Barnet 1- 2 Arsenal – Match Report
A warm July afternoon saw Arsenal kick-off the 2008/09 campaign with a game at Underhill against League 2 side Barnet.
The early exchanges saw Barnet on top with Almunia called upon to make an early save. Arsenal eventually settled down and started to dominate with early glimpses of Ramsey’s ability on display. Bendtner had two early chances but his first touch let him down.
After 16 minutes, Arsenal conceded a free-kick on the edge of the box, which was taken by French player Gillett. He curled the ball around the wall and Almunia was unable to prevent the Bees taking the lead.
The goal knocked Arsenal and silenced their fans. It was not long before Arsenal started to pass the ball around and try to create chances. Arsenal’s best chance of the half came after a mazy run from Denllson, he found Walcott who created space for himself, but his shot was well saved.
Most of the work and creativity came from Welshman Ramsey. Playing Traore on the left wing did not work, as Traore lacked the final ball, plenty of running but no end product. Nordveit showed a lot of promise and composure, making a couple of worthy interceptions.
Arsenal went in at half-time trailing 1-0, Arsene Wenger knew that the team was not sharp enough in front of goal and changes will be made.
Wholesale changes were made in the second half, including a debut for new signing Francis Coquelin.
Neil Banfield’s reserve played like a team and within 10 minutes Mark Randall and Nacer Barazite both came close to equalising.
Where Ramsey left off, another Arsenal starlet, Wlishere picked the ball up on the wing, threaded a great ball to young Simpson who made no mistake in bringing the Gunners level on the hour mark. Arsenal continued to push forward and in the 75th minute another great ball from Wilshere found Simpson, who looked up and played a ball ac cross to Barazite who buried the ball to give Arsenal the lead.
After the goal Arsenal lost some of their composure, they created little and were content to see the game out.
What has Wenger learnt from this outing? Ramsey, Randall, Willshere are players to be considered for first team, duty. Traore is no winger, he will become a much maligned figure on the wing. Bendtner let himself down, so it will be interesting to see him over the next couple of weeks, will he add pressure on Adebayor or will he be content to play second fiddle to the Togolese striker. Overall a good work out, now on to Austra for the next phase of pre-season..
First Half Starting Line Up
Almunia ; Sagna; Nordveit; Hoyte (J) ;Clichy – Lansbury; Denilson; Ramsey; Traore – Walcott; Bendtner
Second Half Starting Line Up
Manone (Szczezny -75) -Agogo Dunne -75); Hoyte (G); Rodgers; Steer – Randall, Wilshere; Barazite; Coqeulin;- Fonte; Simpson