Arsenal Pre-season: Ignore RVP's Absence And Embrace AOC's Ability
Yesterday Arsenal suffered a subtle ignominy. Whilst on the surface a 2-0 pre-season friendly defeat in abysmal rain-trodden conditions to the Premier League champions in far-flung Beijing sounds relatively unimportant and harmless. However when it's at the hands of the team who have made you the butt of all those frustrating 'feeder club' jokes, having spent over £70m taking your best players in recent seasons and are targeting your only remaining world-class star, it becomes harder to stomach. Just annoyingly repetitive, in fact.
Any Gooner would be foolish to think Robin Van Persie will complete an unlikely u-turn on the statement he issued recently stating he was looking to leave the club. And with Juventus, Manchester United and Manchester City all chasing the Dutchman's signature, history suggests we know where he will inevitably end up. And that's at City. Money talks, RVP's listening and it's gonna happen sooner or later. We can pray it won't, but it will.
The Citizens will edge close to a grand total of £100m paid into the Emirates coffers over the last three years if RVP becomes the fifth player to swop red and white for sky blue. And at the Birds Nest stadium yesterday that financial gap between the two sides was recognised on the pitch, as Wenger's charges were well beaten by Mancini's men. It was a close game in terms of possession, but as usual we didn't take our chances and City took theirs. Oh, and they had a world beater in midfield called Yaya Toure.
Apparently Wenger was impressed by Yaya Toure's potential but described his performance as ‘completely average’. One to forget for the Professor
Our midfield trio of Alex Song, Abou Diaby and Mikel Arteta actually looked pretty decent, although how we could do with a player of the standing Yaya Toure commands in the middle of the park. Built like a brick s***house, Toure bosses the game all over the pitch. How Arsene Wenger must have wished he had snapped up the Ivorian when we had him on trial, playing him in a friendly against Barnet on Kolo's recommendation before letting him slip off to Donetsk. Apparently Wenger was impressed by his potential but described his performance as 'completely average'. One to forget for the Professor. Monaco, Barca and now City have all enjoyed what Arsenal could have experienced from big Yaya.
Anyway, back to pressing matters, and Jenkinson and Walcott managed to threaten Costel Pantilimon (silly name) in City's goal before Yaya grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck to assist and score and wrap up victory for City in the first half. The match petered out in the second period, although there were glimpses of greatness from one man that can cause optimism for Gooners heading into the new season. At just 18 years of age, (19 next month) Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is barely an adult, but the way he played in central midfield for the second 45 put a smile back on my face.
With continued, albeit unconfirmed reports that Jack Wilshere is out until October, it looks like this season will be monumentally important for our former Southampton prodigy. Wilshere is so crucial to the future success of this current Arsenal team, but having not seen him take to the pitch in nearly 12 months, you have to wonder if his recovery is more of an if and not when now. We all know about him being 'in the red', as Wenger put it at the end of his 2010/11 breakthrough exertions, and it know seems that our French tactician's prophecies were true as his return date is continually being extended. Whilst we must give Wilshere the time and space needed to recover fully, and not stunt his footballing growth Michael Owen-style, Arsenal can look to the Ox to plug the gap he leaves this season.
Actually, the Ox can’t really tackle either so let’s all start whacking the next Scholes label on him now
The way Oxlade-Chamberlain picks the ball up from deep and sprays passes reminds me of Paul Scholes, and his shooting from outside the box is reminiscent of the ginger genius too. Actually, the Ox can't really tackle either so let's all start whacking the next Scholes label on him now. But to be serious, Chamberlain lit up the City friendly twice by striking two great long-range efforts that looked destined to ripple the back off the net. The first, just after half time, cannoned back off both posts and had Pantilimon (again, silly name) completely rooted to the spot. And then just minutes from time, England's Euro 2012 starlet cracked a powerful effort that just flew past the far post. Those two moments had me the most animated during the entire 90 minutes, and add to the countless times I watch Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and just nod my head and stress how great he is going to be.
Looking past the Ox and there seems to be a number of other young players set to make an impression as this season comes into view. Expect Carl Jenkinson, Francis Coquelin and Ignasi Miquel to inch closer to the first team, whilst Chuks Aneke, Kyle Bartley and Benik Afobe earn a place in the first-team squad. Some fans may lament the eternal look to the future, but with Podolski and Giroud yet to join the touring squad things aren't as bad as the RVP doom-mongers would have you believe. Let's just relax and enjoy the rest of the Far East tour and try not to get too down about losing our star striker. Forget RVP and herald the beginning of the AOC era.
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