Perez and Hayden feature as Arsenal beat Manchester City 3-1

Arsenal concluded their pre-season preparations with a largely positive performance and a 3-1 victory over Premier League rivals Manchester City in Finland this afternoon, with manager Arsene Wenger also providing two young players with their first outings for the senior side.

Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and substitute Olivier Giroud scored the goals for Arsenal, and, although City capitalised on some disappointing defending to pull a goal back late on through Alvaro Negredo, Arsenal will be largely satisfied with their work out, even if the need for new signings remains as pressing as ever.

Source: Ben Hoskins/Getty Images Europe

Source: Ben Hoskins/Getty Images Europe

With the start of the Premier League season just seven days away, Wenger’s line-up had a senior feel to it, with only three non-first-team players included in the match-day squad. Gedion Zelalem was named on the bench again, and it is a testament to his ability that he has remained with the first-team throughout the entirety of pre-season, whilst Colombian trialist Sebastian Perez and young professional Isaac Hayden were also amongst the substitutes.

All three players received run-outs in the second-half, and, although Hayden only featured for the final two minutes, the versatile youngster will be pleased to know that he is highly regarded by the manager. Just a week ago Hayden was featuring as an unorthodox playmaker as the U21s lost 7-0 to Luton.

Perez, meanwhile, came on for the final 20 minutes after replacing Mikel Arteta. The 20 year old, who currently plays for Atletico Nacional in his homeland, slotted into the defensive-midfield position and was comfortable in possession, although he did receive a yellow card for a late challenge. It remains to be seen whether he will sign on a permanent basis, but his inclusion in the squad was at least an indication that he has impressed in training this week.

Zelalem did not receive much of the ball, but will still have learnt much from featuring, albeit for just 20 minutes, against one of the Premier League’s strongest sides. Damian Martinez, Serge Gnabry and Chuba Akpom, however, were all left at home, with Akpom featuring and scoring as Arsenal U18s drew 2-2 with Tottenham Hotspur and won 2-0 against Chelsea in a pre-season tournament.

Back in Finland, despite the fact that City had the majority of possession in the first half it was Arsenal who took the lead with 10 minutes on the clock when Ramsey, continuing his impressive pre-season form, found Walcott, who finished calmly past Joe Hart to open the scoring.

City continued to see more of the ball thereafter, with both James Milner and Negredo coming close, but Arsenal rattled the post through a rare effort from Bacary Sagna and eventually extended their lead after the break when Walcott returned the favour for Ramsey by finding the Welshman, who made no mistake in making it 2-0.

The contest was settled not long afterwards when Giroud looped the ball into the back of the net, and Walcott was heavily involved again, with the winger playing a superb ball into the path of the former Montpellier man.

Negredo pounced to reduce the deficit late on after slotting the ball past substitute goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, but Arsenal had already done more than enough to secure victory in their final pre-season fixture.




  1. Surely Perez’s inclusion must mean he’s being signed. Was quite impressed by his calmness on the ball, seems to be more of a tactical DM rather than a tackling one, which is precisely what I like in a DM. Funny how even though we’ve had a pretty solid preseason and Wenger himself even said this current squad is good enough to win the title, everyone is still convinced that we need to add (the proverbial cliche) “three or four more players”. IMO, one quality signing would be good, but i really don’t see why people think this is a weak team. Of the back of this performance, where we second best for large portions and still won, i quite agree with Wenger, this team will win something this season and it might just be the premier league.

    1. consider kos nd mert gets injured……what then..??
      right now we have an excellent 1st team….but i feel we need quality backup…..
      we know how unlucky we have been with injuries…..!!!
      cant make that excuse again…..

      1. Consider Giroud and or Poldi gets injured is more worrying. Only real recognized strikers at the club, Although Wenger doesnt seem to think Podolski is.

  2. yeah ……. Ramsey was very impressive today…
    Didn’t get to see the last 25 minutes.
    Hey JB , How did perez play?

  3. We’ve got 3 young DM’s coming up in the Club. Coquelin, Frimpong and Yennaris.. What does it mean if Arsenal do eventually sign Perez?

    1. Coquelin and frimpongs time at arsenal is at its tail end tbh and although yennaris is the one I would like to see make it the most fact is he’s very much an underdog in this regard and if he does make it it’ll be on the basis of a season long loan. Perez is a sensible buy and even if not him a young squad dm with potential will be essential IMO (along with an established dm who can operate at cb). Not convinced with the ligue 2 winger on trial though, elements of that baffle me. I imagine grimaldi’s recommendation may have been very persuasive. Not worried about establish purchases tbh. I’m certain they will be made and ill judge them when they are though I won’t pretend to have seen foreign leagues to make a sound judgement. If not the although I believe in wenger I won’t defend him if sacked though If he isn’t sacked its obviously the entire arsenal hierarchy possibly including wenger who is to blame. Having said that I’ve read conflicting report can anyone clarify how the first team purchases are made. Some places state wenger identifies the targets AND the budget allocated to each. Others state he simply identifies the targets?

