Arsenal v Atletico Review – Smith-Rowe cracker earns Arsenal a draw

Arsenal lined up with quite a strong team against the side that beat us in last year’s Europa League semifinal, but the game started quite evenly. In the first half Arsenal had by far the best chances with Lacazette and Aubameyang getting close a few times, but Jan Oblak kept them out.

Smith-Rowe and Guendouzi were looking lively, and Kolasinac flying down the wing at times. with 15 minutes to go Arsenal kept up the pressure with both Auba and Lacca getting extremely close again, but then BAM, Atletico take the lead with their first shot on target! Well it was a great header by Vietto in actual fact and it didn’t look like Leno could do much about it. Arsenal had had two thirds of the possession but were losing. Sounds familiar!

So we went in 1-0 down and Emery swapped Cech for Leno, and Atletico swapped Oblak for Adan. We started extremely well after the break and straight away a brilliant goal from Smith-Rowe put him in the frame for more first team starts, and we went right in for the killer goal but Atletico managed to keep us out well.

After the Spaniards survived the 15 minute onslaught they decided to go up and gear and attacked Cech’s goal with intent. The big Number One pulled off a brilliant double save to deny the Spaniards and the Gunners kept soaking up the pressure until the hour mark, when Emery decided to make his wholesale changes and eight Gunners left the pitch. The replacements were also possible first team starters except for Nketiah and Osei-Tutu, and Willock came on ten mins later when Atletico also made 7 changes. It all went a bit limp after that, although Maitland-Niles nearly put Kolasinac through, and Nketiah got in place for a free shot but miskicked…

So it limped to the 90 minutes and my verdict would be that we saw some fight in the team, but the humidity is not exactly good for fast football. We probably deserved more from the game (don’t we always against Atletico?) but our oppents defended well and a draw could be the fair result for a pre-season friendly…

1 Cech saves Mhkitaryan saved 0-0
2 Cech had no chance! Willock saved 0-1
3 Cech saves Maitland-Niles brave chip! 1-1
4 Cech beaten Nketia gets saved 1-2
5 ADAN Scores well and Arsenal lose! One penalty scored out of four????


  1. Vince says:

    This Guendouzi guy is a very good player.i love the way he is calm on the ball and pick the right passes

    1. GunnerJack says:

      Couldn’t agree more – he strolled round the pitch as though he owned the place! Always demanding the ball from our defenders – great confidence!

    2. Angus says:

      Yeah can’t believe a review of the game failed to mention him. That confidence is lovely to see and his passing was a joy. He was played playing Ligue 2 last year in France though and he is clearly raw. Got away with overplaying twice in our own half. As he is a DM/CM he needs to improve this aspect at the back.

  2. GB says:

    Penalties to see a result niw

  3. GB says:

    1 miss esch

  4. GB says:

    That’s our first two pens saved!

  5. GB says:

    Cech saved a pen!!

  6. GB says:

    At last we scored one

  7. GB says:

    Eddie missed as well

  8. Declan says:

    Missing 3 out of 4 pens is terrible.
    A lot of work to do before playing City.

  9. Vince says:

    Emery still got alot to do to improve this team

  10. Innit says:

    I feel good after this match

  11. Dotash says:

    At least they didn’t lose against a strong side. Next game will speak more of our tactics against a stronger side

    1. Uchman says:

      athletic Madrid player with only 2 of their first team players and u r blabing

    2. Declan says:

      No Dotash we lost against a weak side, mainly Atlético kids.

  12. GoonerUTH says:

    Gutted but rather lose this one than against City. Perez very disapointing. COYG

  13. RSH says:

    pretty good pre-season game. Standouts for me were Smith-Rowe, Guendouzi, for me. Lacazette will play a big role in striker position this season. A lot of our play was going through him. Overall I’m happy with what I saw. Players making runs, less side passing, chances being created. Still, we are prone to defensive errors and that remains the hurdle to overcome this season.

    And pen shootout, the Atleti keeper looks very good. If Oblak were to go soon they probably already have an adequate successor. Arsenal, nobody really took a good pen tbh, but 3/4 of pen takers were youngsters anyways, so eh. Good for them to feel the pressure of PK’s.

    I’m still curious about who will start in our wide positions. It seems Emery IS going to do Aubameyang on the wing. Don’t know how I feel about that honestly. I’m sure he’s open to change it. Also, when we switched to 3-4-3, the game died out. Defensively we were fine, but attacking-wise, nothing came of it. I dont think that’s very noteworthy and was just an experiment.

  14. Dotash says:

    @ 90min

  15. John Wick says:

    Good workout.. awful penalties except Maitland-Niles.. work to do for Emery some sloppy moments in their play! Switching off, losing concentration and Ramsey trying stupid flicks and trying to play the ball out of the box with 6 players on him.. I suppose he needs time to get Wenger out of his system! Smith Rowe was excellent I was very impressed by him and wonderful goal! Willock and Nelson not ready to play for Arsenal and Rob Holding should be sold.

