The gunners got off to a very slow start, and found themselves behind early in the first half with Sebastien Vasquez opening the scoring after average keeping by Vito Manonne from a set-play, although we managed to equalise through Carlos Vela just before half-time after good work from Robin van Persie.
The start of the game saw Hangzhou unexpectedly dominate proceedings, with a number of chances to take the lead. Vasquez received an excellent through ball in the 2nd minute of the match to find himself with a clear opportunity for goal, although Manonne saved well with his legs.
With 13 minutes on the clock, Arsenal were again found wanting in defense with another through ball threading its way to unmarked striker Pezzolano. Doing well to stay on his feet after a Vermaelen challenge from behind and evading Djourou, he attempted to curl the ball into the far corner comprehensively beating our Italian keeper but fortunately hitting the upright from which we managed to clear.
In the 17th minute, Hangzhou finally got their deserved lead after a set play with the ball bouncing off Manonnes chest and falling nicely to Vazquez who slotted the ball in from close range.
Arsenal almost replied immediately after great work from Arshavin and Nasri, ending in a delicate chip by Robin van Persie who was left of goal. The ball only just went wide.
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After finally exerting some dominance Arsenal finally managed the equaliser after great work from Robin van Persie on the stroke of half-time. Making his way into penalty area he attempted a side foot volley which was parried by the Hangshou keeper falling nicely to Vela who walked the ball into the empty net. Vela seems to becoming the master poacher we so desperately need and have been lacking.
After the break Arsenal came out with wholesale changes, and looked more prominent in possession although were a little lacking in attack.
The second half saw concrete chances for Arsenal to win the match. After ten minutes into the second half Ramsey found himself just inside the area. His shot squirmed underneath keeper, Gu Chao, who managed to do just enough to divert the ball wide.
Although it was Englishman Theo Walcott who found himself with Arsenal’s best chances. Firstly set up on the right, Walcott shot for the far post to have his shot blocked with an opportunity of a second shot which he put over the bar. Second was a great ball by Miyaichi into the area allowing Walcott a free header which he disappointingly put over the bar.
Amidst the disappointment of the draw, the game gave us a glimpse of Arsenal up-and-comers that may feature in the first team. Gibbs played extremely well on attack and seems to be ahead of Traore in the race for left back, although his ability on defense was not seen after Arsenal’s dominant second half. Also Mexican Vela, who seems to becoming the tap-in merchant Arsenal have lacked over previous season. I could see him partnering Robin up and front, complimenting van Persie’s hold-up role with his pace and trickery. What do you think? Do you see him featuring for the first team? Should Gibbs take up the mantle of left back? Leave your own comment below!!
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