Akpom and Zelalem impress again as Arsenal trounce Vietnam

Pre-season friendly

Vietnam 1 Arsenal 7 (Giroud (3), Oxlade-Chamberlain, Akpom (2), Miquel.

Another pre-season fixture fulfilled, and another seven goals for Arsenal. Most importantly from the perspective of the club’s Academy, however, two youngsters were amongst those who got on the scoresheet, with Chuba Akpom scoring a brace and Ignasi Miquel finding the net, whilst Gedion Zelalem, even though he did not see quite as much of the ball as he did against Indonesia on Sunday, again demonstrated his potential with some sumptuous passes.

It was not all perfect for Arsenal, as they conceded their first goal of pre-season, whilst several passes went astray in the first half and Aaron Ramsey looked to have sustained an injury towards the end of the game. However, the fixture was awash with positives as Jack Wilshere and Ryo made their first appearances of the summer, even though the latter lasted just twenty minutes.

Arsenal were three goals to the good at the break following a well-taken hat-trick from Olivier Giroud, but much of the Gunners’ play in the first half was lacking in fluidity. A much stronger side started the game, with Serge Gnabry the only player from outside the first-team squad to feature from the offset.

The German winger, stationed on the right flank, started quietly, but improved steadily as the half progressed and came close to scoring on one occasion when he directed a shot on target after his compatriot Lukas Podolski had struck the post.

It took just five minutes for Arsenal to open the scoring, with Tomas Rosicky doing well to find Giroud, who finished adroitly to add to the brace his scored against Indonesia. Podolski then came close, but Arsenal struggled to carve out many more clear-cut goalscoring opportunities until Giroud scored twice in quick succession towards the end of the half. The first goal was a well-taken individual effort which left the Vietnamese goalkeeper with no chance, whilst the second stemmed from good harrying in midfield by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

There was the expected plethora of changes at the interval, with Akpom and Zelalem amongst the players entering the fray. Both players were determined to impress again having caught the eye against Indonesia, but it was Oxlade-Chamberlain who would make the biggest initial impact, with the England international rifling home after good work down the right flank from Theo Walcott.

Akpom’s time would come, however, and the England U19 international striker didn’t have very long to wait to open his account for the day as he was expertly found by Aaron Ramsey before eluding the goalkeeper and finishing calmly to make it 5-0 to Arsenal.

Akpom would add a sixth, taking his overall tally for the tour to three goals in two games, but the most significant aspect of this particular goal was the unerringly accurate ball from Zelalem which found Oxlade-Chamberlain in the build-up. The latter went on to find Akpom, who scored, before Per Mertesacker almost got in on the act with a powerful header.

Two youngsters were involved in the move for the seventh and, as it transpired, final goal, with Thomas Eisfeld finding Miquel, who tucked home his second goal for the first-team. Just prior to that, Wilshere had been introduced for his first minutes of pre-season, whilst Damian Martinez, Chuks Aneke, Kristoffer Olsson all received game-time. Aneke was forced to operate at centre-back again, whilst Olsson slotted into an unfamiliar right-back role.

Vietnam had their fairytale moment when they scored a late consolation, but there was even more drama in the closing stages when the goalkeeper, Tran Buu Ngoc, was sent-off for bringing down Wilshere outside the area.

Again, it was hardly the most stringent of tests, and the Gunners are likely to face far tougher challenges further down the line in pre-season, but it was another good outing for the youngsters, and for Akpom and Zelalem in particular, who are doing their chances of promotion to the senior side no harm at all.

Wojciech Szczesny- The Polish goalkeeper was largely untroubled.

Carl Jenkinson- Struggled defensively at times, but attacked well.

Bacary Sagna- Very composed and won some important tackles at centre-back.

Laurent Koscielny- Was posed very few problems defensively.

Kieran Gibbs- Galloped down the left flank with ease.

Mikel Arteta- Composed as ever in possession.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain- Drove forward well, scored one goal and created another.

Serge Gnabry- Largely impressive 45 minutes for the German, who produced several good crosses.

Tomas Rosicky- Played a couple of excellent passes.

Lukas Podolski- Perhaps should have scored during the first-half.

Olivier Giroud- A well-taken hat-trick.

Per Mertesacker (for Koscielny, 46)- Had very little to do.

Ignasi Miquel (for Gibbs, 46)- Took his goal well, but, operating at left-back, was not entirely comfortable defensively.

Gedion Zelalem (for Rosicky, 46)- Not always heavily involved, but again played some astonishing passes.

Ryo (for Podolski, 46)- Understandably rusty and struggled to make an impact during his 20 minutes on the field.

Aaron Ramsey (for Arteta, 46)- Impressive again, but concerns will be raised over his apparent injury.

