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Szombathelyi Haladas 1-1 Arsenal – Match Report

Arsenal’s second game of the pre-season took place in Hungary. As always with friendlies at the start of pre-season, it more about players getting into the groove, ironing out bad habits and getting fit. Club’s view the results as secondary. It is a time that allows the fringe and younger players to impress the boss and his coaching staff.

Another youthful looking team took the field, with the much awaited appearance of Carlos Vela. A crowd of 13,00 came to see Arsenal, amongst them plenty of Arsenal fans.

The Hungarians were determined to show that they were not going to be cannon fodder for Arsenal’s attackers. Bendtner knew this was the last game before Adebayor was available and was determined to stake a first team place, he combined well with Carlos Vela to give Denilson the chance, which the young Brazilian did well but hit the crossbar. This was the big Dane’s highlight of another disappointing outing. Vela on the other hand was a live wire with an array of passes and runs. His link up with Walcott almost paid off, but Theo mis-hit his shot and the chance went begging.

At the back Wenger paired the Hoyte brothers as a centre back pairing. Unfortunately, this did neither any favours and they failed to gel together, creating havoc at the back and it was no surprise that the Hungarians took the lead after 24 minutes.

Once again a promising start resulted in the Gunners having to fight back, a familiar story in the Premier League now the story of pre-season.

In midfield Wilshere, Ramsey and Denilson all beavered away to create chances, that few and far between. Just as half-time was looming, Bendtner cushioned the ball down to Walcott who slid the ball home for the equaliser.

Half-time came and Wenger separated the Hoyte brothers, with Sagna and Clichy playing as centre backs and Traore coming on for Gavin. Ramsey gave way for Randall, whilst Vela departed for Lansbury.

The second half was a poor display from both sides. The Hungarians defended deep and Arsenal did not have the ability to open them up. Bendtner was having no luck up front and it was no surprise to see the energetic Simpson come on for the Dane. Too often Arsenal ran into dead-ends.

Randall took over from Ramsey in helping Denilson run the midfield. The young Englishman had two good chances, but his shooting is something he needs to work on.

Coquelin who came on for the impressive Wilshere looked a good prospect. He did things quietly and effectively, he broke up play and set up attacks, without being flash.

The game petered out to a 1-1 draw.

Wenger knows not to pick the Hoytes at back, Wilshere is developing and could push for a Premier appearance or two. Ramsey will rise to the challenge for next season and Vela is goign to be hot property.  As for the strikers, Simpson is giving Arsenea lot of thought as to what to do with him, whislt Bendtner needs to buck his ideas up and quick.

Line-up: Almunia (Mannone -45) – Sagna ; Hoyte (J) ; Hoyte (G) (Traore -45) ; Clichy – Vela (Randall -45) ; Wilshere (Coquelin – 65); Ramsey (Lansbury- 45); Denilson – Walcott; Bendtner (Simpson – 65)