Sunday, 24 July 2011

German Training Camp

F.C Cologne 1-2 Arsenal
Jenkinson (og) 45   Gervinho 7,15

Gervinho shines in debut victory
For the second game of their pre-season preperations, Arsenal found themselves at the RheinEnergie stadium in Cologne. The match was notable due to the debut of Arsenals marquee signing of the summer so far, the Ivorian Gervinho.

The match kicked off at a frantic pace and a strong Cologne line up caused all sorts of problems early on, Lukas Podolski earning a free kick on the edge of the Arsenal penalty area after only 2 minutes following a superb jinking run. However, after that early burst, Arsenal started to show their superiority, and after only seven minutes, Jack Wilshire played a delicious ball over the top of the German sides defence. Gervinho timed his run to perfection and provided the finish that the pass deserved, dispatching the ball over the top of the onrushing Michael Rensing with aplomb for his first Arsenal goal on his first ever appearance.

Gervinho celebrates his first goal
If the new front man thought his debut couldn't get any better, then he would be proved wrong almost instantly. Once again, Wilshere was integral, as his pass found Theo Wallcot on the right wing and he found the delivery that has so often been lacking from him, picking out Gervinho at the near post to flick past the keeper. 2 goals in his first 15 minutes in an Arsenal shirt.

Those two goals came either side of a classic Thomas Vermaelen break from defence which provided shades of Tony Adams against Everton almost 15 years ago, only the big Belgian will be disappointed to have not finished off his chance.

The rest of the first half was played at a frenetic pace with chances at either end for both teams. Gervinho had left the stage after half an hour to be replaced by Ryo Miyaichi, and the Japanese starlet was straight in the thick of the action when, following a cologne corner, he picked up the ball and ran the length of the field and fed Walcott on the left wing. TheEnglish winger then was caught in 2 minds wether to shoot or cross to the totally unmarked Marouane Chamakh. In the end he did neither, in the process frustrating Arsenal fans who were no doubt prematurely celebrating the third goal.

The half finished on a some what bizarre note for the gunners when, with the very last kick, Carl Jenkinson attempted to volley clear a hopeful long ball with his right foot from all of 25 yards, only to see his effort spoon over the stranded Wojciech szczesny and nesttle in the back of the net. The dismay was evident as the youngster buried his head in his hands as the whistle went to end the first 45 minutes, and end his match in the process.

The second half never really lived up to the billing of the first, as Arsenal replaced the entire squad at half time and Cologne made their changes more sporadically throughout the half. There was no flow to the game and it eventually petered out and Arsenal won the game 2-1.

On a slightly sour note however, there was a possible serious injury to Conor Henderson, whose knee appeared to badly twist as his studs got stuck in the turf. No doubt Arsene Wenger will be hoping that the young man is not too badly hurt as he was expected to break through this season, having made his debut last year in the F.A cup.

Arsenal will now finish a week of training in Germany before returning home for the Emirates cup, whereI will be attending Sundays games, including the gunners against Thierry Henry's New York Red Bulls.In anticipation of this match, expect a thierry themed blog during the week.

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