I spent a lot of today sitting at my desk at work thinking of how to compare preseason football to the real deal. Needless to say, my boss was blissfully unaware of these thoughts and nodded knowingly as i jotted busily on my notepad… “Monday morning and the guys hard at it, think he deserves a raise…” the best i could come up with is that preseason football is kind of like when a plumpety chick gets in your line of sight as you try to make eye contact with the hot young thing that was just at the end of the bar at 2am. The good stuff is so far away that if you’re that desperate for some action, you’ll give anything a try just to get your rocks off.
And that’s what preseason football is.
Anyway, a bit of a roundup of the overnight action as we had our first hit out of the preseason tour against the might of Indonesia’s dream XI. It was a welcome distraction from the mounting frustration of a slow start to a transfer window where a good portion of the fans are baying for the top, top signings we’ve heard tell about so often. I was pretty keen to get in and watch a few of the lesser known players get a run out next to the big boys in the squad. Guys like Gnabry, Eisfeld, Akpom and Zelalem were all named in the squad alongside names like Ramsey, Mertesacker, Arteta and Walcott, so I was keen to see how they compared.
An estimated crowd of 40,000 filed into the stadium on a sweaty Jakarta night and provided a great atmosphere as the game unfolded. Ramsey was busy and willing early on. It appeared that we played the game with a similar formation to that which we had seen throughout the last campaign. Gnabry and Walcott sat either side of Akpom up front with a mid triumvirate running things between Defence and Attack. Width through the mid was provided by Jenks and Gibbs who worked up a sweat. Now, clearly we can take about as much from this game as with a pinch of salt due to the level of opposition, but there was a lot to like about what was served up. We moved the ball around at will and made a majority of attacks down either side, building the play up in most cases. Our most effective movements of the game were quick breaks down the flanks, Walcott and the OC both making runs and firing over early on in tough condition. Gnabry looked handy on the ball down the left and made some nice passes in the final third. It was a 45 minute half where Fabianski and our two centre halves were virtual spectators. the only tackle I remember Mertesacker making was the one where he nonchalantly prodded the ball away from the onrushing attacker before dabbing it to Arteta as he kicked off another attack. In fact by the end of the first half it was nearly Kieran Gibbs who was our most attacking player having scuffed one layback into the side netting and just going under a lovely Jenkinson cross prior to that. The highlight of the half was a nice piece of footwork by Welshman Ramsey, who took no mercy on his out matched opponents.
Akpom up front ploughed a lone furrow up front and was quiet for the most part, before being taken off in the 2nd half. Eisfeld and Zelalem came into the midfield after the break and looked pretty good. Zelalem, only 16, has good vision it would seem and was also able to make the passes which opened up the defence on a number of occassions. Eisfeld twice combined with Sagna and Giroud as the big frenchman scored with nearly his first 2 touches after coming on. And apart from that it really was a bit of a formality as some senior players (Rosicky, Poldoski, Koscielny and co) all made appearances and were cheered on by the local crowd.
Special mention to the fans who sang Giroud’s name as he was subbed on, great stuff!!
Moment of the night came as the swarm of handshakes moved to the bench pregame to where Podolski was sat with the biggest, cheesiest grin smeared all over his face. The guy loves life!!
You may have noticed a distinct lack of transfer mumblings in todays blog… its for the best really.
Until next time!