Arsenal ran out 3-1 winners against Western Sydney Wanderers thanks to three quick-fire goals during the first-half.
Matchday: Team News – Player Ratings – Match Highlights
Match: Western Sydney Wanderers v Arsenal
Stadium: Anz Stadium
Kick-Off (GMT): Sat 15 July 11:00
Arsenal remained in the ANZ Stadium for this second pre-season match against Western Sydney Wanderers. The Gunners started well when new man Alexandre Lacazette came close to celebrating his first start with a goal. His jinking run forced an excellent save.
The breakthrough came but it took a while. Arsenal dominated possession in the first-half and it was some excellent build-up play which led to the opener. Monreal found Lacazette who returned the favour and the Spaniard drove forward and to the byline. Monreal cut it back for Olivier Giroud who finished it off with one of his trademark sweep finishes.
Once the breakthrough came, the floodgates opened. Monreal again unlocked the box a few minutes later when his long pass found an onrushing Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman was one-on-one and delicately chipped the ball over the keeper and into the back of the net.
It was 3-0 just a few minutes later. Wanderers failed to clear a Gunners corner and Alex Iwobi laid the ball off for Mohamed Elneny to strike from range. His shot took a massive deflection and past the keeper.
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The second-half was slightly different with Wanderers coming back into the game. Mohamed Elneny did hit the bar with a wonderful curling effort before the team on home soil got on the scoresheet. Aaron Ramsey passed it back to keeper Emi Martinez who picked it up in the box. The referee deemed it a pass back and Wanderers were given a free-kick in the Arsenal box. Steven Lustica took it and found the back of the net with his second try.
Arsene Wenger again made ten outfield substitutions in the second-half and the new team did pretty well in the remaining twenty minutes. Mesut Özil clipped the post with a wonderful free-kick before Theo Walcott forced a good save from the Sydney goalkeeper late on. Youngster Eddie Nketiah also hit the woodwork from a wonderful spin and shot.
Here’s how we rate the Arsenal players
GK) David Ospina – 5
The Colombian will have harder matches. David Ospina barely did anything but was decent in possession and even took it past a couple of Wanderers’ attackers.
Sub: Emi Martinez (45′) – 5
He had far more to do than his teammate. Emi Martinez made a huge mistake when he picked up Aaron Ramsey’s pass back but the Argentinean made a couple of solid saves to make up for it.
RCB) Laurent Koscielny (66′) – 6
Laurent Koscielny played well on his return to action. The Frenchman started to the right of the back three and was solid as ever. He made some excellent challenges and was solid in possession.
Sub: Krystian Bielik (66′) – 6
He did well in his cameo. Krystian Bielik looks so assured for such a young player and surely it won’t be long before we see him in the first-team.
CB) Mohamed Elneny – 8
It raised a few eyebrows but Mohamed Elneny looked accomplished in the centre of the back three. He was hardly tested defensively but his positioning sense was solid and typically excellent in possession. Nice to see him on the scoresheet too.
Sub: Per Mertesacker (66′) – 6
Mertesacker did well and very nearly got his second goal in two pre-season matches with a glancing header.
LCB) Nacho Monreal – 8
It’s rare for Nacho Monreal to get an assist, even rarer when he gets too. The Spaniard played well in the centre and made a few forays further forward. He looked solid as ever.
Sub: Sead Kolasinac (66′) – 6
Another solid performance from Sead Kolasinac. Playing centrally again and doing well.
RWB) Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6
He started very well but faded slightly. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ran the show early on but pushed in-field a little too much and struggled to find possession.
Sub: Reiss Nelson (66′) – 5
Reiss Nelson didn’t quite have the same impact as he did in the last match but did okay.
CM) Aaron Ramsey – 9
A very good performance from Aaron Ramsey. His movement was excellent, his passing was crisp and he found himself on the end of a Nacho Monreal through ball and finished it off well.
Sub: Francis Coquelin (66′) – 5
He did okay. Coquelin wasn’t involved much.
CM) Granit Xhaka – 5
He looked a little rusty. Granit Xhaka was solid in every aspect of his game apart from passing. The Swiss midfielder’s dead ball delivery was poor and he misplaced a few from open play as well.
Sub: Joe Willock (66′) – 6
He did well. Willock was sharp in midfield and drove forward well.
LWB) Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 6
He’s played better for the first-team. Ainsley Maitland-Niles was being played slightly out of position and the youngster didn’t quite look as comfortable as he usually does. The youngster is a versatile player but maybe left wing-back isn’t one of the numerous positions he can play.
Sub: Eddie Nketiah (66′) – 7
Eddie Nketiah looks like a real handful. He’s got a great burst of pace, good positioning and hit the post once again. Good outing.
RAM) Alex Iwobi – 6
He started brightly but struggled to find as much possession as the game went on. Alex Iwobi looked good in that central attacking midfield position but the game closed off slightly, particularly after half-time.
Sub: Theo Walcott (66′) – 5
Much like in the last game, things didn’t quite work out for Theo Walcott. He snatched at a couple of chances and didn’t seem to fit into the formation.
LAM) Alexandre Lacazette – 7
He looked very sharp. Alexandre Lacazette was very lively during his start with some crucial build-up play. The Frenchman’s movement was really impressive, particularly in the box.
Sub: Mesut Özil (66′) – 7
He did well. A classy little cameo from Mesut Özil who looks in good form. Unlucky to see his free-kick effort hit the post.
ST) Olivier Giroud – 7
Olivier Giroud did okay. He misplaced a couple of passes and was static at times but he got his goal and came very close to grabbing a few more.
Sub: Danny Welbeck (66′) – 5
He did okay. Danny Welbeck didn’t see much of the ball but his movement was good.