[GOALS & REPORT] Malaysia XI 0 – Arsenal 4: Mayaichi & Ramsey Impress For Gunners
On their first trip to Asia for over ten years, the first of two commercial friendlies to be played in July was against a Malaysia XI, kicking off at 1:45pm on the 13th July in an intensely hot and humid Bukit Jalil stadium, where the 50,000 strong crowd created a vuvuzela-like cacophony.
Arsenal lined up with Szczesny, Gibbs, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Jenkinson, Wilshere, Song, Ramsey, Miyaichi, Chamakh and Walcott in the first half, which began with a period of notorious Arsenal possession, culminating in a very early penalty after Jack Wilshere was wiped out when running into the box. Ramsey slotted it home comfortably in the fifth minute and the first ten minutes passed by with 69% Arsenal possession with only couple of very hopeful lobs for Szczesny to deal with.
Tactically, the Gibbs/Miyaichi overlap looked very healthy with the young Japanese able to get back in a way our recent left wingers (Nasri and Arshavin) have very rarely done and Ramsey looked excellent in a box-to-box role with Wilshere closing down. However, a number of niggly fouls conceded by Jack Wilshere in particular allowed Malaysia to get back into the game as the refereeing was far stricter than in the Premier or Champions League.
The Malaysians appeared to target Carl Jenkinson from the offset with long balls over his head and their pacey left-winger was matched time and time again by the young signing from Charlton who finished the first half with great esteem – Koscielny neglected to provide his right-back with much cover and Gibbs’ blushes were spared when a Clichy-esque late step up wasn’t spotted by the linesman, resulting in a great 1 on 1 chance for Malaysia being called offside.
Individually, Vermaelen and Walcott also were faultless in the 45minutes they played with Walcott’s reward for a lot of running being a heat-seeker pass from Ramsey, with which he lobbed the keeper easily. At the end of a comfortable first half Ryo Miyaichi, the player a lot of Arsenal fans were really looking forward to seeing, was only just beginning to come out of his shell as he spent the early part of the match glued to the touch-line: although he played well a lot more needs to be seen to justify first team selection. Arsenal went in at halftime with a conservative 2-0 score-line, par for a friendly such as this.
Mannone, Traore, Djourou, Squillaci, Jenkinson, Frimpong, Denilson, Ramsey, Miyaichi, Vela and Rosicky lined up for the second half. After a lovely move between Rosicky, Vela and Ramsey it was Mannone who was bizarrely accused of time-wasting resulting in an indirect free-kick within the area which was blocked by the wall. The gunners responded by killing off the next 20 minutes in true Arsenal style with a Vela goal from nothing: surprise, surprise, a fantastic chip in the 60th minute over the substitute Malaysia keeper who was as gormless as his predecessor. Midway through the second half Arsenal brought on Sagna, Nasri, Arshavin and Van Persie – off came Jenkinson, Ramsey, Miyaichi and Denilson.
Arsenal now had a totally different set of players on the field and Denilson, a substitute, had played just 20 minutes before being taken off; he allegedly stormed straight down the tunnel on being subbed. After a lot of Arsenal possession with wasted chances where Vela was over intricate and one or two squandered Malaysian free-kicks, a roasting from Arshavin allowed him to play in a deflected chip from the goal-line itself which Rosicky converted with a neat header in the 90th minute. After the three minutes of added time has expired, the great 4-0 result considering the environment still left a few questions unanswered: over the form of Chamakh and Denilson, the capability of the quiet Miyaichi and Frimpong and, most interestingly, how Arsenal will line-up next season considering the left-back position and Aaron Ramsey’s notable improvement.
Watch all the goals by clicking here
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