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Arsenal Cruise To 4-0 Pre-Season Win Against Malaysia XI

Abhishek Iyer
821   //    14 Jul 2011, 11:23 IST

Arsenal played their first pre-season game of the season against Malaysia XI and emerged with a comfortable 4-0 win at the end of ninety minutes. The Gunners are in the middle of a promotional tour to Asia to expand and connect better with their fan base, not to mention broaden their monetary revenue, and the first match they played was a success on all fronts.

The team put out by manager Arsene Wenger was a strong one considering the nascent stages of pre-season were going on. Wojciech Szczesny started in goal, new signing Carl Jenkinson got a chance to showcase his wares at right back while Gibbs got a chance to show Wenger that a new left back wasn’t needed in the transfer window. The midfield trio consisted of Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Song, while the triumvirate up front was made up of Moroccan Marouane Chamakh, Japanese whizkid Ryo Miyaichi and English speed demon Theo Walcott. The centre back pairing was the untried one of Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny.

Arsenal started the game at breakneck pace, whizzing their passes about with ease and leaving the Malaysia players dizzy. In as early as the fifth minute, Gibbs ran the channels and slipped in a pass to Wilshere, who was upended in the box while making a dangerous forward run. Ramsey stepped up to take the resulting penalty and expertly sent the keeper the wrong way. Arsenal had their one goal lead and there seemed to be the makings of a rout.

But the Malaysia XI players pulled their socks up after the early rattle given to them, and kept a better shape for the rest of the half.  Arsenal had sporadic efforts on goal but it was far from an endless barrage after the first fifteen minutes. But then in the 39th minute, Ramsey had the ball in midfield and played a cracking cross field pass right in the path of Theo Walcott, who had made a perfectly timed run and consequently lobbed the keeper to double Arsenal’s lead. The Gunners thus went in at half time with a cushion and having had a good run out.

Good run out

He second half brought forth wholesale changes from manager Arsene Wenger. Denilson, Vela, Mannone, Squillaci, Djourou, Traore, Frimpong and Rosicky came on and Miyaichi, Jenkinson and Ramsey were left as the only survivors from the first half. Arsenal started the second half in similar vein to the first, with passes flying around faster than the Malaysia XI players could see. Rosicky got the ball in an advanced position after a slew of one-touch passes, and threaded it through to Vela, who composed himself before beating the hapless keeper with a delightful chip.

Midway through the second half, Wenger decided to treat the crowd and bring out the artillery. Robin van Persie, Bacary Sagna, Andrey Arshavin and Samir Nasri came on as Arsenal’s big name players were given a 20 minute run through. Nasri seemed particularly committed after coming on, almost scoring with his first touch and going on many mazy runs. The fourth goal duly came in the ninetieth minute, when Arshavin was set free on the flank and lobbed the ball for the onrushing Rosicky to head home as the whistle blew.

Talking about the new players, both Carl Jenkinson and Ryo Miyaichi gave a good account of themselves in the match. Miyaichi has made an incredible jump up from the schools of Japan to staking a claim in the Arsenal first team in less than a year, and impressed all rpesent with his raw pace and willingness to press the opposition full back. Meanwhile, Jenkinson put in a no-frills, sensible shift in defence, clearing out any balls when needed and also passing forward with ease. Both players will surely get further chance in pre-season based on their performance in this match.

Miyaichi impressed with his pace

Arsenal now travel to China in a continuation of their promotional Asia tour, and take on Hangzhou Greentown on Saturday in their second friendly. Looking at the crowd of close to 70,000 that gathered here to watch and cheer on their idols from England, Arsenal can expect a similar, if not more emphatic response in China.

Abhishek Iyer
24 year old, short term pessimist and long term optimist gooner. If you read any of my stuff and come to the conclusion that I know nothing about football, we\'ve finally reached an agreement.
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