Arsenal defeat Chelsea and Sevilla
The season in England is nearing its start. “Arsenal, in its state in recent years, is now seen by few as a serious contender for a place in the top four, giving the right to play in the Champions League. However, if we look at the pre-season preparation, we can appreciate how serious the Canaries are. This time they avoided any loud shocks, took advantage of the fact that all the attention was focused on the other teams, and quietly had a very bright pre-season. Let’s take a look at how things worked out for Arsenal.
Arsenal played five friendlies during the pre-season preparation. And all of them were victories. In early July, he beat Nuremberg 5-3, then came the victory over Everton (2-0), over Orlando (3-1), was defeated by Chelsea in the Florida Cup (4-0) and more than an impressive 6-0 defeat of Sevilla in the Emirates Cup. Thus, Mikel Arteta’s charges not only showed outstanding numbers in attack, but also looked decent in defense, except for the very first match against a German opponent. The preseason results themselves should not be taken too seriously, but they are noteworthy. Now it’s worth looking at them more closely.
Undoubtedly, one of the main transfer events this summer was the transfer of Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City to Arsenal. The unexpectedness of this deal was an additional factor that added to the interest. It seemed that the Canaries finally had a serious striker up front. Or one could expect it to be another inarticulate purchase, after which the newcomer would go sour. So far, everything points to the first scenario.
Already in the game with Nurnberg, Jesus scored a double. He scored another goal against Everton in the next game. “Orlando somehow survived without the Brazilian’s goals, but Chelsea conceded another one from him. Jesus ended his brilliant pre-season with a hat-trick against Sevilla. It turns out that Gabriel scored seven goals in five games before the season kicked off. Can we expect more from a rookie acquired in the attack for the sake of goals?
Under Arteta, Jesus looks refreshed, rejuvenated and free of the increased responsibility and frame of mind imposed on him by City’s style of play under Guardiola. Right now, it seems as if Arteta has managed to free up enough of Jesus to display his scoring skills. But let’s see what happens in “fighting” mode.
Saka has cleared the penalty shootout conspiracy
For the young Bucayo Saca, the big injury was the unscored penalty at Euro 2020 for England. Whoever criticized him. During the preseason, a kind of therapy was given to relieve the pressure that was weighing on Sak’s shoulders. During the preseason Saka scored a goal for Everton and Chelsea, and in the last match with Sevilla Bukayo not only made the double – he opened the scoring with a penalty, and dealt with the goalkeeper of the Spaniards very confidently.
By the way, last season in the Premier League Saka also converted both of his penalties, so we can say that the 20-year-old Englishman finally got rid of the problems associated with the penalty shoot-out and is ready to take the role of the main Arsenal penalty taker after the departure of Alexandre Lacazette.
Saliba is ready for the start
In the friendly against Chelsea, Saliba was in the starting lineup and showed more than confident play, contributing to the “dry” result. The same thing happened in the match against Sevilla. And this can already be considered a certain bet on Arteta’s part. Still, these matches were the last preseason and the most important to prepare for the start of the championship. The coach placed Ben White on the right flank of defense, making room in the center just under Salib.
The Frenchman looked calm in controlling the ball, made excellent long passes forward at times, and showed confidence and coolness under pressure. It looks like William will be one of Arsenal’s main defenders at least at the start of the season. And then we’ll see how he proves himself in combat conditions.
Edegor is the optimal captain
The name of the future captain of Arsenal throughout the pre-season preparation was unknown. It was only before the Sevilla match that Arteta stated that Edegor would get the captain’s armband. And Martin seems to be the ideal candidate for the role of leader: from the position on the field to the psychological state. In the same match against Sevilla, before which he was appointed captain, Edegor looked as if he was ready for it. He showed his leadership qualities in the center of the field, ruled the game, dictated its rhythm and direction.
Especially noteworthy was his interplay with Saka, where he made a number of excellent cuts. One of them allowed Bukayo to earn a penalty. So Edegor is not only a playmaker for Arsenal in the game sense, but now mentally – the man who brings the coach’s ideas to life. Arteta has taken a thoughtful approach to selecting a leader on the field.
Arsenal are targeting a place in the top four
“The Canaries had an almost perfect preseason preparation. We say “almost”, because Arsenal had one defeat, although it is not mentioned above. The fact is that before the game with Sevilla, the Canaries played a match with Brentford behind closed doors and lost. But that game was deliberately left out of the brackets, because it was, in fact, the Arsenal reserve team, which had almost nothing in common with the main team. It was a kind of additional review of the reserves.
In the end of the pre-season, Arsenal thrashed Chelsea and Sevilla 10-0 on aggregate with a perfectly well-coordinated game. Finally, the Canaries have built a logical preparation for the season on the rise. And it looks promising. The newcomers to the team are well integrated into its structure; there is a generally positive atmosphere in the Arsenal camp. It’s a long time since the “Canaries” started the season in such a cheerful and lively mood.