Arsenal (3 – 1) Everton: Gunners Bring the Asia Trophy Home
Arsenal (Walcott 22′, Cazorla 58′, Ozil 62′) (3 – 1) Everton (Barkley 75′)
Match Report – Match Highlights – Post-Match Press Conference (via Arsenal.com)
Arsene Wenger promised the big boys in the final and boy, we got the big boys in the final. The fans were more than happy to see that bloke with the rugby helmet standing between the sticks for the Gunners and his every touch was met with a roar from the Arsenal faithful, giving him a debut he’d never forget – something he acknowledged after the game.
When you have a world class legendary goalie like Cech guarding your goal, the team is inspired to do better and he proved his worth with a magnificent finger-tipped save that made my jaw drop. Then there was the routine stuff – diving well to save Luke Garbutt’s long range shot and showing his dominance in the box to deal with a corner – something David Ospina had issues with from time to time. He could do nothing for Ross Barkley’s left-footed volley though. That was a wonder strike…no thanks to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The lads played for the first time last season and their collective performances went a very long way to show how much this team has improved – even though there’s still room for improvements in other aspects. Theo Walcott is well-known for being a goal-hungry machine and he latched unto Santi Cazorla’s dinking pass to score the opening goal of the match.
However, the Englishman was on a selfish streak at times, trying so hard to find the net when a simple pass to a teammate would have been better. He also missed a couple of sitters you’d expect a player of his immense quality to score. He can get the benefit of the doubt because he’s working his way to full fitness following his ACL injury but with the stiff competition for places in the squad he shouldn’t be squandering the opportunities he gets. Then there was the other Englishman, the Ox, that had a series of hot and cold moments in the game. Alex needs to work on his consistency if he’s to excel in this team but he’s a young lad and he has a lot to learn.
The second goal was a thing of beauty from the captain of the night, Cazorla. After coming up short for a corner, he flaunted his ambidexterity with both feet and made a complete fool out of James McCarthy before guiding the ball past Joel Robles with his left foot.
I can’t think of anybody in the team that would have scored that way besides Alexis Sanchez maybe. Twisting and turning a marker before guiding the ball past a hapless goalie on his near post. Think Alexis against Stoke.
The third was truly the icing on the cake. Mesut Ozil started the move with Cazorla and quickly received a pass from the Spanish magician that put him clear on goal. All he had to do was pick his spot and he placed the ball superbly past Robles.
There were two experiments Arsene Wenger made in the course of the game which included Calum Chambers continuing his football education as a center back. With Hector Bellerin and Matt Debuchy battling for the right back berth, Chambers’ chances of featuring in that position can only come from a combination of injuries or suspensions. At the middle, he has Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista in front of him so it’s simply a case of taking the chances when they come. The second experiment was deploying Aaron Ramsey in the holding midfield role while Francis Coquelin sat on the bench. I can’t really say I was entirely convinced but Ramsey was plain ol’ Ramsey doing his thing on the pitch, even though there were moments he drifted forward to support the attack and that’s not were I would want my DM to be, especially when a counter attack erupts from the opposition.
The fans filled the stadium and they went into raptures when the spokesman announced that 52,100 seats were taken on the night. That has become the new capacity record in the tournament. Kudos to Ivan Gazidis and his team for making Arsenal a very dominant force in Asia.
It’s time to return back to London to plan for the Emirates Cup before locking horns with Jose Mourinho in the Community Shield.
It’s time to prepare for my lectures.
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