Sunday, December 4, 2022

Trio pleased with first friendly outing

Arsenal players young and old (well slightly older) have reflected on Saturday’s 2-0 win over Boreham Wood admitting that the first game of pre-season was enjoyable in spite of the hot weather and a stubborn performance from the hosts.

Second half strikes from Kris Olsson and Benik Afobe were enough to secure a routine victory for a mix-and-match Gunners outfit but it was the combination of fitness work and game time rather than the result that the likes of Wojciech Szczesny, Abou Diaby and Gedion Zelalem took most heart from.

“I think it was good occasion for us to get prepared,” Diaby told Arsenal Player.

“It was a good game against a good team, it was a lovely day as well so we are happy. It was very hot but it was hot for everybody – we just tried to play our game.

“I haven’t done that [play 45 minutes] for one year so I was really happy to be back in a normal game. I hope it’s going to stay like this.

“Pre-season has been really good so far, we still have three weeks and I hope to complete 90 per cent of it and that will be a successful one for me.”

Last season’s Premier League golden mitten winner, Wojciech Szczesny, also chatted to the club’s reporters after a quiet 45 minutes during which he failed to take any selfies.

“We’ve only been training for a couple of weeks and you could tell that the Boreham Wood players were really fresh and we found it hard, especially at the start,” he said.

“It was only at the end where we moved the ball about and Boreham Wood players ran after it that we created some space and some chances.

“Results don’t matter at this point, it wouldn’t have made a difference if we had won this game six or seven nil. It’s a good 2-0 win and everyone got a good run-out.”

Last summer Gedion Zelalem made a name for himself on the pre-season tour of Asia only for injuries to deny him the chance of a competitive debut in the Capital One Cup. Back in Arsene Wenger’s starting line-up on Saturday the 17-year-old midfielder spoke of his pride at kicking-off the new campaign alongside FA Cup hero Aaron Ramsey and French international Diaby.

“I’m delighted to play with the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Abou Diaby,” he told Arsenal Player.

“I grew up watching them, so playing with them is pretty much a dream come true. Hopefully I’ll be able to play with them more.

“I think about it all the time. In training [sometimes] I’ll zone out thinking, ‘Oh, I’m really training with them’. I don’t think I’ll get used to it!

“All of them help me – not only the ones that play in my position. Per Mertesacker tells me what to do and it’s just a good environment to be in.

“They tell me about their experiences, that things will get hard but that you just have to push on. It’s good.”

Zelalem will likely join Diaby and Szczesny on the plane to New York later in the week where he’ll have a chance to strut his stuff against New York Red Bulls on ‘home’ soil in front of the club’s burgeoning American support.

Related articles



newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I was about to ask how anyone could have “grown up watching Ramsey” when he’s only 23 when I remembered that this was Zelalem who is, in fact, still growing up.


Song for Zelalem – to the tune of ma-na-ma-na by those freakish muppets, who must surely by under investigation as part of operation Yewtree;
Zelalem, etc

#YOLO Toure

I love where he says “Per Mertesacker tells me what to do…”

The boy is learning!

Lord Nicki B

Really hope Diaby has that well deserved brilliant season at last. Always rated the man. He has always worked hard, perhaps more than most players in the entire league, he really deserves his day.

Up Diaby.
Up Arsenal.


Keep Diaby, Ramsey and Walcott fit for an entire season. If Arsenal don’t win the League you can chop my head off.

Springbank 1965

I think you have to, at least, include Mertesacker and Koscielny as well.

Still, nice seeing fans sticking their necks out.

Lord Nicki B

And Wojciech.

We arent Blackpool after all.

Feel sorry for those lads.

Parisian Weetabix

“I hope it’s going to stay like this.”

Genuinely heartbreaking.


Zelalem seems to have the personality of Fabregas when he was at that age. He’s body language,calmness, very Fabregas. But he will be player in Ozils class.sorry cesc.


Show us why Wenger didn’t sign fabregas zelalem, truly believe this kid was as much the reason as having ozil was. Can’t wait to see what this kid can do again. In arsene we trust

glory hunter

Problem with Diaby is that he’s so good, that after a run of games he’ll invariably become 1st choice due to his quality.
He then plays too many games and gets injured 🙁
Wenger has a big role to play if Diaby is to remain injury free for the majority of the season.

Why not

man……that game against liverpool.

he bossed it.

jack jack jack

I still watch that performance back. Unbelievable class.


I’m Gedion all excited for the start of the season.

No coat needed cos that was hilarious.


In case it’s not been mentioned already, that’s a smashing kit!!

Lord Nicki B

Another important lesson learnt from the friendly.

Sanogo really needs a loan and needs to learn a lot more.

Afobe in the warm up and Campbell in the WC look more prepared and composed than him.

If we do not buy a new ST, would genuinely prefer to see Campbell as 2nd choice to Giroud, an impact sub even.

Campbell really does seem hungry for that fight. Sanogo really needs to shape up.

Desert Fox

My own view re Sanogo is that he should stay with the squad this season, playing in the cup games and odd champs league appearance. He has the positioning and the movement fine, its the shooting that needs work and I think he is better off with the squad, getting practice in while playing with the likes of Ozil, Sanchez etc. Sending him out on loan is a huge risk as where do you send him? If its in the prem, its likely to be one of the clubs that either struggled last season (and likely to do so this)… Read more »

Bouldy's Tupee

Signing of the year!!! Abou Diaby!


