Pre-Season Stroll: Boreham Wood 0 – 2 Arsenal – Report & Player Ratings

Final Score
Boreham Wood 0 – 2 Arsenal

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Arsenal’s new (pre) season was kicked off against Boreham Wood, with a mixture of youth and experience making up the squad.

Aaron Ramsey led the team out, with Szczesney, Sanogo, Monreal and Jenkinson making up the other senior names. Hot prospects like Gedion Zelalem was also in the starting lineup.

In the early minutes, it was Zelalem who was standing out. His passes and through-balls were incredibly accurate, yet he made them look so effortless. It was certainly a pleasure seeing him work alongside Ramsey.

Yaya Sanogo had two early chances, one of which was a shot on the turn which went wide, whilst another one-on-one was smartly saved by Boreham Wood’s goalkeeper.

Boreham Wood were organising themselves quite well, springing quick counter-attacks every so often.

Arenal had another chance before half-time when Sanogo laid Toral off in the box, but the youngster’s curling shot could only hit the post.

The Gunners fielded a completely new eleven for the second half.

Aboue Diaby, Rosicky, Flamini and Gibbs were amongst the players coming on, and they were all hoping to make the breakthrough against an organized Boreham Wood.

So far, the game had a typical pre-season feel. Players were strolling at times, and there wasn’t a great deal of intensity. This continued well into the second half – despite the half-time changes.

A clever pass from Rosicky – who had been lively all second half – found Olsson’s run behind the back four…

Diaby injected some excitement though, when he let off a long-shot which needed to be tipped over the bar. Immediately after, Akpom let off a similar shot, which again needed to be saved.

It took Arsenal until the sixty-eighth minute to break the deadlock. A clever pass from Rosicky – who had been lively all second half – found Olsson’s run behind the back four. The youngster lifted the ball over the oncoming goalkeeper, and into the net.

Here’s the goal:

The rest of the game was played out with ease by Arsenal, until Chuba Akpom created a chance in the box with some clever skill. The result was a penalty, thanks to Afobe getting pushed in the back as Akpom crossed the ball.

It was also Afobe who stepped up, and converted.

The final whistle soon blew, and Arsenal’s rather easy afternoon was over.

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Arsenal Player Ratings (First Half)

Szczesney: [6/10]

Had nothing to do. Literally.

Jenkinson: [7/10]

Made constant runs down the flank, linked up well with midfield, and put in a cross or two.

Ajayi: [6/10] 

Untroubled. Barely needed to touch the ball in all honesty.

Hayden: [6/10] 

Also untroubled, although he blocked a Boreham Wood shot after a quick counter-attack.

Monreal: [7/10]

Got himself forward often, showed energy, linked up well with the very young Willock ahead of him. Tackled hard but fair.

Coquelin: [6.5/10]

His first touch is always positive, and I like that about Francis. His long-range passing was a bit rusty though.

Ramsey: [6.5/10] 

Played in some decent passes, but he obviously wasn’t at his best. Had one decent long-range effort go wide.

Zelalem: [7.5/10]

His general passing was excellent, but there was one through-ball in particular which the whole crowd appreciated. I’m extremely excited about what this young man could become.

Willock: [7/10] 

Linked up well with Monreal and Ramsey, and showed some awesome touches down the left-flank.

Toral: [6.5/10]

Wasn’t in the game much, but he had a decent shot hit the post.

Sanogo: [6.5/10]

Had most of Arsenal chances, but a mixture of poor finishing and good goalkeeping kept him out. I like his movement and energy though.

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Arsenal Player Ratings (Second Half)

Martinez: [6/10]

Also had nothing to do.

Bellerin: [6.5/10]

Had a fairly relaxed game, didn’t need to worry about defending too much. Showed good passing.

Pleguezuelo: [6/10] 

Had nothing to do.

Miquel: [6/10] 

Had nothing to do.

Gibbs: [6.5/10]

Brought the ball forward a few times and helped set up some attacks down the left.

Flamini: [6.5/10]

Gave his customary high-foot tackle, but had a nice easy game in front of him. Not much work needed doing.

Olsson: [7/10] 

Showed good movement and even better finishing for his goal. Linked up well with Rosicky and Bellerin a few times.

Diaby: [7/10]

Looked lively, kept the midfield moving and took a nice long-shot which needed tipping over the bar. Good to see him back.

Rosicky: [7/10] 

Showed brilliant vision and passing, especially for Olsson’s goal. Danced around Boreham Wood at times.

Afobe: [6.5/10]

Not much to do before his penalty, although he converted that very well.

Akpom: [7/10] 

Showed great touches and technique, especially in the lead up to the penalty. Also had a decent shot saved.
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Pre-Season Stroll

It wasn’t much of a spectacle, but a win is a win.

Today was more about fitness, but seeing Zelalem, Willock, Bellerin and other youngsters was both refreshing and exciting. Plus, having Abou Diaby back can only be a good thing.

Our goalkeepers and defenders were pretty much spectators, making it a bit of a stroll in reality. But that’s to be expected from a side so far down in the leagues.

In any case, today was a positive start to what will hopefully be a positive season.

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