Arsenal thrashed Boreham Wood 8-0 in their first game under new manager Unai Emery. There was clear excitement and intrigue among the fans as their new manager took charge of his first game, and he couldn’t have asked for a better introduction. Even though it was just a pre-season friendly against a side which is of much lower calibre than Arsenal, the playing style is what got the fans going.
Match Highlights: Boreham Wood 0-8 Arsenal (2018). pic.twitter.com/RiejBSIPf3
— ArsenalGoals (@ArsenalGoaIs) July 14, 2018
Aubameyang scored a hat-trick inside the opening 17 minutes (7, 9, 17) before further goals from Reiss Nelson (35) and Alexandre Lacazette (39) gave the Gunners an ample half-time advantage. 11 changes were made in half-time which saw 11 new players come on to the pitch to impress. Eddie Nketiah struck a sixth after the restart (53) and further goals from Jeff Reine-Adelaide (71) and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (79) completed a confidence-boosting victory on Emery’s debut.
The first game for Arsenal this season unveiled a lot of qualities the fans were waiting to learn. Below are the 3 main takeaways from the game.
The Key Players seem ready
Even though this was a match against a much weaker side than Arsenal, it was an important one. One of the most significant findings is that the star players for Arsenal seem to be clicking.
A 17-minute hat-trick is a fabulous way to impress a new manager. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be quite pleased with his performance in the new system. His goalscoring ability was on full display and more importantly, his exchange with fellow striker Alexandre Lacazette was extremely effective. The forwards were excellent in their pass-and-move play with one another, they made runs that complimented the positions of the other and created a plethora of chances. The attacking pair showed tremendous promise.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) July 14, 2018
Aaron Ramsey and Henrik Mkhitaryan came on in the second-half and displayed a sense of composure and tranquillity in a match that had already been won. They played numerous forward passes and linked up with the attackers wonderfully.
Papa fits right in
When you see Sokratis and Mavropanos at the back pic.twitter.com/84nN8aR6LF
— CarelessCoquelin (@CarelesCoquelin) July 14, 2018
Sokratis started his first game in the Arsenal colors and he was as solid as he needed to be. At times, the Greek international was casual, but the majority of the half, he was a leader at the back and that is exactly what the Gunners lacked last season. The 30-year old was physically intimidating and a firm presence at the back whilst providing decent passes to the midfield. It was clear that Papastathopolous had fit right into Emery’s system and seemed destined to be a regular for the team.
The Future is bright
One of the most important roles of pre-season friendly is as a platform for the youth. And that is exactly what this match was for the young Gunners.
— Eddie Nketiah (@EddieNketiah9) July 14, 2018
Eddie Nketiah knows how to score goals. After prospering in youth football last season, and further saving the first team in the EFL Cup against Norwich City, the 19-year-old is now prepared to stake a claim as a reliable back-up for Lacazette and Aubameyang in the first team. The English youngster executed a graceful, instinctive flick past the goalkeeper, using the momentum of a low cross to his advantage, simply directing the ball into the back of the net. Despite there being concerns about his consistency, his rawness, and his physicality, the natural ability to score goals is presen., and that is something that cannot be taught.
Great to get 45 minutes in the tank today💪🏻 what an experience! Amazing result to top it off!⚽️Thanks for the support!❤️@Arsenal
— Emile Smith Rowe (@emilesmithrowe) July 14, 2018
Emile Smith-Rowe is one of the brightest youngsters at Arsenal’s disposal right now. What was instantly remarkable was the quality and awareness of his touches. He flaunts excellent spatial intellect, often knowing exactly what he is going to do with the ball before he even receives it. Rowe also has excellent vision in the final third, and his decision making was remarkable. He was difficult to tackle, beat players with consistency, and commanded attention, which consequently created space for those around him. The 17-year-old was particularly industrious as he fulfilled the midfield role with vigor and flair.
Reiss Nelson vs. Boreham Wood (2018). pic.twitter.com/zKzMbXwMpL
— ArsenalGoals (@ArsenalGoaIs) July 14, 2018
Reiss Nelson was as impressive as the fans expected him to be. The 18-year-old, who had already garnered plenty of attention due to his excellent performances for the U-23 team and some appearances for the first team last season, put his name on the scoresheet with a brilliant volley before half-time.
— Jeff Reine-Adélaïde (@jreineadelaide) July 14, 2018
Jeff Reine-Adelaide was another player who caught the eye with a wonderful goal from outside the box. The 20-year-old returned to the club after a loan spell with Angers in Ligue 1. Jordi Osei-Tutu, 19, also had a decent game while Konstantinos Mavropanos, 20, was solid at the back with his fellow Greek teammate Sokratis.