Arsene Wenger and his stalwarts began their pre season campaign on a positive note with a comfortable 4-0 victory over a Singapore Select XI in the second semi final of the Barclay’s Asia Trophy.
Arsenal used the opportunity to wear the beautiful gold away jersey, however, I am sure the fans were slightly dissapointed when Wenger rested his big guns like Cech, Ozil, Ramsey, Walcott , Giroud, Carzola and co but instead gave first starts to Nigeria- born striking pair, Chuba Akpom and Alex Iwobi. Wenger also raised eye brows when he named a bench of entire youngsters with Crawley, Willock, Zelalem, Toral making up the bench along with Bellerin and Szczesny.
Arsenal started brightly with Chamberlain and Akpom having opportunities to score but came up against highly rated Singaporean keeper, Izwann Mahbud. It was however Alex Iwobi that caught the eye in the opening periods and his lay-off set up Akpom for the opening goal on 30 mins.
In the 2nd half, Wenger brought on Szczesny for Martinez. Iwobi and Chamberlain continued his good form continued their good form with good chances but it was the run of Debuchy that caused the Penalty, Wilshere dispatching it on 60 mins.
The game all but secured, Wenger brought in his young guns, Crowley, Zelalem, Willock ( with Toral entering later) and they really impressed.
Great combination play involving Crowley, Akpom and Toral lead to another penalty, Akpom dispatching it well.
Great persistence from Zelalem and a sumptuous cross from Bellerin gave the young striker the opportunity to get his hatrick and Arsenal’s third and he duly obliged.
In all it was a good work out and a nice performance even though the Singaporeans really impressed.
Chuba Akpom scored his first goals for the club in his first start and would surely be optimistic about his future.
It was however, the performance of Alex Iwobi that would however get Wenger thinking especially with Alexis to miss the first league game.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Clearly, Chuba Akpom. Good hatrick and a very energetic performance.
TALKING POINT: ARSENAL YOUNG GUNS COME TO THE FORE
This was always going to be a critical pre season for the younger players and they did really well, Crawley and Zelalem bossed the middle well while Willock was exciting too. But can they step up like Bellerin?
Welcome at last to live football from Arsenal, next is Everton in the final on Saturday. 😉