Arsenal 3-1 WSW

WHAT HAPPENED?

The Australia leg of our pre-season tour drew to a close with a 3-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers.

Olivier Giroud opened the scoring with a trademark first-time finish at the near post after a powerful run down the left from Nacho Monreal.

The Spaniard belied his defensive position to set up the second goal too, Aaron Ramsey running onto his long pass to lift the ball over Vedran Janjetovic.

Wanderers made it a physical game with Giroud on the receiving end of much of the buffeting and Granit Xhaka getting involved in a spiky exchange.

But our football did the talking and Mohamed Elneny strode forward from defence to score a third from Alex Iwobi’s lay-off, his shot taking a wicked deflection.

Our pace dropped in the second half and Steven Lustica scored from close range at the second attempt after we were penalised for a backpass from Ramsey.

Arsene Wenger repeated his tactical approach from Thursday’s win over Sydney FC, replacing his goalkeeper at half-time and every outfield player after 66 minutes.

Mesut Ozil was one of the subs and he curled a free-kick against the post with six minutes left. Eddie Nketiah hit the same post even later.

A NEW ROLE FOR MO?

Most of the side that finished Thursday’s 2-0 win over Sydney FC started this match.

That meant Elneny continued at the heart of a three-man defence – a new role for him. With Xhaka and Ramsey seemingly first choice in the centre of midfield, could Mo make a new home for himself in the back three?

Ainsley Maitland-Niles – usually seen in central midfield or on the right – was also in unfamiliar territory at left wing-back.

Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny were back though, the latter making his first appearance since that red card in the final game of the Premier League season.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Our Sydney fanbase have waited 40 years to see Arsenal in the flesh and they appeared to enjoy every minute of it. For the record, Saturday’s attendance of 83,221 eclipsed the crowd from Thursday’s game.

We head to China next for a two-city stop and two high-profile matches. Bayern Munich lie in wait in Shanghai, and another clash with Chelsea will round off our 2017 tour in Beijing.

 

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