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Malaysia XI Arsenal on Pre-Season tour 2012

July 25, 2012

Evening Gooners…

When did friendlies stop being friendlies? I ask because so many football fans today seem to get all worked up about results in these matches. These used to be games all about the clubs getting ready for the new season.

Today friendlies are LIVE on TV with Pre-Season tournaments set up for clubs to travel the world to raise their profile.

No matter what, they are still friendlies and though like many fans I want my team to win these matches, it does not really matter if we don’t. What’s important is the team gets itself ready for when the points are needed on the scoreboard.

Watching a re-run of the game on ESPN from last night, if I were new to football I could be forgiven when tuning in to see what all the fuss was about, that I was watching Arsenal play in the group stages of the Champions League (save Malaysia would not be allowed). The commentary bordered on crazy.

“Arsenal should not give the ball away so easy”

“Arsenal looking a bit tired and unfit”

“Can’t make mistakes like that against the big teams”

Well yes that is because it’s a friendly. ESPN feel the need to show these games live and because of that hype the games up into some kind of major football match going on.

Raise profile? Take the game to the Far East. I’m reliably informed by some bloke at Man Utd, who is obviously a marketing man that they have 300m worldwide football fans. Yet United turned over £334.1m last season… If these 300m fans of United each spent £5 (that’s all) on Man Utd official merchandise etc, the club would get £1.5b income each year. Not rocket science to see the market does not splash the cash.

Most the fans in the Far East seem to be wearing fake United goods and watching on dodgy Satellite channels or internet streams, the don’t actually provide that much income for the club as far as I can see. You may be reading this and feel different, please feel free to share your view?

Maybe the sponsors who pay United big sums of money feel that they get a return on the club wearing their names on shirts and attaching their names to the club. However, just how many ordinary football fans in the Far East need AON insurance and reinsurance brokerage services, insurance products, risk and insurance advice? 

I read on a football forum, from a guy who went to the Arsenal match in Malaysia. This guy mentioned that as he approached the stadium, plenty of fake goods were on sale…

This from the guy… On approaching the Stadium itself, there were people selling Arsenal Merchandise that was not available in normal sports stores Malaysia.  One seller quickly approached yelling ” 1 scarf 5 ringiit ” buy buy buy ! On closer inspection, it was bogus and was definitely not an original.  It was also surprising to see some supporters in the “new” away kit with their favorite players names printed on the back.  Seeing that Nike Malaysia hasn’t even launched the away kit yet, and whaddya know? On closer inspection, also bootleggers inc. After the game scarfs were being sold 2 scarfs for 5 ringiits…

I doubt clubs will ever make money out of commercial club goods in that part of the world. This of course does not mean the fans in the Far East are not big fans of the clubs they follow.

Anyway the game.  Arsenal kicked off with Mannone, Jenkinson, TV5, Djourou, Gibbs, Diaby, Coquelin, Arteta, Santos, Gervinho and Chamakh.  The stadium only looked about 40% full. Cutting out all the hype and only focusing on the important parts of the game.

8 mins Diaby-Santos combo release Chamakh who has a great chance and shoots powerfully straight at the keeper, who could not hold the ball and defender clears for a corner, but a good move from Arsenal, who are knocking the ball around well.

9 Mins and the Verminator goes for a scissors kick but gets it all Pete Tong. However, nice to see he has the confidence to try that type of shot.

12 mins Coq-Gervinho-Diaby-Gervinho and some great one/two touch passing which ends with Gervinho just failing to get to ball before keeper. Good football.

Must say here that the new kit looks bloody good. However, where is the goalkeepers all pink kit. Arsenal having quite a bit of the ball and passing around well. Most of the moves going through Diaby.

19 Mins Coq-Diaby-Gibbs-Diaby, the soft shoe shuffle past defender and tries 1/2 with Gibbs that just fails to come off. Corner taken by Arteta and Chamakh attacks the ball and just fails to get header before keeper knocks it out for another corner.

30 mins Coq-Santos-Chamakh-Santos and that should be 1-0 AFC, yet somehow Santos puts it wide with his right foot. Santos has been playing well. Looks like Vijay Amritraj has taken charge of the Malaysian National XI.. Malaysia look to have been looking at the AC Milan/Sunderland book of how to fuck pitch up when Arsenal are in town.

38 mins and Santos read the ball well in the area, intercepts and that really should have been 1-0 to AFC, but Santos trying to slide it past the keeper sees the keeper save with his feet…  André Clarindo dos Santos what are you playing at?

46 mins what a shot. WOW!!! the left back hits a worldy past Mannone and it’s 1-0 to Malaysia. Yet again somehow a team has hit a long-range shot that has flown past one of our keepers. So strange seeing loads of supporters wearing Arsenal kits cheering that goal.

HT 1-0 Sack Wenger!!! Board Out!!! We’re rubbish!!! Twitters ALIVE!!! You could almost hear Brian Blessed shouting it out…

After the break Arsenal had a major change round with everyone bar Mannone going off to be replaced by Bartley, Miquel, Yennaris, Eastmond, Aneke, Song, Elsfeld, Walcott, Ryo & Oxo

54 mins a quick free kick from Ryo to Aneke and the forward hits the post, however, he was flagged offside.

65 mins and Songhino does another trademark through ball to Afobe, who instead of taking the ball round the keeper to equalise, he shots directly at the keeper making it an easy save for him. That should have been 1-1.

79 mins and Theo is replaced by Esfeld. 25 mins, however, Wenger said he looked tired, best to be safe with Theo.

80 mins and Afobe had another chance as he takes a long ball down well on his chest but fires well wide.

84 mins and a great run by Oxo past at least 273 players and just cannot finish.

85 mins. Songhino in the centre of the park, plays a superb through ball to find Yennaris in the area. Yennaris cuts back and lay off a nice ball that was just asking to be put into the net and there was Esfeld to do just that with a tidy right foot finish… Is it me or did the Comms sound a bit gutted, robbed of their headlines. The Arsenal fans in their fake shirts celebrate. That’s an Arsenal goal!!!

89 mins Miquel-Aneke and the forwards shot takes a wicked Frank Lampard and ends up past the keeper to make it 2-1 to the Arsenal. The fake Arsenal shirts celebrate the winner and the comms sound deflated. Apparently the kids have got Arsene Wenger out of trouble.

All said and done a good work out for the lads. Nearly all the squad getting a run out and it must feel well pleasing for Chucks and Esfeld to have scored. Diaby looked good. The Ox was looking impressive… Song was spraying the ball about. Looking forward now to Friday and the football dopers in Beijing National Stadium, China.

Good news!!! Laurent Bossielny has signed a new five contract with the club. taking him up to 2017…

Arsene Wenger has mentioned in his presser that he is looking to bring in more players and for me and I hope many Gooners this is turning out to be a promising summer and the season can’t come around quick enough.



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