SO KON PO, HONG KONG - JULY 29: Arsenal FC manager Arsene Wenger looks on during the pre-season Asian Tour friendly match between Kitchee FC and Arsenal at Hong Kong Stadium on July 29, 2012 in Hong Kong. (Photo by Victor Fraile/Getty Images)
0 - 1 Vermaelen 7'
0 - 2 Podolski pk 15'
0 - 3 Podolski 44'
0 - 4 Gervinho 61'
Arsenal closed out their preseason today with a 4-0 win against 2. Bundesliga side 1. FC Köln. The Gunners showed a variety of attacks both direct and short and patient, particularly in the first half when Santi Cazorla was running things from the hole. Follow us after the jump for a recap of all the action!
Hometown favorite Lukas Podolski started up front along with Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott. Behind them was Santi Cazorla, with a double pivot of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (playing deeper than he often has) and Francis Coquelin. Thomas Vermaelen captained the side alongside Per Mertesacker in the middle, with Kieran Gibbs and Nico Yennaris at the full back positions.
Arsenal would take the first shot in anger six minutes in as Coquelin stole the ball and fed Giroud through on the left, the Frenchmen forcing a corner from a sharp angle. From the corner, Arsenal would open their account simply. Per Mertesacker headed the ball on from the near post and Thomas Vermaelen steered his header home past Timo Horn.
1-0 to the Arsenal, 7 minutes in.
Arsenal began to assert control on the match. 14 minutes in, Walcott crossed to Giroud, who knocked it down for Cazorla, but Horn stuck a foot out and saved well. From the corner, Oxlade-Chamberlain was taken down in the corner of the area, and the referee awarded a penalty. Who else should step up to take the penalty but Podolski, and he made it look simple.
2-0 to the Arsenal.
19 minutes in, Coquelin gave the ball away, and Koln nearly capitalized as Kasper "Last name I cannot even find on their official club website" Pritzibilko weaved through Arsenal's defense and shot just wide. Two minutes later, Giroud was denied by a good save to Horn's right, and then again two minutes later, as Arsenal sliced Koln open, Horn stopped Giroud again.
The Gunners continued to do very well over the next ten minutes, with only occasional Koln forays into the Arsenal half. Arsenal won a corner on 33 minutes, Cazorla took, Giroud headed, and Horn made another good save to deny him. A minute later, Pritzibilko rifled a good shot straight at Vito Mannone, who held.
Daniel Royer shot on target from 37 minutes, which Mannone should've held simply, but he got weird and tipped it over instead. Koln were scrapping it out, and Jonas Hector ended up shooting wide of the far post after Pritzibilko stole it back from Coquelin. 44 minutes in, Podolski flipped a ball over to Gibbs up the left, kept running, and Gibbs found him on the return for Podolski, who absolutely made no mistake from 12 yards. 3-0 to Arsenal as halftime arrived.
It had been a good first half. Santi Cazorla in particular looked excellent, and Giroud and Podolski both did well too.
The second half began will some changes; Andrei Arshavin, Andre Santos, and Gervinho at least all came in. Alex Song did too. van Persie didn't come in right away. Serge Gnabry played down the left. Abou Diaby was in behind Podolski, too. In fact, the whole team had changed except for Podolski, which meant that Robin van Persie was the only one out still. 53 minutes in, Podolski had a chance again, but waited a second too long to shoot, and the Köln right back arrived to slide in. Gervinho had a chance a minute later, but instead of giving it to Podolski, who was standing in front of an open goal, he shot, and had it blocked.
58 minutes in, Matthias Lehmann hit a STONKER, catching Szczesny off his line, but it crashed back off the crossbar from 35 yards. It was a hell of an effort. Podolski released Gervinho up the left three minutes later, and the Ivorian dribbled all the way around the right back, faked a cutback, and then slotted his shot home at the near post. 4-0 to the Arsenal.
69 minutes in, it was finally time for Lukas Podolski to leave, and the entire stadium gave him a standing ovation. On came, oh, just Robin van Persie, no big deal, guys. Although he did take the captain's armband.
71 minutes in, Marouane Chamakh came on for Gnabry, and immediately passed the ball straight out of bounds. That is all.
The second half really wound down as players began to tire, but Abou Diaby in particular looked like he was playing really well. Arshavin made a brilliant swerving run 89 minutes in before squaring for Gervinho, who hesitated too long before shooting, his effort blocked. The final whistle went on a slow second half, and Arsenal ran out comfortable 4-0 winners.
Bring on Sunderland in six days.
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