    2. Perez is only 20 years old and he didn’t look totally assured playing for Arsenal, he had good periods of holding the ball up n passing it, but if we do sign him, he’ll surely go into the U21s/reserve team and maybe go out on loan. I can’t see him playing for the first team

      1. I suppose you would do the same as a 20yo playing for the first time in a foreign country. The lad looked good and very calm. The most important thing about him is that he interacts very well with the team both on and off the field. I wonder ho many English lads of the same age would do that in Colombia without complaining about something.

  4. They tried, but need serious addition to challenge for trophies. The dept of the squad is too narrow. Wenger pls sign players

  5. Watched the entire match. Our defence was impressive.. So was Arteta and Ramsey who I believe should be the MOM.. Only disappointment was Podoski.. The midfield dictated Mancity especially in the second half.. Perez was excellent for a beginer. His position and communication was visible..Even Isaasc and Zealem was good.. We played a many long balls with precision.. Hats off to Sagna for one shoot on the goal. Never seen him shooting towards goal like this one.. Giround was execellent

    1. I totally agree. I have this sneaky feeling that Giroud will outplay RVP this season. All indications are pointing to a player who is very much ready to prove himself; 8 goals in pre-season all coming from the bench is indicative of a player who has decided to play.
      My impression does not stop there; Sagna has stepped up a gear or two this pre-season. He is very solid.

  6. thing is wenger doesn’t like a DM, I just don’t see why people cannot see that. even when we had song, wenger encouraged to become a deep lying playmaker and the result was his best ever season. wenger wants his 2 man holding midfield to be creative, full of running and strong in the tackle but he doesn’t want them to be defensive solely. if frimpong can get his head round that there is still a future for him, the fact he was involved in the members day proves that. arteta, ramsey, frimpong, diaby plus perez or one other should be plenty for two positions, frimpong doesn’t look too far off fitness. as for coquelin, I think he is done, yennaris needs a decent loan. but I can see hayden, Olsson and toral coming into the reckoning soon and if zelalem bulks up that could be where he ends up.

    1. its not that Wenger doesn’t like DMs, its that the role of a DM has changed and he’s changing with it. The idea of a tough tackling DM has been dying since the turn of the century as more and more managers prefer pivots or deep-lying playmakers who are comfortable on the ball. But for me Sergio Busquets defines what a modern DM should look like. He’s not quite a deep-lying playmaker a la Pirlo, and he’s got a much wider passing range to be simply a pivot who moves the ball from defence to attack and from wing to wing. He defends both by his simple passing and tactical reading of the game and has the vision to play balls through when needed.

      1. Exactly what I said. Arteta is every bit as good as busquets and in ramsey he has a perfect foil. Gustavo will be another great addition if tonights rumours are true.

      2. just wow mate. Sorry to burst your bubble but arteta is not even nearly as good as busquets.

        You also might notice busquets can do the job on his own, he doesn’t need a helper next to him. A double pivot can be good when we had guys like petit and Vieira, arteta and ramsey is a dreadfully conservative midfield though. You might notice how we get dominated possession wise against good teams.

        If we sign Gustavo I hope we push the other two midfielders up more like a 4-3-3

      3. In reply to ATID. I know we all like to love Arteta because of his great pass completion rate, and his ‘ken’ style hair. But…he’s slow, he prevents us from counter attacking quickly, and instead pivots on the spot 360degrees before passing. We need someone to break up play and knock it straight to the wing or look for a through ball, even run a bit at goal (faster than barbie’s boyfriend). He’s a nice guy Arteta and there’s nothing about him to not like. But reality is, we’re in need of a specialist at the top of his game, not a ‘versatile’ midfielder.

    1. He’s got a complex, doesn’t know whether to run up the wing or burst into the area? He looks troubled out on the wing! I think we definitely need to get a replacement for Gervinho and I don’t mean a bench warmer!

  7. It was a great game from arsenal, but they nerd more experience strikers to get more goals . It is just a friendly game , if it is premier ship city would approach the game differently .

  8. Hoping for a nice confidence boost to come from this result. Didnt see the game but would have liked to get a close look at Perez, if hes good enough so be it as it will save allot of money that we might need putting towards a striker plus an off your seats winger now that fools are referencing Bale bids & Cavani/Falcao prices. If the shoes were on the other foot im sure thered be a glutton of cardiac arrests begining inside anfield and the lane.

