The Australian leg of Arsenal’s preseason tour came to an end today as they faced Western Sydney Wanderers, who finished sixth in the 10 team A-League last season and claimed the last A-league playoff spot (they lost in the first round of the playoffs on penalties to Brisbane Roar). Wanderers feature no names I’d heard of, which doesn’t really mean anything, but I always like looking over the rosters of leagues like this to see if there are any expats or castoffs from other leagues or anything. But not at Western Sydney!
Anyway, Arsenal came into the ANZ Stadium, centerpiece of the 2000 Olympics, with an entirely different lineup from the one that beat Sydney FC a couple days ago, and one that featured Alexandre Lacazette’s first start in Arsenal colors. He played well, setting the first goal in motion and generally looking pretty settled in the side already, which was good to see.
There were goals from Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey, and Mohamed Elneny in the first half before WSW pulled one back in the second, following an Aaron Ramsey backpass that resulted in a free kick from six yards out. The kick was blocked, but the rebound was put home to make it 3-1, which is where it finished.
There isn’t much point in pulling apart preseason games to see how they work; they’re about getting timing back, getting team cohesion back, and starting to gel as they work towards the first weekend of the season in August. It’s good to see that Arsenal are banging in goals again, though, even though the off season is short it’s good to see them back at it.
Next up, the team flies to China to lose 5-1 to Bayern on Wednesday in Shanghai before heading to Beijing to play Chelsea on the 22nd.