And so it came to pass, that ‘The Mighty Arsenal’ came to the ANZ Stadium in Sydney and started the 2017/18 preseason tour with a win. It was not the most convincing but it was a win.
80,000 turned up, on a cold winter’s night, many for the first time, and did Arsenal and Australia proud.
In a country where football is the fourth sport behind AFL, Rugby Union and Rugby league, to 80,000 passionate fans (mostly Gooners) is a major achievement.
Fortunately, for me, as the resident scribe, I was there to represent Gunners Town as their official journo for the evening.
Now, I am not the best at writing match reports, so I will have to do it my way.
Things I took from tonight’s game;
Reiss Nelson – on first impressions this lad has talent. Quick feet, can pick a pass, not afraid to get stuck in and not afraid to shoot. Here’s hoping it is not a one off and this lad has a future at The Arsenal. He was awarded ‘Man of the Match’ and should be deservedly proud of his efforts.
The one that got away – Andrew Redmayne. Yet another keeper has a blinder against The Arsenal. Without him in goal for Sydney FC it could, I reiterate, could have been a cricket score. (Oh yeah that it the other sport slightly bigger than footie over here!)
In the post-match press conference, Arsene gave Redmayne the highest compliment, stating, “Arsenal made a mistake in letting him go”; referring to a 2-week trial, he had as a sixteen year old. High praise indeed.
Freebie of the season (already sorted) – Kolasinac looks a unit and he looks the part. Composed, strong, secure and not backwards in getting in a tackle. He seriously looks a quality addition at wingback or centre back.
Lacazzetta – $90 million, 20 minutes, one goal. A good start to his Arsenal career. However, not sure he is a left-winger.
Theo Mahrez – Walcott has tried to reinvent himself over the summer, but to no avail. I know its preseason and it is the first game etc. Nevertheless, he was so far off the pace, his first, second and third touch was poor, him passing was non-existent and just didn’t contribute anything. At best, he is fourth choice centre forward and third choice right-winger. Time to let him go.
Australian referees are pants – that was by far the worst penalty decision ever. In most Australian sports, you are supposed the handle the ball; in this case, there were no hands near any balls.
Record breakers – Arsenal set a world record* of the most substitutions at one time. 10!!!
- to be ratified by the Guinness Book of Records
Unfortunately, the players were not very talkative in the post-match mix room, so I did not get any interviews.
Right, now onto the open training session tomorrow and Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday.