Youngsters take their chances as Arsenal thrash Indonesian XI

Chuba Akpom, Kristoffer Olsson and Thomas Eisfeld were amongst the scorers as the Arsenal first-team began their pre-season preparations with what turned into little more than a leisurely stroll against an Indonesian Dream Team this afternoon.

Ignasi Miquel, Gedion Zelalem, Chuks Aneke, Serge Gnabry and Damian Martinez also featured in the 7-0 victory, with goals from Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski, in addition to a well taken brace from Olivier Giroud completing the scoring.

Akpom, on his first appearance for the senior side, was heavily involved from the offset, directing a shot across the face of goal in the opening minutes before Gnabry, who was lively throughout his time on the pitch, dribbled past several defenders prior to seeing his shot saved.

With 19 minutes gone Arsenal took a deserved lead with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain doing well to seize possession before accelerating forwards and finding Theo Walcott who curled the ball calmly into the back of the net.

At that point the floodgates were expected to fly open, but it didn’t quite transpire like that as Arsenal squandered several good goalscoring opportunities. Kieran Gibbs, raiding forwards from left-back, was particularly guilty with one scuffed effort which struck the side-netting, whilst Akpom came close to turning home Walcott’s well-executed cross.

Akpom would eventually get his reward for his perseverance nine minutes after the re-start. The striker was heavily involved in the build-up of the goal as he expertly flicked the ball out wide towards Gnabry before positioning himself perfectly to turn home the German’s cross and double Arsenal’s advantage.

The goals began to fly in thereafter, with substitute Giroud twice finishing well from crosses from his compatriot Bacary Sagna before Podolski fired home emphatically having linked well with Tomas Rosicky.

Rosicky was also involved in Olsson’s goal, with the Czech Republic midfielder producing a delightful cross which the youngster was grateful to tap home, before Eisfeld, Arsenal’s player of the Asia Tour last season, also got in on the act.

Against this calibre of opposition the margin of victory was irrelevant, but it was still a valuable experience for the eight youngsters involved, even if Martinez and Aneke were posed few problems. The latter, seeking to impress following a successful loan spell at Crewe Alexandra last season, was deployed in an unfamiliar centre-back role, whilst Miquel spent time at both centre-back and left-back and, other than one moment of hesitation in the first-half, was largely composed.

It was the attack-minded players who made the biggest impact, however, with Olsson and Zelalem playing some sublime passes in midfield, whilst Akpom and Gnabry were also heavily involved in many of Arsenal’s attacking moves.

Not everything that Gnabry tried came off, but his directness provided Arsenal with a genuine outlet on the left flank, whilst Akpom, having been starved of scoring opportunities in the opening period, gratefully took the chance that came his way.

Zelalem, despite his frail physique, produced one of his best performances in an Arsenal shirt to date, with the German youth international playing a superb pass to split the Indonesian defence.

There is, of course, a danger in praising the youngsters too much off the back of this performance considering the standard of opposition, but, in terms of staking their respective claims for a place in the squad next season, several of those involved today will no doubt have enhanced their chances of receiving game time during the forthcoming campaign.



  1. Only Santi and Jack can play that pass that Zelalem did on our team… Rosicky often tries n fails w that exact ball it was sublime

    1. Ramsey, ollson and arteta have played similar through balls in the past. I think you are grossly underestimating our squad

  2. Yes zelalem is talented. He just wasn’t that impressive in his u 21 apps last season, I think he the type who you only get the best out of by putting good players around him. In u21 level where the standard is a bit primitive his skill set is kind of wasted

  3. Good run out for the team. But your report was a bit, erm stilted, no offence. Saying young Zelalem has a frail physique was a bit off. Slight maybe, but definitely not frail.

    1. true , zalalem is bigger than I thought. very good passing range, positions his body well to receive and distribute the ball, good vision and very composed. I wouldn’t say him and cesc were to different at that age, but while zalalem is quicker across the ground, I think cesc was bigger and stronger. I interesting to see how he develops from here. him and Crowley look good.

  4. all the kids looked good on the ball am sploit for choice,wow olsson is some player,jeorge bird is 23 allocated to the swede.

  5. Zelalam Olsson eisfeld aneke toral crowley if 2 among dem can make it here den dat will be gr8t akpom is abit raw but he has sanogo/campbell 2 compete wit it a straight battle btw ryo & gnabry bellerin miquel martinez hv a gr8t chance of breakin into 2 d first team considerin uncertainties in dia position nico/hayden both versatile n good players like le coq

  6. Here is the pass… Look where eisfeld is when zelalem spots him and look where the ball ends up… With the outside of the boot…

  7. I saw the game live on local tv in Penang.For the info of gunners fans,Penang is famous for its food and beaches.The food is fantastic and believe or not at a fraction of UK prices.
    A plate of the famous cha kuay teow cost $6 in Malaysian currency.That will be under UK 2.5 pounds.There are other foods to whet the appetite ie egg omelette,mee gorengg,etc
    A four bus ride will bring you to South Thailand where the food is great and cheaper too.
    We have to have a sense of perspective after the 7-0 win. Arsenal were playing a team of division 3 to 4 std.Wait till the gunners canbeat a epl team by more than 5 goals.

  8. The composure that Gedion Zelalem posseses on the ball is a joy to watch. He just doesn’t make mistakes because he’s aware of everything around him. Kris Olsson impressed me as well, his style is almost that of a young Rosicky. His vision is sublime and I truely expect them both to make it at Arsenal. When it comes to Aneke I kno I’m one of not many that feels he has the potential to have a career at Arsenal. I just think that Wenger isn’t prepared to give him the treatment and games hell give to the foreign boys such as Gnabry, Zelalem and Olsson

    1. On the contrary – Aneke has many skills – the question is what’s his position in the first team. He reminds me very much of the type of role that Bergkamp used to play but Arsenal doesnt really have that “2nd striker/half playmaker” role any more.

      However, Aneke has great vision and anticipation and his fundamental skills in ball controI are really good – he is a well-schooled footballer. I think what Wenger maybe wants to do is try to turn him into a Rio Ferdinand type of ball-playing center back. Djourou had many of the skills to do this but never the confidence. Aneke seems to me a bit more stable and confident as a person and maybe can withstand the pressure here to become a success at that role.

  9. Should have bought Hayden with this team because Why play Aneke in that position? So much talent wasted from him.

    Yeah Zelalem was good but the team was defending most of the time. Lets see what these youngsters can do vs the japanese team or even Vietnam. Which will be harder for sure.

    For most of the time Zelalem played it simple and short. He did one good pass and again the opponents never really pressed or pressured us. The talent was there. He looked better than most U18 players already. I am not saying he is not good but it might still take a few years before we see him do a breakthrough for the first team.

    Olsson played more balls forward and looked better this time I think. But same goes for him, the opponents was weaker than thought. Hopefully Vietnam will provid more pressure and class. But the strongest will probably be the japanese teams.

    1. He’s obviously trying to develop the defensive aspects of his game, an area he was slack on at Crewe, to help him become a more complete midfielder.

  10. It is unbelievable the 16 years old young player plays like seasen professional, the way he reads the game amazing , but he needs protection still young physically to play primership, well done young boy keep it up , we hope we will see you in first team one day .

  11. Nice report Jeorge – good to read a blogger who can write English.
    Ok – it was a weak team we played but what the hell – 7 goals is 7 goals and will give the squad a good feel. Takes the pressure off a bit. All the youngsters impressed – that will be some CC team 🙂

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