The first big test for Arsenal saw Djourou picked at the back to partner the captain Gallas, ahead of Senderos, whilst Eboue was given a central midfield role, a reversal of what Wenger did with Lauren, a central midfielder converted to right-back. Adebayor was picked to lead Arsenal’s attack alongside Robin van Persie, whilst Samir Nasri made his debut on the left wing allowing Walcott to play on the right side.
Stuttgart were not going to be easy prey for Arsenal, but Arsenal almost made the breakthrough after ten minutes with a great through ball from Adebayor found van Persie with just Lehman in front of him, the Dutchman tried to chip Lehman but this was snapped up by the former Arsenal keeper.
Arsenal were resilient and the defence stood up to all that Stuttgart could throw at them. Djourou and Gallas coped admirably with the Stuttgart attack restricting the Germans to one long-range shot.
Arsenal controlled the midfield, stringing their passes, making runs, and probing the Stuttgart defence always looking for the opening.
On the half hour mark, a great ball from van Persie found Walcott whose shoot brought out a tremendous save from Lehman.
Walcott made several good runs into the area, but his failing was not picking out the Arsenal players at the right time, he needs to improve on this aspect of his game to move up to the next level.
Half-time saw the introduction of Carlos Vela, Nicklas Bendtner, Lukas Fabianski.
Five minutes into the second half a ball through the defence found Basturk unmarked who made it 1-0 to the home team. The midfield duo of Eboue and Denilson were culpable for not following the runner.
The pressure was on Arsenal to come back and show what they were made off. Arsenal were not to disappoint the travelling supporters, Bendtner picked the ball up he saw Vela and flicked it through to him, Vela held the defender off and put the ball past the oncoming Lehman for the equaliser. The control and finish from the Mexican shows the class that will enthral the Premier League in the forthcoming season.
Soon after a series of substitution, a great one-two between Bendtner and Vela saw the Dane slide the ball past Lehman to give Arsenal the lead.
Arsenal kept on looking for more goals and on the 73rd minute a tenacious run by Clichy led to a cross that found Wilshere free in the box, he controlled the ball well and drilled it home for the Gunners’ third of the game.
The game finished 3-1 to Arsenal, though it was not for the want of trying to add to the scoreline.
The game showed that perhaps Djourou has moved ahead of Senderos in Wenger’s thoughts and we might have seen the end of Senderos in an Arsenal shirt.
Bendtner and Vela showed that they were sharper than Adebayor and van Persie, what will have pleased Arsene is that he now has four available strikers who could score at will.
Arsenal’s 16 year-old wonderkid, Wilshere was not embarrassed by stepping up a level, giving the Arsenal boss a conundrum as to whether to give him regular football at Arsenal or to loan him out, because he is clearly too good for reserve team football.
Almunia (Fabianski – 45); Sagna (Hoyte (G) – 77), Gallas, Djourou, Clichy; Walcott (Randall -77), Denilson (Lansbury -85), Eboue (Ramsey -60), Nasri (Wilshere -60); Adebayor (Bendtner – 45), van Persie (Vela -45)(Simpson -85)
Following three lightweight games, the tempo moves up a gear tonight as Arsenal face German team VfB Stuttgart and former Arsenal goalkeeper Jen Lehman.
Today’s game will see a different team from the previous games as Gallas, Senderos and Djourou are all available to play in defence, other players vying for a first start are new signing Samir Nasri, and strikers Robin van Persie and last season’s top scorer Adebayor.
The reception Adebayor receives from the travelling Arsenal fans will be interesting. The only way for Adebayor to answer his critics is to start the season where he left off from last season and score goals.
The return of the centre backs will be a relief for Wenger as he has struggled to find players to fill in at the back. The main concern for the boss is whom does he play in central midfield. Denilson, Randall, and Ramsey have filled in so far, Fabregas is not due to play tonight and Diaby will only make an appearance if he is 100% fit. Wenger will not wish to risk the big French midfielder. It is this paucity of players in midfield that has meant that Wenger is anxious to bring in one or two more players into a depleted midfield.
Carlos Vela will play tonight, whether Arsene wishers to use him up front or on the wing will give an indication as to where he will play next season. Another player who will be getting a run today is Wilshere. Wenger is highly impressed with the 16 year-old but is careful not to over expose him.
Up front, Arsene now has a choice of van Persie, Adebayor, Bendtner, Vela, Walcott, and Simpson. Vela and Walcott may be used on the flanks, whilst Simpson must be rueing the missed opportunities from the Burgenland game.
Today’s game will see former Gunner’s goalkeeper Lehman come up against his old teammates, whilst up front for Stuttgart is one-time Arsenal target Mario Gomez. This game will test Arsenal as the pre-season games come thick and fast and the opposition from now on will be stronger than those faced so far.
Arsenal will be looking for a good performance, passing and running are the key tonight, and the strikers need to take their chances.
The game is live on Arsenal TV and Arsenal TV Online, kick-off 7.15pm.