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Arsenal rise up to comfortably see off Chivas.

Monday 1st August 2016
Arsenal arrived at the StubHub center in Los Angeles packed with 24,000 fans, looking to continue their unbeaten pre-season form. The welcomed inclusion of Santi Cazorla placed a smile on Arsenal faces, the little Spaniard was given the honour of captaining the side. Wenger made several changes from the side that beat the MLS All-Stars team on Friday, in came Ospina, Bellerin, Monreal, Xhaka, Santi and Iwobi to gain fitness from the start.
Arsenal lined up in a standard 4-2-3-1: Ospina, Bellerin, Holding, Chambers, Monreal, Xhaka, Coquelin, Ox, Cazorla, Iwobi, Walcott.

Chivas line up in a 4-3-3: Rodriguez, Villaneuva, Basulto, Alanis, Ponce, Lazaro, Pineda, Alanis, Lopez, Gonzalez, Benitez.

Sluggish, slow and sterile.



The young Mexican team started the brightest out of the two as fitness wasn't an issue for them, they're already three games deep into their league campaign. Arsenal started slowly and gifted possession cheaply to the Mexican side who in turn passively passed the ball around the back four, basic preseason stuff. Chivas lined up in a compact 4-3-3 on paper but defend in a 4-5-1 with the two wingers dropping back into midfield to stifle the Arsenal forwards.
The game burst into life when Holding tapped in a Chambers cut back from a Cazorla set piece, a first ever Arsenal goal for the recent signee giving Wenger more food for thought. Arsenal then stepped up the pace after this goal with Cazorla dominating the middle of the pitch.  The Spaniard seemed to thrive in the no.10 position, a position that he hasn't played in for some time. Santi was bringing finally bringing our full backs into the game more with Coquelin also providing the third man runs around the box, plenty of movement to work with.

Walcott can't seem to play well, anywhere!



Despite playing in his preferred role up front Theo Walcott had a fairly poor game, yes he got into a few dangerous positions  but a player with his pace should be adopting these positions. His link up play and ball control was abysmal and led to the end of several Arsenal attacks. His movement provides options but his ball control ended attacks. In stark contrast, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain put in another solid preseason display. Missing the Euros through injury seems to have done the right winger a world of good, he looks rejuvenated and has clearly been working on his finishing. Can we please have Pre-season Ox all season.

Arsene Wenger on the Ox: "He has it all, slow on the ball but rapid off it"

Despite not seeing too much of the ball Arsenal seemed to have more than enough urgency off the ball. Wenger clearly instructed his players to press high up the pitch to not allow the Chiva players to settle. A co-ordinated press from the front three was a joy to watch and with the coming addition of Sanchez hopefully it will become a regular trait of Arsenal's team organisation.
The press seemed to be implemented from midfield upwards, Xhaka & Coquelin both quickly closed down Chiva players. Unfortunately for Wenger Xhaka seems to have a tendency to follow the ball after missing out on the first tackle, this hot-headedness could cost Arsenal as they lose their structured midfield shape.

On the ball Arsenal were more aggressive with the lengths of their passes, both Holding and Chambers looked to pass through the lines in order to bypass several Chiva players with one pass. Both CBs looked to run out with the ball to push their defensive line up thus forcing the Chiva side into their own half.

New approachto Wengerball?



At the start of the 2nd half, Wenger switched things up again by introducing Campbell, Akpom, Elneny, Debuchy, Bielik & Gibbs into the play. As we saw against the MLS All-Stars Wenger experimented by playing two up front in a 4-2-2-2 with Campbell pushing up to support Akpom. Could this be an indicator of things to come with lingering rumours of a certain Lacazette to come in?
The second half leaked more goals through the new tactical setup, some wizardry dribbling by the Ox down the right accompanied by a cool finish gave Arsenal their second. A third came from some exquisite link up play between Coquelin, Debuchy and Campbell with Akpom providing a subtle finish, once again displaying that fox in the box approach, the striker got himself front of the defender well. A clumsy foul by Debuchy gave away a penalty near the end of the game,  which was dispatched decisively by  Angel Zaldivar. This consolation goal sent the natives home happy.

Wenger can once again be pleased with his team's performance, as the Gunners cruised to a comfortable victory. As the team return to London, they can be pleased to know that they still have several big players to return to add to the growing momentum.
Mathaeus Abuwa

Arsenal fan with ample amounts of passion for both Cristiano Ronaldo & Real Madrid. I'm one of those bandwagonist hipster fans that will claim to know everything about football, but only watches the El Clasico outside of the Premier League. Forgive me, I'm trying. Oh yeah, #WengerOut. 


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