Japan Jitters: Nagoya Grampus 1 – 3 Arsenal – Report & Player Ratings

Final Score
N. Grampus 1 – 3 Arsenal

Arsenal’s Asian Tour had been successful so far, with wins against both Indonesia and Vietnam. However, Arsene Wenger’s old club Nagoya Grampus were looking to offer The Gunners a much tougher challenge within the Japanese Toyota Stadium.[quote_right]”Tomas Rosicky in particular was doing a fantastic job of driving the team forward with incisive runs and clever through balls.”[/quote_right]

Unsurprisingly, Arsenal started the game with confidence. Although Grampus looked very comfortable whilst on the ball, they looked extremely vulnerable when off it.

As a result, it took Arsenal just three minutes to break the deadlock, as Tomas Rosicky drifted to the right-wing, crossing beautifully for Olivier Giroud, who directed a great header past the Grampus goalkeeper. His first of the day, his sixth of the Asia Tour.

Following the goal, Arsenal continued to control the tempo of the game. Tomas Rosicky in particular was doing a fantastic job of driving the team forward with incisive runs and clever through balls.

Arsenal’s dominance didn’t really pay off until the twenty-fourth minute, where Giroud was once again causing problems in the box. He dragged the ball back, only to be intercepted by a Grampus defender’s hand. It was Ryo Miyaichi who stepped up, and hammered the ball into the bottom corner.

The rest of the half consisted of further Arsenal domination, with shades of Grampus’ attacking flair. Their speed in the final third was difficult to deal with, but Bacary Sagna worked tirelessly to help Arsenal keep their lead.

The second half was started with Gnabry, Zelalem, Wilshere and Podolski making their arrivals. These substitutes were later supplemented with Miquel, Akpom and Aneke.[quote_left]”Grampus seemed to be looking more threatening in the second period, as tired and youthful Arsenal legs struggled to deal with the Japanese pressure…”[/quote_left]

Grampus seemed to be looking more threatening in the second period, as tired and youthful Arsenal legs struggled to deal with the Japanese pressure. However, stellar performances from Sagna and Mertesacker continued to help a tremendous amount.

After Arsenal found their feet, it didn’t take long until they found their third goal. In the fifty-fifth minute, Theo Walcott was played through on goal via a superb through-ball from Zelalem. The Englishman touched the ball wide, and lifted it over the goalkeeper with ease.

Unfortunately, Grampus struck back in the seventy-second minute, as their striker Yano rose above Arsenal’s static defenders to head the ball past a helpless Fabianksi. It was poor defensive play from Arsenal’s perspective.

The rest of the game was played out casually by both sides. Arsenal were happy with their lead, and didn’t look to cause too much trouble for Grampus up until the final whistle.

In the end, Grampus gave Arsenal pretty much what they expected. Their style of play was troubling at times, but The Gunners were always in a position of authority.

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[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]

Fabianksi: [7/10]
Played well for the most part, bar some sloppy distribution in his box. Couldn’t do much about the goal.

Jenkinson: [6.5/10]
Made a number of his usual energetic runs forward, but lost the ball on a number of occasions whilst on the attack.

Sagna: [8/10]
Yet again, Sagna was highly impressive playing at centre-back. The Frenchman cleaned up behind sloppy Arsenal play, and looked very confident going into tackles.

Mertesacker: [7/10]
With Sagna doing so well, Mertesacker took a back seat role. He read the game well as usual, and provided some stability when Grampus came forward with purpose.

Gibbs: [6.5/10]
Untroubled defensively, but should have done better offensively. Almost grabbed a goal, but a poor finish let him down.

Arteta: [6/10]
Mikel has been quiet during this tournament, and was yet again looking a little tired. Needs more time to regain his fitness it seems.

Rosicky: [8/10]
Tomas was running everything in the midfield. His passes, tackles, interceptions and crosses were all accurate and great to watch. Did well to set up Giroud.

Ramsey: [7/10]
Aaron once again looked lively in the centre, hassling the Grampus midfielders all across the field of play. He put in some good tackles, and helped set up a number of Arsenal attacks.

Miyaichi: [7/10]
Ryo was unlucky not to score from open play, as one of his shots scraped the far post. However, he put his penalty away brilliantly.

Walcott: [6.5/10]
Had a number of clear-cut chances to get Arsenal some more goals, but only managed to finish one of them. Fortunately, it was a very good finish.

Giroud: [7.5/10]
Showed some good touches throughout the first half, and took his goal excellently. Six goals in three games isn’t too bad at all.

Subs:

Miquel: [6.5/10]
Came on late and did a good job of shoring up the tired Arsenal defence.

Zelalem: [7.5/10]
Another exciting game for Zelalem. Two of his passes in particular were a joy to watch, especially his assist for Theo Walcott.

Wilshere: [7/10]
Jack played a full 45mins and looked comfortable throughout. He helped spread the play, and kept Arsenal tight in the midfield. Encouraging.

Podolski: [6.5/10]
Lukas made some good runs off the ball, but was unfortunately found very rarely.

Akpom: [6.5/10]
Had a chance to grab himself a goal, but missed the target. Needs to work on his confidence.

Aneke: [6.5/10]
Chuks did a decent job defensively, and was untroubled by Gramps’ attacks in general.

Gnabry: [6.5/10]
Serge looked tired today, scuffing one of his shots wide from close range. Although, he did very well to get forward when he could.

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[title]Japan Jitters[/title]

Despite the defensive jitters, Arsenal came through yet another friendly with a win, and a half-decent performance to boot. Tomas Rosicky, Bacary Sagna and Olivier Giroud continued to impress, whilst everybody else made some good progress.

One positive, is that Jack Wilshere certainly seems to be getting back into the swing of things, which is a huge boost for Arsenal – especially as the Premier League season is just weeks away.

The Gunners now have just one more game of their Asia Tour left, against the Urawa Red Diamonds. They’ll be hoping to build on their performance today to get the desired result, and hopefully the desired performance too.

What did you think of the Grampus Vs Arsenal match? Share your views in the comments section below!

Image: Arsenal

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