If diaby stays fit as addition to our crop of players I think d champions league will be a stepping stone next season


As much as like Diaby you cannot count on him to be fit the whole season, therefore we need to bring someone in.
If I m wrong (which I hope) we ll play a double pivot Ramsey/Diaby or Ramsey/Wilshere which is a lot more unpredictable than having a pure DM.


IMO GuntoGun has a point. In our 3 man midfield Ramsey and Ozil are a given. Which leave one position and that’s most Likely playing next to or behind Ramsey. Next to Ramsey – Wilshere… Diaby Behind Ramsey – Arteta, Flamini… Diaby Don’t think any of these options are optimal (title favorites!!). Unless we accept Diaby as a legitimate member to be considered for a first team place. But we’ve (and Diaby himself) been burned enough for this too be a bad plan. As blogger is saying as well… makes more sense to invest in our original plan of getting… Read more »

kim kallstrom

Just curious as to where people would like to see Sanogo go on loan. Perhaps to the Eredivisie where he can smash in goals for fun and build up confidence in front of goal?

Merlin's Panini

The Eredivisie flatters to deceive at times. Ok, so Bony and Suarez have come from there and performed well, but then Ryo went on loan there and looked good and look what’s happened to him… nothing. Then there are players like Brian Ruiz who looked great and came to Fulham and turned out to be pretty average. If we did send him Sanogo on loan I’d prefer he went to a premier league or Championship club so we can keep a good eye on him or, failing that, Ligue 1 so he can play against teams like Monaco and PSG.… Read more »

kim kallstrom

I don’t believe its realistic that a PL, Ligue 1 or Championship side would take him on loan, let alone give him the playing time that he needs. If he’s going to sit on the end of a bench it might as well be ours.

Desert Fox

Just saw this – made a similar point above.

I agree 100% and think it is too risky sending him out on loan, unless it is to a club where he will pretty much be guaranteed a start every week.

Merlin's Panini

Agreed, I think it’s better to keep him and develop him here, but IF he were to be sent away on loan I think there are better places than the Eredivisie.
I do think he could get playing time in Ligue 1, but not for a top club. He has a pretty good reputation in France.

inside tip

I am an avid Gunners fan since 1996., considering that I am not remotely British, that’s a long time. Since Diaby signed back in 2006. I’ve been waiting for the moment in which he will go full season without any injuries. It will be glorious I tell ya!! Btw we, the Gooners from my country, call him ‘Stakleni’ which means ‘the one who is made from glass’. I hope this season puts an end to that!! Cheers!

Gillespie Road

Never was a nickname more fitting

Merlin's Panini

In other news that absolute bellend Patrice Evra has gone to Juventus. That’s two of my least favourite ever players who have gone to Italy now in the last week. John Terry next please.


John Terry to the pit of satans bowels, the Italians don’t deserve his horrid presence in their country. Did you hear he’s a cunt?

Dat gooner Al Zee

Beautiful beginning!

frustrated arsenal fan

If we do not bring in a holding midfield and we do not keep Diaby fit. This season will be a disaster.


Sometimes the pressure to succeed means managers and clubs buy established players whom they believed will bring them success quicker. Can’t help but feel sorry for those in the academy that are overlooked. Margins for success are high. Olsson looked really good against Borehamwood.

monkey knees

Fingers crossed for Diaby. Genuinely talented chap who just needs some luck, injury wise!

Mikel Artekkers

This Zelalem seems to have his head screwed on right. If he works hard I think he can go to the top; his passing and vision are already brilliant. Hopefully working alongside the likes of Ramsey and Diaby should give him the confidence that he can overcome whatever is thrown at him after seeing the shit those two have had to deal with re. injuries.

sam gooner

He will be his country’s next Beckanbaur and our Viera

Loaded cannon

An impact sub? We don’t need one. We have podolski boy!


I hope Klinsmann steals Zelalem from the Germans as he would be the fulcrum of the US finally becoming a footballing power.


Very excited about the possibility of Zelalem coming to the USMNT. Is he still available to switch? Someone on this blog eluded to the fact that he is already tied to Germany, but I think that is incorrect.


He isn’t tied to Germany, he pulled out of the Euro qualifiers that would have tied him. Supposedly he is in the process of completing his US citizenship so he can switch over to the US.

Arsene's Wengerboyz

Kris Olsson played like a mini Rosicky!

Springbank 1965

Great feet. Retro haircut. See what you mean.


if king diaby(injury specialist)is free then dats a big big plus bt wenger as we all knw him will use him to play all games,so wenger must get in more players..


Would rather have zelalem play for the Germans to be honest. Closer to us, less flying about. Plus it will make him a better player.
Going off topic for a second, I can’t remember the last south American we had at the club, i’m guessing Gilberto, racking my brains has made me remember Nelson vivas….anyway, it might get annoying having Sanchez flying back to south America and not being available for us because of it, but that’s a conversation for another day.


Andre Santos was the last I think

Share article

Featured on NewsNow

Support Arseblog

Latest posts

Latest Arsecast

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x