Arsenal youngsters showed exactly what they could do when they took to the field in the clubs opening pre-season friendly against an Indonesian Dream Team. Ignasi Miquel, Serge Gnabry and Chuba Akpom all started.
The Gunners enjoyed the majority of possession, which is what was expected of them and they eventually took the lead as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s strength and pace saw him easily beat his defender before re-tracking his run and laying the ball to Theo Walcott for a simple finish. However the Gunners couldn’t find a second.
Arsene Wenger rang the changes the half-time with fellow young guns Chuks Aneke, Gedion Zelalem, Kris Olsson and Thomas Eisfeld getting on the pitch. The pace of the game slowed but the link-up play between the players grew. German teenager Gnabry skipped past a defender before firing in a low cross that Akpom converted.
Carl Jenkinson also impressed at right-back before another set of changes saw him replaced by Bacary Sagna. The Frenchman’s introduction combined with a set of other substitutions saw the Gunners extend their lead. The full-backs cut-back was expertly finished by Oliver Giroud and the same combination minutes later gave Arsenal a fourth.
Tomas Rosicky and Lukas Podolski combined with the German powering in a fifth to give Arsenal a healthy lead on their pre-season friendly bow. Rosicky was at it again when his lofty cross was volleyed in by Kris Olsson and Thomas Eisfeld added gloss to the scoreline with an emphatic finish following Giroud’s knockback.
It was the perfect game to start off their Asia tour and gave the young players a great chance to shine. Gnabry was always looking to get beyond his man while Akpom’s lone striking role saw him make intelligent runs and his goal will give him plenty of confidence. Further goals for Olsson and Eisfeld will hopefully see them flourish while 16-year old wonderkid, Zelalem will no doubt learn a lot from the experience. Chuks Aneke was deployed in a much deeper role than he is used to but dealt with the challenge well while Argentinian ‘keeper Martinez wasn’t troubled.
Other stand out performers were Jenkinson and Aaron Ramsey who looks to carrying last seasons form in to the new campaign. Arsenal’s next friendly is against Vietnam on Wednesday with a much changed line-up expected. Wojciech Szczesny, Jack Wilshere and Ryo Miyaichi were the three players who didn’t play today so they could all start.