a loan for Chambers in his desired position. Mertesacker could be facing some real competition this season.

    Hayden is a DMC that has position fled, but a DMC first. His forays in the CB role was really due to injuries and loss of form for others in that role. He is no nonsense like Le Coq, perhaps in time he’ll be labelled limited as well. A loan wouldn’t go amiss unless he is seen as a back up in the DMC.

    What is most interesting is that Arsenal are right now largely injury free. When was the last time we could say that? Need to go find some wood to knock on.

  18. Lol, it’s a world where 6 + 1 = 8 Wavey so you know it’s not going to be one that most of us are familiar with. Never mind mere world domination, we’re on our way to kicking galactic arse! Ming the Merciless here we come!

  19. Lol… So can the English so I would rather not 🙂 you can have Russell Crowe. I actually met him once at a private party in Toronto.

  20. I do think though we may possibly see one more signing.

    As mentioned i feel Arsene is prepared to go one more season with the vastly experience Arteta as back up to the rapidly improved Coquelin. However the much derided and frankly still useful Flamini could still be retained should Wenger not find the prequisite quality to price for a future DM/Central mid.

    And it seems to be pointing that way with Ramsey tried alongside Santi, Hayden also given a go (Toral does not look convincing and Bielik should be two seasons or more away)

    It all depends on price to what we could retain with Flamini (and conversely the offers for him). If Wenger does not find a solution, he may well keep Flamini on for versatility from the bench.

    Even with a spot open for younger hopefuls we should have a position open out wide still. But it will either be a player close to end of his tenure as a stop gap or another young player but slightly ahead of our youth pack. We have yet to see Gnabry and Campbell pre-season so likely the former will be on loan and the later sold.

    Currently we have great cover on the flanks with Alexis, Walcott, Ox as primary and Santi, Ramsey, Welbeck able to cover.

    We have also good cover up top with Giroud covered by a developing Welbeck and Walcott as an alternative approach.

    We could add one more player who can compete out wide but also have value up top but opportunities are tight/competition fierce.

    again I think some of the younger players are still a season or so to competitive so if there is an attractive enough proposition in market, there may be possibility for Wenger to bite (particularly if he has concluded Walcott’s issue and considering Santi is currently a deeper Regista option)

  21. @CA

    I thought Chambers did well at CB too but Arsene has also talked about him playing in that DM role too. A loan will do him some good no doubt and maybe not this season bur the following could see Mert lossing match time to Chambers. Gabriel will push both Kos and Mert no doubt.

    I think Hayden has shown well at CB as well( he did well in his one appearance last season in the Cup) but he is a presense in that DM role as well. A loan will be best for him this season but he just needs a season were he can stay fully fit.

    Shhhh don’t mention injury free.

  22. That must have been interesting. He is a polarising figure. The fact you are offering him up suggests you weren’t impressed!

  23. C,
    I like Gabriel. Didn’t put a foot wrong when he played his minutes last season. Probably stays no.3 this year, and then steps up for BFG.

  24. Definitely not impressed Phil. Could point to a lot of things but I won’t, suffice to say I came away very unimpressed. Theo’s finish was excellent, the ball to him sublime.

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