Who says we win nothing?
I didn't go to Southampton after all yesterday. Setting off from Dover we were hit by the most spectacular storm which led to flooded roads - you may have seen some of the pictures from this area on Sky News. I wasn't prepared to drive all the way to Southampton with the potential for running in to more, so decided against doing so. As a result I wasn't there in person to see the boys performing pretty damn well in winning the Markus Liebherr Memorial Cup.
Not being there in person had me relying on Arsenal's promised "live" text commentary via Twitter. What a joke that was. During the first game against Anderlecht I think we got four updates through the whole match. I actually got better information from the useless sap covering the game for Sky Sports News. As well as that Sky showed Henri Lansbury's goal within ten seconds of it being scored.
It was an incredibly young Arsenal side that took on the Belgian Champions. I was delighted to see that an Arsenal youth product was given the responsibility of skippering the lads, in the shape of Kieran Gibbs. Henri Lansbury has a decent record when it comes to pre-season. He was there to provide the near-post finish following a decent piece of work from Carl Jenkinson. Marouane Chamakh had earlier seen a decent chance well saved. The only other moment of note in the 45 minute game was Anderlecht having a goal ruled out for offside.
In the second game there were one or two more senior players in the side, with Andre Santos, Francis Coquelin, Gervinho and Johan Djourou (who was Captain). Unsurprisingly Southampton went for it in front of their supporters. Vito Mannone didn't exactly put himself in the shop window as Kyle Bartley bailed him out of trouble. It was no surprise when Saints did go ahead. However, Gervinho wiped out the lead with a superb solo effort. It really was fine play from the Ivorian. After that there came the spectacle of the most farcical penalty shootout in history. Arsenal already had the trophy won, but the rules said a draw must be decided by penalties. As it turned out Arsenal missed their final penalty through Kyle Ebecilio, but it really didn't matter. I have to say that I was annoyed at a youngster being put in that position. With Gervinho and Djourou knocking about there was no way a kid should have had to take a penalty. I know it was only a pre-season knockabout, but senior players must take responsibility.
There were notable absentees last night. There was no Alex Song, Abou Diaby (almost certainly not capable to play), Mikel Arteta or Thomas Vermaelen. The obvious question is where the hell were they? If it had been the traditional Barnet fixture they would have been involved. Would not a 45 minute run-out have done them some good? I don't begin to understand it.
All in all it was a useful exercise, I suppose. I'm not sure what was learned from Andre Santos playing at centre-forward for the Southampton game, but it probably underlined the fact that we are still a bit short up front (regardless of certain players still being on holiday). I'm sure some of the youngsters involved will have really benefited. It will be interesting to see if any of them board the plane for Malaysia this week.