There are certain traditions at Arsenal which will never change. The team play in red and white, yes that will never change. The first pre-season friendly will be at Underhill against Barnet, that might change. And Nicklas Bendtner has the first touch of an elephant, this MUST change.
The Gunners lined up first half with quite a decent looking eleven in Almunia, Sagna, Justin Hoyte, Nordtviet, Clichy, Traore, Lansbury, Denilson, Ramsey, Walcott, and Bendtner. However the performance did nothing to enhance the reputation of these players in a very disappointing first half, lacking pace, ambition or quality for the most part.
Arsenal fell behind on the 15 minute mark to a sucker-punch free kick routine. The challenge from Nordtveit was late enough to probably earn a yellow in The Premiership, but being a friendly, he got away with a ticking off, however the punishment was greater from the resulting dead-ball. Almunia lined up a traditional wall, but Barnet were cheeky in switching the ball to the nearside as opposed to the predicted ball into the centre, and Almunia was beaten with pace at his nearpost, down to his right. Up until the whistle for half-time, Arsenal were never really at the races, with Bendtner squandering a chance or two, and losing possession at vital times during build up with overly heavy first touches.
Arsene Wenger rang the changes at half time, and they were to pay almost immediate dividends, most notably Jack Wilshire who virtually controlled proceedings throughout the second half with deft touches, fine vision and passes, and a hand in both the second half goals that eventually restored normal order. Jay Simpson was the first to prosper with a fine strike across the goalkeeper, followed a while later by Nacer Baritze scoring for the second year running with a wonderful finish.
Certainly on the look of the second half, the future is very bright.
Full time, 2-1 to Arsenal.
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