Arsenal fought back to snatch a 2-2 draw with Napoli on the opening day of the Emirates Cup.
Lorenzo Insigne fired the Serie A side ahead after seven minutes and Goran Pandev scored a composed second after Lukas Podolski‘s penalty was stopped by Pepe Reina.
Reina made a string of fine saves before Olivier Giroud hauled Arsenal back into contention with an instinctive overhead kick 18 minutes from time. And Laurent Koscielny nodded in a late equaliser after Reina had parried Per Mertesacker‘s header.
These are my 5 takes from the match:
1. The team is not ready for the season yet. I don’t know if they are still suffering from the jet-lag from the Asia Tour or if their mind is still on the Japanese matches played or what. The first half was typical of the early part of last season: unconverted chances, outrageous defending, slow pace and indifference. The right side was numb until Sagna and Walcott came in. The middle was open until Arteta came in.
2. We need reinforcement at the middle and at the back. The first half without Arteta showed how fragile we are at the middle. We lacked a true defensive midfielder and that exposed the central backs to numerous onslaughts of attacks. Arteta’s introduction tightened the midfield. But what if Arteta isn’t available? Why can’t we just get Fellani? The story is same at the back. What happens if koscielny or Metersacker isn’t available? We need reinforcement, we need Williams.
3. Rosicky is getting younger. It is expected that as you age, your rate diminishes and your output is expected to drop. In all of Arsenal’s pre-season, Thomas Rosicky has proved that theory all wrong. He has a lot of energy to burn and he is quick and fast. Against Napoli, he was the best player of the first half and he went on to play a full 90 minutes. He does look like a new signing. I hope he finally retires at the Arsenal at a full age.
4. Giroud is better. Well, was he not getting better? The Frenchman has a unique history of doubling his goal tally in his second season at any club he has played. He has scored in every match we have played in the preseason save the one against Urawa Reds. I expect him to be clinical this season. Against Napoli, his goal was termed “classic” and he won the corner kick that resulted to that goal. He has grown in confidence and I hope it continues into the season proper.
5. Koscielny is the Boss everytime. Arguably the best player against Napoli, Koscielny keeps telling the fans that he is the boss. When you need a vital goal, he is there. When you need to pocket a striker, he is there. Higuain had a bad debut thanks to Kos D’Boss. Did you see that mentality to avoid a corner kick late on in the match? Arsene made a bargain with this lad. He saved us last season and you must have read this letter to the Frenchman. I hope he stays fit throughout the season so we could win the quadruple.
In the other Emirates Cup match, Emmanuel Eboue was fouled in the box for Galatasary to score from the spot to win Porto 1-0. Fans’ favourite Eboue would face Arsenal today. It would be a joy to watch. I was surprised to see the cheers for Drogba, Sneidjer and the Galatasary gaffer.
Let us see if we could win the Emirates cup today, but who cares if we lose?
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