Arsenal vs. Boreham Wood: 6 Things We Learned
Boreham Wood, Hertfordshire
Arsenal beat Boreham Wood 2-0 to record a victory in their first preseason friendly of the summer.
The goals came from Kristoffer Olsson, who lifted the ball delicately over the goalkeeper after a Tomas Rosicky through-ball, and a Benik Afobe penalty.
The game was played at a slow place as Arsenal sought to shake off the rust accumulated by a summer on the beach. However, there were still six things we learnt at this fixture which lend us clues ahead of next season. Read on to discover more.
Yaya Sanogo's Finishing Hasn't Improved over the Summer
Arsenal's two best chances of the first half both fell to Yaya Sanogo. Whatever he has spent his summer doing, it doesn't appear to have been practising his finishing.
In both instances he was denied by the Boreham Wood goalkeeper when he really ought to have scored. One could call it rustiness, but Sanogo has never scored in an Arsenal shirt. If the young Frenchman is to develop in to a top striker he must add more composure to his game.
Chuba Akpom Deserves More Opportunities
Is Yaya Sanogo any better than Chuba Akpom? Watching Akpom in the second half, it appeared that all the Frenchman has over the Englishman is height.
Akpom is skilful, direct, and quick, with a natural predatory instinct. In the lead up to Arsenal's second goal, he produced a remarkable piece of improvisation to leave two defenders bamboozled. He impressed in last year's preseason tour of Asia, and will hope for more opportunities to show what he can do before the 2014/15 season kicks off.
Wojciech Szczesny Is a True Gooner
One of the first half highlights had little to do with on-field action and more to do with a neat piece of interaction between Wojciech Szczesny and the Arsenal fans.
Arsenal fans in the standing end at Boreham Wood's ground began singing, "Sit down if you hate Tottenham!" In response, Szczesny sat down in his Arsenal goal. The fans responding by singing, "Stand up if you hate Tottenham!"
Szczesny stood up.
Aaron Ramsey Is Emerging as a True Leader
Aaron Ramsey wore the captain's armband for the first half, and it suited him.
He's not a talker. Ramsey leads by example. For the first 45 minutes, he was the game's outstanding player. He linked Arsenal's midfield and attack, and his energy levels were outstanding. Ramsey will have benefited from a summer of rest and recuperation, and looks ready to propel Arsenal towards glory in 2014/15.
Thomas Vermaelen Could Leave Arsenal This Summer
In his post-match press conference, Arsene Wenger admitted that he could not guarantee that club captain Thomas Vermaelen would remain at Arsenal.
In the immediate aftermath of the game, Wenger told the club's official website, "I cannot guarantee he will stay, but should he go I would bring another centre-back in for sure".
It sounds as if Wenger is somewhat resigned to losing the Belgian. Arsenal fans will hope he has already identified a suitable replacement.
Spirits Are High
Arsene Wenger and his squad of players were warmly welcomed by the Arsenal fans. Wenger in particular took the time to sign scores of autographs.
This time a year ago, tensions around the club were high, and Wenger's stock was not quite so buoyant. However, the club's victory in the FA Cup and the marquee signings of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez have pacified the supporters.
Spirits are good, and they'll only be lifted by the return to the club of three World Cup winners. The morale bodes well for the coming campaign.