Chuba Akpom (for Giroud, 46)- Another two goals and impressive link-up play from the young striker.

Theo Walcott (for Gnabry, 46)- Provided assist for Chamberlain, but finishing was wayward.

Jack Wilshere (for Oxlade-Chamberlain, 66)- Made a couple of those familiar bursting runs.

Damian Martinez (for Szczesny, 71)- Could do very little about the goal and made one good save.

Chuks Aneke (for Sagna, 71)- Made some good interceptions but will surely be frustrated not to have been deployed in midfield so far during this tour.

Kris Olsson (for Jenkinson, 71)- Like Aneke, was deployed in an unfamiliar role, and wasn’t comfortable at right-back.

Thomas Eisfeld (for Ryo, 71)- Another good cameo from the German, who set up Miquel’s goal.

Not used: Lukasz Fabianski.



  1. Lots of traveling and sightseeing for a preseason, lets hope the team get a good work out, years gone by Arsenal have shun these money tour and go for a hard working preseason. Lets hope it all work out

  2. Please do not break a youngster potential zelalem still looks very young, I know he still can play for first team but physically is not ready let us give him some time before introduce him for first team .

  3. Wenger is a tosser for playing an attacking midfield player as a centre half when he has failed to go and buy sufficient cover and is playing a Zelalalme ahead of a player with 40 first team games. Aneke has been at the club since he was 8 has had less opportunity than a player whose been at the club for 5 minutes. And this twat wants a new contract after 8 years of excuses !!!!!

    1. Well lets hope Aneke gets a chance in Japan. Zelalem surely can’t play 4 games in the midfield in a row, If Aneke can’t get a chance now… when is he getting a chance? If I was him I would have left the club with big disappointment.

      Zelalem and Olsson however looked really good, as long as they are taking the chances Wenger can’t be blame for doing it wrong. But I don’t think Aneke would have done worse.

      Still think Hayden should have gone with this team.

    2. well maybe he is trying to get Aneke to learn a defensive job so when he is playing in midfield he is aware of things like reading the play, tracking runners and put in challenges. From what i seen of aneke he is very attacking minded – so maybe he is trying to learn the defensive side of the game –

      1. Yeah some people have said that. And I think you guys are right. I never thought of that with Aneke because I think he is a box to box midfielder like Ramsey. I still think he should be play in midfield to be moulded as a DM or CM. I don’t see the big impact of development of him playing in CB spot really.

  4. The joke’s on you man. You’d be the first one to cry if Arsene wasn’t playing Zelalem and we lost him to another big club. Admit it, he’s a better talent than Aneke. I want Chuks to make it as well, but not at the expense of a clearly superior talent. You’re the tosser.

  5. Milo – Sorry i dont buy the hype and will not be crying for any the mad scientist does. Ive watched him enough in u21s games v Liverpool and other games to see hes no better than Ollsen or Toral. He reminds me of Ozygakup all sideways passing but very little goal threat either with a pass or shot. On what bais is he a better player, wheres the proof ?
    Vietnam and Indonesia are crap teams but the hype machine as the next Cecs is bollocks.Cesc was playing Prem at 17 this kid will be playing u21 ALL season apart from
    Carlng Cup

    1. wtf! r u blind??? Have you seen his passes, positioning, vision,composure, driblling for a kid his age???? he didn’t look out of place at all, he is a very intelligent player, u know u can trust him to make the right decision when he has the ball. he is A BRILLIANT TALENT. forget Cesc, he will be the next ZIDANE. if you really were an arsenal fan, you would support him. THIS IS REALLY STRANGE BUT I SENSE JEALOUSY.

    2. Hahahahhahaha “I’ve seen enough in the under 21 game v Liverpool and other games”. Wenger is watching these lads day in day out in training, I think he is better qualified than you to judge who has the most talent of these players.

    1. If you don’t know what wenger is doing, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t know himself what he’s doing, or that Chuks doesn’t know. You’re telling us that that they don’t understand what they are doing, but its really you who don’t understand what they are doing!

  6. GZ and chuks are very different players technically GZ is absolute quality the two or three end of season games showed he always has time on the ball, a mark of a true player, he is sixteen and obviously lightweight and will need to make lots of progression to develop into the real thing. ARSENE has always used playing players in different positions to enhance their development as all the top coaches do. A couple of games to help chuks defensive side of his game while on tour will not hurt him, it certaintly didn’t with Kolo.

  7. I feel Hayden should be with this team, he really does seem strong as well as composed on the ball, his leadership qualities over the past year have impressed me. Akpom was class when he came on just a shame we didn’t see olsson in his familiar role at central mid as well as aneke

  8. I hate to see Aneke at CB and Olsson at RB. Indiscriminate conversion of players leaves them unhappy. If AW is fast tracking Zelalem, he has to make a decision over Aneke. We Arsenal fans in Nigeria are buzzing over the talent of Aneke and Akpom.

