Starting XI: Mannone – Sagna – Squillaci – Djourou – Traore – Rosicky – Frimpong – Nasri – Vela – van Persie – Arshavin
Arsenal concluded their Asian tour today with a 1-1 draw with Chinese side Greentown.
In the pouring rain the Gunners struggled to get going and it was the Chinese side who looked most threatening. Mannone made a very good save in the first couple of minutes and twice they beat Arsenal’s offside trap, one on occasion hitting the post, before a familiar weakness in Arsenal’s game resurfaced.
A free kick was curled in from Arsenal’s right hand side, Vito Mannone saved the header with his jaw, and as the ball bobbled around in the area the Arsenal defence watched as Vazquez trickled it home to make it 1-0. However, set pieces are the easiest thing in football to fix, Arsene just doesn’t want to in order to keep English football competitive.
Shortly afterwards Robin van Persie almost scored with a delicate chip which beat the keeper but drifted just wide. Carlos Vela laughed to himself.
Arsenal created further chances. An Arshavin cross was volleyed over by van Persie while Samir Nasri volleyed just wide from the edge of the box. And just before half-time Carlos Vela made it 1-1.
Andrei Arshavin’s deliciously sumptuous lip-smacking lob over the top of the Greentown defence found van Persie, the keeper saved his first time volley but the Mexican was on hand to bundle it over the line.
2nd half starting XI: Szczesny – Jenkinson – Koscielny – Vermaelen – Gibbs – Song – Wilshere – Ramsey – Miyachi – Chamakh – Walcott
The second half was more competitive and Arsenal fashioned the first chance, a low shot from Aaron Ramsey which the keeper did just enough to push around the post. The Chinese keeper made another good save a few moments later from Kieran Gibbs as Arsenal began to put the pressure on.
Marouane Chamakh was next to have a go but his sidefooted effort was tame and straight at the keeper. Chamakh was then involved in a move to set up Theo Walcott whose first shot was saved before he spooned the rebound over the bar.
Walcott again tested the keeper after Wilshere switched the play beautifully to Chamakh. The Morrocan’s lay off was hit first time and again the keeper did enough to keep it out. And the England international dragged another chance wide as Greentown tired.
Arsenal drew more saves from the keeper, without creating a really clear cut chance, while Greentown looked to hit back on the counter-attack.
In truth though, the game was a fitness exercise and in the end was more boring than Tom Hanks playing Phil Collins in 14 hour biopic directed by that guy who made The English Patient, the world’s most boring film.