    As things look i think we are strong, but just need that/those type whom are big time game changers. Also i dont see why we arent bidding 40m for Lewendowski, hes a free agent next year and Dortmund surely dont want Bayern taking every drop of their talented set. top group. Different note, the whole of Germany must celebrate a Bayern CL winners, how else can you explain the extraordinary cherry picking scenario.

    1. Last I heard lewandowski has refused the overtures of every other club and intends to go to bayern as a free agent at the end of the year.

  9. Glad to see miquel on loan coz he needs some sort of help because he has not got any better in all the seasons he has been there.

      1. not all his fault he is play mainly at left back, he should have gone on loan last year. the reserve league is too poor to make any progress

  10. Great preparation for the start of the season best player on the pitch was ramsey and it seems that towards the end of last season his form improved and he has continued that form through pre season i feel we only need a couple of signings, many reports are suggesting we are about to sign gustavo hopefully this is true. Happy to see Hayden get time on the pitch really deserves it, podolski does not look fit to me giroud should start against villa

  11. i hope we do sign gustavo, he has a very high pass percent rate which means he will slot right into the Arsenal side and are passing game. I hope we play him as a central defender

    1. He is already used to play in a very high tempo vs very good teams. I think he will slot in quite easily and will bring the calmness and yet very effective game of ours. If we can buy a player for 40M then Gustavo should be a no problem.

  12. Now doesn’t this make you laugh or cry the qoute is ” Arsenal went 3-0 up but due to soame BAD DEFENDING city pulled a late goal back “. And theres me thinking 3-0 up whos doing the bad defending. typical hacks must have a dig at Arsenal somehow ?????.

  13. Anybody saw how we got all players behind the ball towards teh end!! adn the negredo goal; was no biggie..actually i think he dint put a challenge in cos it was a friendly..any sane person could make that argument

  14. Well pleased seeing Hayden involved and getting a run-out.

    Jeorge, sorry if you have answered this previously, but what is the status of Seb Perez?
    I’m sure I read that he already has a Spanish passport, is that true?

    1. it’s been reported that he has a Spanish passport, but hasn’t been confirmed anywhere. He seems quite a promising player, but we should only really pursue the possibility of signing him if he is eligible to play straight away.

  15. A few observations:

    The Arsenal starters are good enough to play with any club when they play sound defense as they did against Man City. The problem is a serious lack of depth at several positions which does not allow changes in the lineup when certain match-ups are not favorable.

    Arteta is and has been the engine that makes the team go. He’s not a hard tackler, but his stats show that he makes a lot of tackles and breaks up the play well, as evidenced by his play against City. However, Arteta can’t play every match or he will break down by March and Arsenal struggles without him in the lineup, so help is needed to replace his calmness on the ball and precise passing. Perez showed a lot of that kind of ability for a 20 year old, but needs to get a bit stronger and more in tune with his Arsenal teammates (if they sign him), and gain more experience. Still, he could fill in for Arteta in spots against weaker competition to give the Spaniard a break occasionally. If Arsenal adds an experienced defensive minded midfielder like Gustavo, they would be set at the position, with Perez able to step up in a year or two as Arteta ages and slows down further.

    Zelalem is talented, but not ready for the EPL yet. He seriously needs to get stronger physically. Man City consistently pushed him off the ball and other EPL clubs will do the same until he gets stronger. Still, the experience should be good for his development.

    Oxlaide-Chamberlain is going through some of the same growing pains that Walcott went through a couple of seasons ago and needs to get to work on his game. The first thing he needs to learn is that he can’t bull-rush through 3 quality defenders. He must look to pass in those situations and make better passes. Man City repeatedly stripped him of the ball when he failed to look for his teammates and tried to muscle his way past three defenders. He also could easily have set up Podolski for an unchallenged shot on goal, but chose to take on two defenders instead of making the obvious pass and ended up losing the ball yet again.

    The Ox has also developed a disturbing habit of moving in-field consistently instead of maintaining his position on the wing. The result was that Gibbs was left with no one to work with down the flank and the center of the field became very crowded, making it easier for Man City to defend the scoring areas of the pitch. This also meant that for much of the match Arsenal only attempted to attack down the right flank with Sagna and Walcott, which was not only very predictable, but also prevented Walcott (a much better shooter/scorer than Oxlaide-Chamberlain) from moving inside for much of the match. Also, while The Ox does a much better job of getting back on defense than Walcott did until two years ago, he can be inconsistent in doing so; rushing back to cut short a Man City rush only a couple of minutes after jogging back slowly as Gibbs was forced to deal with two Man City players breaking down the flank. On one occasion, The Ox had strayed to the other side of midfield in the offensive end and left Gibbs and Arteta stranded as Man City attacked. Like Walcott, Oxlaide-Chamberlain needs to start cleaning up these faults in his game or it will end up costing the club, especially against higher level opponents.