    1. RSH says:

      lol, I thought the same thing when Ramsey was doing that stupid dribbling in the box. We dont that anymore Aaron, lol. Wenger isn’t there to pat you on the back.

      1. John Wick says:

        Haha I know ? keeps doing that I would just sell him and he can go play under Wenger somewhere else

        1. GunnerJack says:

          I’ve said it many times before – Ramsey is a disaster in any defensive position. Maybe ok if he can play further forward but places up front look to be taken. And as for making him captain . . . please no!

          1. Angus says:

            Other players mistake saved by Ramsey = Ramsey mistake because he had no options pass or clearance because of said mistake and no one reacting around him. I get Ramsey is prone to overplaying but blame him for things he does wrong not things were he was one of 2 to do right (Cech.)

          2. Mickew says:

            Row Z works rather than stupidity.

    2. Alex says:

      Able was Nelson not ready? Did you watch the same game like the rest of us?
      Keep it plain and simple: this was a good runout for majority of the squad, it’s a preseason, Emery needs to see in this game and against psg what works and what doesn’t. Some players like NELSON, Smith-Rowe, Guendouzi, Aubameyang looked really solid, defense is still shaping up and obviously some players didn’t look fit enough YET.

      1. Declan says:

        Yes they looked good but the defenders were all terrible apart from Mustafi oddly enough.

    3. kstix says:

      And some would say ramsey is a good player because he was our best last season forgetting most of our players were crap last season. in the city of the blind, a one-eyed man is king… i still don’t know what emery sees in him. this might define emery’s career if he chooses to put faith on a player like ramsey. seeming like a wenger situation all over again putting faith in flops. ramsey wouldn’t make top 11 of the teams that finished above us last season.

  16. RSH says:

    Miki was the only one that wasn’t a teenager, lol. It’s not that serious at all. Better they mess up in a meaningless friendly and learn to deal with the pressure early in their careers. Unless you are that concerned with winning this ICC thing…

  17. Gifted says:

    This kid Emile Smith Rowe is such a gem. I think he is good for first team already..After all, if he is good enough then he is old enough

  18. benex says:

    I said it Ramsey is a clown, he’s just fortunately to play at Arsenal

  19. Innit says:

    PSG on Saturdee

  20. iffybright says:

    I watched the match…..
    Lucas Perez, Chambers won’t make it at Arsenal….
    They don’t look comfortable on the ball most especially Perez….
    There is this lack of composure about Perez…
    He get confused and fidget alot when is on the ball…..
    Nketiah Still needs to grow…..
    Monreal is still far better than Kolsainac…..
    More balanced than Sead….
    Has more football brain than Sead….
    On the positives

    Smith Rowe is the new Jack Wilshere…
    He has got quick feet and Close control….
    Infact he has got big football brain that is above his age….
    Wonderful player….
    Guendouzi is always launching those forward passes, which is good…..
    too much of Sideways passes killed Arsenal last season…
    But he needs to improve on his Mobility and stamina…

    1. GunnerJack says:

      ‘… improve on his mobility and stamina’!!!??? The guy never stopped freakin’ running! He demanded the ball from anyone near him, sprayed excellent passes all over the place and was still going strong when he was eventually subbed. One of the best of our players without any doubt.
      Feel very good after watching this game – the future looks bright!

      1. iffybright says:

        Mobility in the aspect of recovery after loosing the ball….
        His recovery as a Defensive Midfielder is well below average….
        Anticipation and quick recovery are the main things that makes a defensive midfield players to excel….

        But to be factual with you, I love that guy Guendouzi….

        1. Declan says:

          Guendouzi was our standout player today.

  21. Maks says:

    Nice to see that more and more people are annoyed by Wenger s golden boy.
    Seeing him as a captain of Arsenal is really uncomfortable feeling like Wenger will turn up and replace Emery any moment! 🙂
    Good is to remember that Jack Wilshere did wear captain s armband and still left the club. I am sad that he had to go, but for ramsey I won t have any feelings.