  9. Miquel/Gibbs at LB
    Kos/Per/Sagna at CB
    Ramsey/Jenk RB

    Could even play Arteta their for 20 minutes (CB I mean)

    Give Aneke a go in midfield.

  10. FFS! There’s this thing called Tactical discipline that some of you may or may not have heard of. Its quite obvious that neither Aneke nor Olsson have their long term futures in defense. But its football coaching 101 this, if you want a player to understand the positional discipline better you expose him to different positions on the field. Wilshere in the 2008 and 2009 emirates cups played on the wings, even for the reserves during that 08/09 season when he first broke into the first team he played on the wings. Its really not until he was on loan at Bolton in 2010 that he got his first sustained run in central midfield. If anything by exposing Aneke to the defensive side of the game Wenger could be trying to eye him up for a DM spot, seeing that everyone and their grandmother wants us to buy one. Much ado about fucking nothing this! and BTW, anyone who’s stupid enough to say that a SIXTEEN year old breaking into the first team of the tenth most valuable sports club in the world in the world’s most popular and competitive sport is shit

  11. if wengers want to teach Aneke to play DM then play him in DM NOT as a covering chalf bcos he bought anyone – typical wenger move in pissing a player off bcos hes trying to fit square peg in round holes.

    1. Nonsense. CB is an excellent plsce to learn the defensive discipline required to play deeper. Chuks is so used of attack and I for one have always believed he will drop back. Whether its DM holding mid or CB. Let’s not forget Sol Campbell was a centre forward once then dropped back. Plenty have tried and failed but hell its pre season so why not? He can certainly play from the back and could be the next yaya toure who I remember as a winger when he was at beveren!!

  12. Aneke is working his way back to full fitness, so Arsene played him at Centre half as a light way of getting him back into action as he knew he was not going to be too busy in that role. Gnabry is playing well, OX ready for starting XI berth.

  13. jst a question 2 all of u…..vil u b pleased sitting on d bench rather dan ur fav position r out der on d field playing d game….??i know exactly vot i would lyk…nd feel d same vil b vit all of u out dr…..nd how would playing d game make any1 unhappy….??

    1. What?

      If u want people to answer questions it will be useful to write in english. Even a foreign language is easier to understand than all this text drivel.

      I mean is it really so hard to put an extra letter or two in a word?

  14. At Arsenal, you have to learn to master at least 2 positions. Aneke may not mind playing a different role, as long as he plays. Furthermore, a centerback who can also operate very well as a midfielder – that is priceless.

  15. Hope Aneke gets promoted into the first team this year as I really believe he could develop into the defensive midfield player Arsenal quite clearly need. If he can perform well at center back it will help his positioning as a defensive midfielder later on in his career much like Alex Song. Plus I remember Kieran Gibbs being an average left midfielder when he was young but when put into a left back position where he was forced to play a more simple but tactical defensive minded game he excelled. Furthermore Aneke is tall and has a lot of power behind him so he would definitely be a strong defensive midfielder with the capability to score a few long rangers. Potential surprise player this season maybe?

  16. @enoughwiththeseidiots,

    You’re right about the stuff about Olson and Aneke. And you’re half right about Zalelem. Zalelem will be in the first team very soon. Probably by the end of the year. He’ll be groomed in a similar fashion to Cesc. It’s clear based on the level of vision and passing he’s at for his age that he’s exceptional. His rate of development will actually decrease when he’s training with u-18’s and u-21’s. Physically, he needs another 9-12 months before he can run for 90 minutes with grown men, but he should certainly be training with them now to maximize his exceptional talent.

    I see him promoted to the first team toward the end of this season.

  17. KC – exceptional v Vietnam and Cambodia, sorry when he does it in the Prem consistently then gas him until then get a grip and stop hyping. Where in the first team and ahead of who ? you mean he will warm the bench like did Walcott and Chamberlain is doing know. Whose place in midfield is he going to take ? Are we fans so starved of success we now hype youth team players when we havent mounted a title challenge in 8 years and Wengers laughing his ass off on getting a new 7 mill a year contract. Gullible. No wonder he wont go to PSG

    1. There will be injuries in the team and there will always be players who are willing to push for that spot. I really can’t see him in PL within a year because of his built. And it would be kind a stupid to throw him in there too. He might be great but what if he gets a injury who keeps him out for 5-6 months? Friendly matches are only for fitness.

      Lets see what he can do in the Emirates cup, where really strong teams can destroy you. As long as he keeps away from injuries and playing regularly then he will be great. Don’t forget Olsson, Toral and Jebb too. physically Jebb seems to be further in his development. I don’t see any hopes for Toral as long as he keeps getting injuries.

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