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.
English by birth, Australian by choice. Traffic Engineer, Arsenal ST Holder, Sun DreamTeam Winner, Writer on @GunnersTown, Depeche Mode, Welcome to my world…