Boreham Wood 0 Arsenal 2: The Gunners Kick Start their Preseason on a High
Meadow Park (Friendly)
Arsenal 2 (Olsson 68′, Afobe (pen 86′)) – Boreham Wood 0
Arsenal began the game with a perfect blend of youth and experience as the players came out for the first time donning the new Puma kit with Aaron Ramsey leading the line.
As expected, Szczesny started in goal and he had a defensive setup featuring Nacho Monreal and Carl Jenkinson on the flanks while Semi Ajayi and Isaac Hayden played in the heart of the defense. In midfield, Ramsey and Francis Coquelin played as the double pivot while Gedion Zelalem played ahead of them. The attacking triumvirate was made up of Yaya Sanogo in the middle with Jon Toral and Chris Willock providing support.
Coquelin swept up play in midfield before teeing up Toral. The young Spaniard waltzed with the ball before finding Ramsey that knocked an intelligent cushioned pass for Jenkinson. The fullback launched a cross for Sanogo but the goalie latched onto the ball before the lanky French forward. Shortly afterwards, Monreal fed Ramsey that made a run to the edge of the area but he chose to pass the ball to Sanogo that lashed his tame shot wide. Sanogo continued to probe the opposition and he had a great chance to score but his effort was saved by Russell.
Ramsey linked up with Zelalem and was afforded a chance at goal. The Welsh maestro fancied his chances and blasted a ball tha went wide off the mark. Arsenal continued to ask questions of the Boreham Wood defense and the Gunners almost broke the deadlock when Toral carved the defense open with the lovely ball to Sanogo. The French forward chose to return the favor and Toral’s one-timed shot clipped the post and went wide.
Sanogo’s unfortunate day in front of goal continued when Le Coq dinked a ball that fell kindly to his path from a poor defensive header but he blasted the ball at Russell.
In the second half, Arsene Wenger for fresh sets of legs as Damian Martinez manned the sticks while Kieran Gibbs, Ignasi Miquel, Julio Pleguezuelo and Hector Bellerin formed the new look back line. Abou Diaby, yes, the real Abou Diaby played alongside Mathieu Flamini in the holding role with Tomas Rosicky playing as the creative hub. Kris Olsson, Chuba Akpom and Benik Afobe formed the attacking trio.
Arsenal’s first meaningful attack of the half came when Bellerin and Olsson exchanged passes superbly on the right but Olsson’s lobbed effort was headed over the goal. The moment Arsenal fans would have cherished almost arrived when the Gunners interchanged some passes before the ball fell to Diaby’s path in the edge of the box. The Frenchman used his left foot to fire his effort over the bar. I’m pretty sure that many would have loved to see Diaby on the score sheet.
Akpom was the next player to sting the goalie’s palm with a hot shot after a neat pass from Rosicky. Little Mozart was orchestrating things in the middle yet again when he mesmerized the opposition in the middle of the park before sending the ball to Bellerin bu the fullback’s cross was intercepted by Russell. It was no surprise when Rosicky, yet again, meandered his way through the ball before releasing a peach of a pass to Olsson that matched the buildup with a brilliant chipped finish.
After Gibbs had spurned the chance Akpom created for him, the Nig-English youngster darted forward and blasted a shot that was saved by Russell. Akpom was to have a hand in the match clincher when he executed a brilliant piece of skill to leave two Boreham Wood defenders for dead before crossing the ball and with Afobe impeded in the box, the ref pointed to the spot.
Afobe’s run up to the spot was awkward but he still placed the ball past Russell to put the game beyond doubt. At the end, it was a good run out for the lads and had the goalie, Russell, not been in top form, the scoreline wouldn’t have been this flattering.
The clash against New York Red Bulls comes up next.
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