  22. dave says:

    Bernd Leno 7…couldn’t do anything about the goal. Not really tested otherwise
    Petr Cech 8…had much more to do and did it well
    Rob Holding 4….very good in the air and dealt with crosses well but didn’t read through balls at all allowing players to run of his shoulder much to easily doesn’t have the recovery speed either. Not ready to be a arsenal starter or even squad player. Still young so hope he improves on loan somewhere
    Shkodran Mustafi 9….best defender today looked solid throughout
    Calum Chambers 6…looked shaky in a back 3
    Sead Kolasinac 4 ….decent going forward but poor in defense. Opponents were running circles around him. Not convinced he is our future LB
    Héctor Bellerín 6.5….Atletico hardly attacked down his side so not much defending to do. Got forward often but not really dangerous (especially when compared to the brilliant Juan fran)
    Emile Smith-Rowe 8…good exposure for the young star very well taken goal to
    Matteo Guendouzi 10….always wanted the ball….held it well….distributed it well…covered good ground…excellent performance
    Aaron Ramsey 7.5….good allround performance….except when he tried to dribble in his own 6yrd box 🙁
    Jordi Osei-Tutu 7….been impressed with him both today and last weekend
    Alexandre Lacazette 7.5….had some good moments but still looks a bit rusty
    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 9…..looks very sharp, shame he didn’t get a goal 
    Reiss Nelson 7.5 drifted in and out of the game a bit but looked good when he was in it

    Sokratis, Konstantinos Mavropanos, Ainsley Maitland-Niles,Joseph Willock,Edward Nketiah,Lucas Pérez……wern’t involved in the play enough to be rated

    1. Declan says:

      Good marks Dave, I mainly agree. The subs you didn’t rate though were on for about half hour and they were ok apart from AMN and Perez I thought.

  23. ruelando says:

    Nice work out, some points to look at

    Smith-Rowe pure quality, and please, he is not a young Wilshere, I think he will be a far better player, because of the way he approaches the game with more maturity. WELL DONE.

    Guendouzi i loved his passing always looking for the runner if he plans to be DM though he needs more energy in the defensive third and build up on his strength, i actually loved his style of play but would look better with a physical DM beside him.

    Ramsay, i am somewhat disappointed played too far away from Guendouzi and was left him alone too many teams in retrieving the ball or in carrying the ball out of the defensive third. Ramsay has to realise he must play clser to his DM Especial in defending.

    Strikers are getting sharper Aub and Laca have a good understanding and will only get better on the tour.

    Perez i expected to play well but had a poor game, probably wanted to play with Laca and Aub, but that is no excuse.

    Tutu is so interesting and i think would even give Bellerin a run for rightback, really interesting character, who reminds me of Eboue. I am hoping to see him playing some more for Arsenal..

    Emery used two systems 4-3-3 in first half and 3-4-3 in second half, nice to see him testing out systems. I hope he continues using both systems

    Ok the rest of players held there own, oooo sorry forgot Holding was too easily turned, must improve or go on loan.

    Ok time to get back to the drawing board

  24. jon fox says:

    I have not seen the game so cannot comment on THIS match . BUT , as I have warned before, it is foolish to take too much notice of any pre-season friendlies. They are notoriously unreliable as guides of what is to come later. OVER TWO WEEKS YET BEFORE THE CITY GAME AND ALL CLUBS WORK TOWARDS BEING FULLY PREPARED AND UP TO PEAK FITNESS FOR THE FIRST LEAGUE GAME; EVEN US , NOW THAT WENGER HAS GONE!

  25. Scarra says:

    Guendozi’s muscle could be torreira who’s better at closing down targets with him intercepting. I somewhat feel that both of them could make a great base in a 4-2-3-1

  26. Break-on-through says:

    What the heck do people in here watch at all. Ramsey and Guendouzi were the stand out players today and Cech looks like he’s taking the challenge seriously. The two guys covered allot of ground and put some fine work in for a pre season game. Lacazette should have made at least one assist for Ramsey, nice through ball. Lovely finish by Smithy he looks a talent. Some great positives but too early to read anything permanent not enough time as well as many changes.

  27. OzzieGunner says:

    Good workout for overall fitness. The humidity in Singapore is incredibly draining.

  28. Diana says:

    I would want to see in the PSG game, Auba,Laca,Mhyk upfront, Geundozzi,AMN,Rowe-Smith in miedfield and bellerin,mustafi,mavro,kolasinac and Cech start. I more interested in seeing those front 3 start together, something we havent yet seen. Im really worried about Ramsey. Im one of the few that want him to NOT sign a contract and move on- for two main reasons. Arsenal on any day can attack and score, even with our third team options, but our defensive game is usually the difference between a win and a loss. Ramsey does NOT offer much to Arsenal’s defensive game and leaves his midfield partners exposed. Yes he is a good attacker but we are not short on those so we can live WITHOUT him. I will start Guendozzi,AMN and Rowe-Smith ahead of him any day.

    When Torreira and Ozil get fit, they should be automatic starters. In the 4-3-3, i would put Aub and Mikhy on the wings, with Ozil at the apex of a mid 3, his two partners playing DM-Torreira and Guendozzi/Amn/Xhaka depending on opposition. Would only play Ramsey againt a team that sits back and play counter.

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