Match Report: Arsenal 0-1 Juventus
A youthful Arsenal side went into their first match of this Emirates Cup against a vastly experienced and well-travelled Juventus team.
Rather than showing a clear view of the first team, Wenger opted to again trust his youngsters to perform in front of the home fans for the first time this season at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal Starting XI
J. Hoyte – Senderos – Djourou – Gibbs
Eboue – Denilson – Ramsey – Wilshere
Vela – Bendtner
Juventus Starting XI
Grygera – Mellberg – Chiellini –Molinaro
Marchionni – Sissoko – Tiago – Nedvěd
Iaquinta – Trézéguet
Arsenal are closer to the start of their season than the Italians, but fitness counted for little as the Juve team were put through their paces early on, the Gunners looking very comfortable on the ball. A great breakaway by Wilshere and Ramsey had the Juventus players stretching to keep up, but Eboue was wasteful with time in the area.
Despite a lack of experience in midfield, the dogged approach of Ramsey, Denilson and Wilshere proved a significant barrier to Juventus attacks; the 16 year-old in particular putting in a few crunching challenges. It was Wilshere too who forced Buffon into his first save, a looping volley at the back post showing impressive technique and composure if not quite enough power.
The Swiss pairing of Senderos and Djourou in defence did much to firm up a previously shaky pre-season back line, and the latter’s burst out of defence led to a stylish break down the left by Wilshere and Bendtner, however the Dane’s left-footed cross just missed Vela’s run.
After 25 minutes Wilshere fed Ramsey and the Welshman turned the Italian defence inside out before forcing Buffon into a sharp near-post save. Immediately afterwards Fabianski in the opposite goal had a tough catch to make under pressure but took it well, a sign that his weakness on crosses may have been worked on in the close season.
A poor clearance from Senderos gave Nedved time to pick out Trezeguet, but the Frenchman’s glancing header was correctly ruled out for offside. The first tough period of the game for Arsenal continued with a Juve freekick just outside the area. On 35 minutes Iaquinta fired it in low for Trezeguet to finish, however the linesman should have repeated his earlier call as he was again offside, but the goal stood.
Goal – David Trezeguet, 38
The first booking came deservedly after Chiellini continued his run of thuggish defending on Ramsey. It provided an appropriate summary of the slowing play as both teams found possession harder to keep coming in towards half-time.
Senderos gave way to club captain Gallas, Ramsey to Diaby and Vela for Adebayor in the second half. Adebayor has a lot to prove after his close-season transfer antics, and started his attempts to redeem himself immediately by feeding Wilshere, Bendtner heading over the bar from the resulting cross.
Arsenal finally started picking up the pace after 52 minutes, Wilshere’s determination to win the throw and Diaby’s twice dummied shot almost set up Denilson, but the eventual cross was just behind his dive. Following the burst in attack the defence too showed more hunger with Djourou and Gallas both showing good composure when breaking up the Serie A team’s advances.
Nasri’s long awaited home debut came on 58 minutes as he replaced Jack Wilshere, Walcott came on for Eboue and Sagna for Justin Hoyte. All three immediately joined the fray, Walcott’s pace seeming to catch the dozing Italian midfield off guard, with Sagna’s resulting cross just too close to Nasri for the young Frenchman to do anything substantial.
Adebayor’s first chance came after more sharp play from Sagna, his header under pressure proving an easy take for Buffon. Despite much possession in the final third the Gunners were finding it hard to push that extra yard behind the Italian defence, despite positive running from Walcott and Nasri – the latter looking instantly at ease on the ball, and quicker and more direct than predecessor Hleb ever threatened to be.
The Togo international had the best chance of the half so far when Bendtner dinked a ball into his path, Adebayor’s left foot volley fired just over the bar. With 10 minutes to go and chances few and far between, Arsenal looked less and less likely to force an equaliser at the Emirates.
Adebayor it was with the final chance of the game, his curled shot squeezed just past the post as the Gunners finished a frustrating game with an unfortunate loss. All the promise and free-flowing play before the goal was suffocated out by a negative Juventus side who didn’t need more than their one goal and looked like they knew it.
Emirates Cup 2008 Standings (Day 1):
|Team||P||W||D||L||F||A||Pts||Bonus Pts*||Total Pts|