Arsenal 0 Monaco 1: Gunners Suffer Another Preseason Setback
Arsenal 0 – AS Monaco 1 (Falcao 37′)
Emirates (Emirates Cup)
After the entertaining masterpiece against Benfica, the fans were hoping for more of the same and there were cheers all round when the starting line up was displayed. Arsene Wenger had made eight changes from the squad that was triumphant against Benfica but it was more or less a very strong lineup.
Arsenal almost drew first blood when Jack Wilshere teed up Santi Cazorla with a carefully threaded pass but the Spaniard’s cut back was blocked. Monaco responded well with Joao Moutinho closing down on goal but his attempt on target was launched into orbit. Dirar swung in a cross that almost embarrassed Wojciech Szczesny but the ball crept away.
Arsenal attacked with incisive intent when Mikel Arteta’s lobbed effort arrived at Nacho Monreal’s feet. The fullback fashioned a chance for Aaron Ramsey but the Welsh Jesus chose to pass when we would have expected him to let one rip. Ramsey then tried to create a chance for Olivier Giroud but after beating the goalie, his touch sent the ball beyond the line for a goal kick.
Monaco continued to probe with Moutinho and Carrasco firing their efforts wide. Calum Chambers arrived at the scene to fire a Cazorla corner over the bar. Giroud executed a neat back heeled pass to Wilshere but the Frenchman was offside. On the other end, Wilshere lounged at a player to concede a free kick. Moutinho dinked the ball into the danger area and an unmarked Radamel Falcao nodded the ball past Szczesny to score his first goal since his long injury lay-off.
Arsenal fought hard for an equaliser with Matt Debuchy crossing a ball that was intended for Giroud but Raggi anticipated the ball for a corner.
At the start of the second half, Wenger brought on the Ox and Miquel for the ineffetual Giroud and Chambers. Alexis Sanchez showed great work rate to win a trailing ball to Cazorla, who in turn teed up Wilshere but the Englishman’s shot was parried by Subasic. That turned out to be Wilshere’s last telling contribution as the manager replaced him with Gedion Zelalem. Mathieu Flamini came on for Cazorla while Chuba Akpom replaced Alexis.
Moments after Zelalem arrived on the pitch, the most controversial period came up in rather bizarre fashion thanks to more shitty officiating from the linesman. Zelalem split the defense open with a sumptuous ball for Akpom and the youngster used his pace to nick the ball past Subasic inside the box before he was tripped. The ref had initially pointed to the spot but he changed his decision after discussions with his linesman, then he awarded a free kick instead.
Ramsey fired the dead ball at the wall and a great chance went begging. Late on, Hector Bellerin replaced Debuchy and that was it from an attacking perspective as the Gunners lost the game, which meant that the winners of the 2014 Emirates Cup is Valencia.
Poor officiating was a problem that messed things up in the Premier League last season. I’m hoping that trend doesn’t continue in the new campaign.
Nonetheless, it was a setback for the Gunners.
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