by Helen Trantum
Football is back!
Arsenal beat a select Singapore XI 4-0 on Wednesday afternoon in the Barclays Asia Trophy, with Chuba Akpom notching a hattrick and Jack Wilshere slotting home from the penalty spot to reach Saturday’s final.
A selection of first team stars made the line up, with a starting defence of Debuchy, Mertesacker, Gabriel and Monreal sitting behind the likes of Coquelin, Flamini, Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain. Some fresher faces were scattered around, with Iwobi and Akpom the notable inclusions.
The second half changes saw a number of even younger Gunners enter the fray, with the likes of Crowley, Toral and Zelalem getting some game time.
The game itself, essentially against the Singapore national side, was little to write home about as we have come to expect at this stage of the season. You can, after all, only beat what is in front of you, and Arsenal duly did so with some well taken goals and improved fitness the main takeaways.
However, the best news of the day came a couple of hours before when Everton played out a dour 0-0 draw with our favourite opposition – Stoke City – before defeating the Potters on penalties.
The Toffees’ shootout victory means that Arsenal’s players are now safe from the thuggish challenges of the likes of Ryan Shawcross for at least another 59 days, which can only be beneficial for our attempts to get the squad through to the start of the season fit and healthy.
Shawcross himself was presumably rested this afternoon to be ready for what would have been his biggest game of the season on Saturday – a chance to maim as many Arsenal players as possible ahead of the start of the Premier League. As it is, he won’t have the opportunity.
What a shame.
It does deprive Aaron Ramsey of another opportunity to stick a couple of metaphorical fingers up at the perpetrator of his horrific injury and the fan base that apparently think it’s ok to abuse someone for having their leg shattered.
I’m sure he and his FA Cup Winners medals are ok with that though.