My thoughts on yesterday’s friendlies, with Robin van Persie stealing the show
Written by Chris on May 27, 2010 11:30
Tuesday and Wednesday featured plenty of friendly Internationals which luckily for us saw the involvement of more than five Arsenal players and some of them were simply superb.
Alex Song’s Cameroon took on Georgia on Tuesday with Robin van Persie, Carlos Vela, Bacary Sagna, Abou Diaby and William Gallas all involved on Wednesday night with the Dutchman stealing the show with two superb goals with which he sent a strong signal that he’s ready to be one of the main attractions in South Africa. His goals can be watched here for those who missed them.
I will not provide a full report on the games, I’m sure the likes of BBC can do a much better job in that so I’ll quickly go through the games so as to of course focus on how the Gunners performed.
Georgia vs Cameroon
I’ll be honest, I found it very hard to watch the Cameroon game from start to finish, it was a very boring game of football with the African side clearly using the friendly game to warm up for the finals without caring too much about the result. I’m sorry I can’t provide any thoughts on Alex’s performance but those who saw it will surely understand.
Netherlands vs Mexico
Netherlands against Mexico was much better. The Dutch side meant business from the first minute of the game and made sure to put the Mexican back four under heavy pressure knowing that the backline is indeed the weakest link of Javier Aguirre’s side. And, it didn’t take long for the orange boys to take the lead with Robin taking full advantage of some shocking defending from the men in green.
Robin added a second late into the second half and it was only in the second half that the Mexicans woke up thanks to the introduction of Giovani dos Santos and Carlos Vela. They causes all sorts of trouble with their movement and helped their team in pulling one back. If I am to add a comment on dos Santos, he needs to control his temperament as yesterday’s was his second booking in less than three days and the real competition is yet to start.
To conclude the analysis of this game, Holland will be very difficult to stop. Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder didn’t feature, yet they were impressive in midfield and going forward. And they look strong at the back as well so they are definitely up there in my Top 5 of those who could lift the cup in the end.
France vs Costa Rica
As I was watching Robin’s show I only managed to catch the second half of this one. I understand William Gallas was used from the first minute but was substituted at the end of the first 45 minutes, presumably as a precaution.
Despite only winning by one goal, France didn’t look rusty, far from that. As expected, they saw plenty of the ball and the creativity of Yoann Gourcuff and Franck Ribery will be a big asset in South Africa if they manage to get the final ball right.
Speaking of Gourcuff, a small note to say that if Cesc does leave the club this summer, he is one who I would want to see come in to replace him. I don’t want to go deeper into the Cesc story, he’s still our captain, let me just say that if he leaves, we’ll be in big trouble in midfield as again, I consider him irreplaceable.
The Arsenal Players
One can’t not start with Robin van Persie’s brace. I was worried because of the heavy rain conditions as a slippery pitch is always a menace to play on but Robin came through that one unhurt which is always glad to see considering how unlucky the poor boy is with injuries.
As for the goals, they were brilliant. The first one, as I said above, was easy to put away but the second left-footed volley was a beauty to watch. He clearly is the main man up front for the Dutch side, on a different level compared to Klaas-Jan Huntelaar who contrary to our man is struggling to regain his form.
Carlos Vela impressed me as well. Coming on in the 55th minute together with Giovani dos Santos, they immediately combined well these two and gave something more to the Mexican side which was struggling to find gaps when pushing forward.
Vela tried his luck from long range ten minutes after coming in but his effort went wide but was full of runs and nice turns in the final part of the game. I’m sure he will start against Italy, game in which Javier Aguirre will surely use his best 11 after experimenting against England and last night.
And finally, the French players. As I explained, I missed William’s first half. As for Bacary, he was very active on the right flank but rarely used as contrary to Arsenal Raymond Domenech’s squad loves to penetrate from the centre of the pitch.
Abou Diaby came on in the 76th minute but saw very little of the ball to judge his performance though he did lose the ball dangerously in the middle of the pitch after France took the lead only to win it back with a great challenge. Gael Clichy was on the bench and not used.
Denmark take on Senegal tomorrow evening but I’m not sure Nicklas Bendtner will feature. I heard rumours about him saying that he’s nursing an injury which could damage his World Cup preparation, well we’ll see, I’ll make sure to report on that one if he features.
On Saturday, Alex Song will be back in action as Cameroon will face Slovakia, day on which Spain will take on Saudi Arabia at 17:00. Again, if Arsenal players feature and I manage to get the games on TV, I’ll be reporting on how they performed.
Until then, knowing that Robin is back and on fire, take care friends.