Smiles all round as Arsenal win Emirates Cup
I didn’t catch the game today, but I did watch highlights on Arsenal TV and from what I saw Arsenal looked pretty good. Alexander Hleb worked well in behind Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Eboue impressed again on the right wing. There was one piece of dribbling from Eboue in particular where he skipped past three Inter Milan challenges that suggests to me that he might yet cut the mustard on the right. He does need to stop diving around like a muppet though.
One thing I have particularly noticed is that Arsene Wenger seems to be encouraging the boys to dribble as much as possible to create space for the other players. I think it’s working well, but it might be a different story against the more physical English sides. Nevertheless it was a superb result for an exciting Arsenal side that suggest the side’s preparations for next season are going very well. For those like myself who missed the game I’ve included a match report from Goal.com and some video highlights below (stay tuned for van Persie’s quirky Dutch/English accent in the interview that is also included).
Van Persie stunner wins it for Arsenal
Youthful Arsenal answered several questions today with a sparkling performance against Inter Milan that gave them their second win in two days and saw them left the first Emirates Cup. After David Suazo had put Inter ahead against the run of play, Alexander Hleb and Robin Van Persie responded in style for the Gunners.
Arsene Wenger will have been delighted with the way his side played in overcoming Inter. Their trademark slick inter-passing play was often at its fluent best, as the Gunners played with a high tempo and plenty of confidence.
Looking comfortable on the ball, the hosts took the game to Inter from the start and it was a telling statistic that Inter scored with effectively their first attempt on goal – after more than an hour’s play.
By then, Robin Van Persie, Matheu Flamini, Emmanuel Eboue, Bacary Sagna and Alexander Hleb had all tested Julio Cesar and then Francesco Toldo in the Inter goal.
There must have been some apprehension in the Arsenal dug-out and among the capacity 60,000 crowd at the Emirates Stadium that Arsenal’s dominance would not be translated into goals. That was the story of last seasdon, this one had a happy ending.
Inter manager Roberto Mancini had sprung a surprise by fielding new signing from Roma, Christian Chivu, in his starting XI, while Wenger also pulled a rabbit out of the hat by giving a start to 17-year-old Londoner Kieran Gibbs on the left of the midfield. Gibbs certainly had and enjoyable afternoon.
In Van Persie, Emmanuel Eboue and Alexander Hleb, ably supported by Cesc Fabregas and Gibbs, Arsenal had the game’s outstanding performers – although Cesar and Toldo impressed between the posts for Inter.
Van Persie was at the centre of most of Arsenal’s best moves, dropping deep to link-up with his midfield as Arsenal repeatedly created threatening attacks.
The Dutchman forced the first important save of the match, testing Cesar with a low drive and then going close with a smartly taken shot and a free-kick that dipped just over.
The right flank was a productive source for the Gunners, with Emmanual Eboue, playing in an advanced role, repeatedly spreading panic through the Inter defence with a succession of athletic, surging runs. He was ably backed up on the right by new signing Bacary Sagna, who looked completely at home.
Mathieu Flamini and Sagna both forced saves from Cesar, but the game remined goalless at the interval despite Arsenal’s dominance and invention.
They might have had a penalty when Van Persie was pushed in the back, but instead fell behind after 62 minutes when, in an isolated attack, Suazo met a right wing cross with a perfectly placed header, despite the attentions of William Gallas, that beat Jens Lehmann at the near post. The German keeper had previously been more or less unemployed.
The pattern of missing numerous chances and being punished at the other end looked like reappearing, but within three minutes the Gunners were deservedly level. Wenger will be delighted with his players’ response, Alexander Hleb equalising at the second attempt after Eboue and Sagna played him in and his first shot was beaten out by Toldo.
And with five minutes remaining, Van Persie received the ball from Eboue on his favourite left foot but, with a sublime turn, wrong-footed the Inter defence to switch the ball to his right and hammer it cleanly into the roof of Toldo’s net.
It was a goal fit to win both the match and the Emirates Cup – and sends a message to all those who have been writing Arsenal off during the summer.
Match report thanks to Goal.com.
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