    Finally, Carl Jenkinson appears to have taken a major step back in his development. He is a liability going forward. He can get past defenders down the touch line, but lacks the quickness or moves to get past defenders when cut off. That would be okay if he could then make a decent aerial cross to the center of the area–especially when Giroud is on the pitch. But, he can’t. Not to save his life! Which means that, when cut off, he cuts in-field and looks to pass laterally or back to a midfielder. Useless. That still might be okay if Arsenal wasn’t dependent on attacking down the right flank with Walcott (see above) or if Jenkinson were to play conservatively and simply attend to his defensive responsibilities as he did last season when he filled in for Sagna. But, Jenkinson has been venturing forward far more often (to a certain extent out of necessity) and hasn’t been as sound defensively as he was last season. He was caught upfield several times by Man City, including on Negredo’s goal (he barely got to the midfield stripe as the ball entered the net). I know that he’s still young, but as some of the coaches that I played for used to say, he’d better get his head out of a certain part of the nether regions of his body soon or, with Bellerin coming along, he won’t be with Arsenal for very long.

    The win over Man City was a good one. Especially after Navas reportedly urged his teammates to use this match to essentially show Arsenal “who’s boss” by running up the score on the Gunners (so much for that idea, huh, Jesus?). It showed what Arsenal’s starters are capable of and that there are some players with potential on the way. But, there are still holes in the Arsenal roster that must be filled and players who must continue to work hard at getting better if Arsenal truly wants to challenge for silverware this season. From the Board on down to the ball-boys, everyone still has a lot of work that needs to get done to make that happen. But, it can be done. And this match showed it can.

  16. Sign Perez now that we have exposed him on the big stage. We do not want Wenger, some years down the line, to say I nearly signed him (as he did with Ronaldo and Drugba). This lad is calm and tactical. SIGN HIM!!!!!

  17. If he has sufficiently impressed in training and there are no work permit issues then I am sure he will sign. But none of us here know enough to determine whether he has impressed enough. For every player we almost signed that went on to become a great footballer, there will be innumerable more that we rightly decided to opt out on.

    Remember Marco Ne? He played with us in pre-season a few seasons ago, didn’t impress enough and has gone on to have a largely unremarkable career. We have spent a lot of this summer clearing out players that we probably should have passed on. Had we panic bought Ne, he would have probably ended up alongside the likes of Chamakh on the periphery and on the scrap heap.

    I know it has been a frustrating summer, but desperately signing players just for the sake of signing players is counter-productive. We have put ourselves in the financial position to make high-quality additions, and now the additions that we make should be exclusively high-quality.

  18. Iwelcome the inclusion of the players in the first team, though l was unable to watch the ball, my friend who has the opportunuity to watch it proved to be satisfied with what the saw. My only area of concern is the DM and the back four which need an improvement before the season starts. lf it is true that Gutsavo’s club Bayern Muniuch has agreed £14 million for the player, Wenger should not delay at all, we need him to compliment the work rate of Mikel Arteta in the defense midfield.

  19. Perez: Great application and also positioning. He was always in exactly the place he needed to be – and sharply. Did not give the opponent a moment of peace or time to think. Wenger had better sign Perez, I dont care who else he signs, that guy reminds me of the way Kolo Toure came in the club and injected energy and tempo every time he was on the field and also like the later edition of Flamini (i.e. after Flamini progressed beyind the headless chicken thing). A player like this can bring back the glory days, beacause then Wenger can play Arteta less – the guy is 30 now and cant play heavy minutes whole season: he will break down. Plus Perez can give an option to rest Ramsey too.

    Zelaem: okay was not his finest moments, but note the time when the rest of the team was losing their composure after struggling to retain possession, the 16 year old Zelalem, gets the ball just in front of our box facing his own goal, and cool as you like, picks out a simple pass to move the ball sideways out of the pack, instantly cooling down the tempo. This was the sort of thing you’d have seen from say Vieira in his pomp. But from a 16 yr old kid!! Unreal – and it tells you he he is not just about the killer pass.

    That said the next level of for Gideon will be to start imposing himself more off the ball, ie getting in defensive position to harass – he moves around the field very easily already, just needs to be more precise and aggressive defensively, so he is an asset rather than a liability to his teammates. Plus being more aggressive in getting into dangerous offensive positions and demanding the ball there.

    But overall fantastic for his age versus a top, top team. Let’s put it this way I dont think any top 5 team in England could field a 16 yr old central midfielder capable of even looking respectable in this game. Its a hard position. But you can see the kid knows what he is doing. Will take time, this season my guess is Wenger beds him in in the cups and gives him 5-10 minutes here and there towards the end of games, but make no mistake he is on the track to be an Arsenal legend.

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