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19 July 2014
• Meadow Park, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire
Referee: G. Horwood
• Attendance: 3000
K. Olsson 68'
B. Afobe 86'
That's all that we have time for from Meadow Park, as Arsenal ran out as comfortable 2-0 winners over Conference South side Boreham Wood. A promising 90 minutes without plenty of first-team players. I've been Simon Harrison and I hope to see you again next time.
Perhaps more importantly, Diaby ended the game without any injury concerns, with Gibbs also completing the second period without incident. Sanogo perhaps disappointed in an Arsenal shirt once again, but overall the afternoon has been a promising run-out from a blend of youth and experience.
An honourable mention for Boreham Wood goalkeeper James Russell, as the shot-stopper denied the likes of Sanogo, Akpom and Afobe throughout, but Arsenal proved to be too strong all over the field. Rosicky and Akpom causing plenty of second-half problems, with Bellerin a keen outlet down the right-hand side.
FULL TIME! The referee calls time on a 2-0 victory for Arsenal over Boreham Wood, with goals from Kris Olsson and Benik Afobe starting the Gunners' pre-season preparation in winning fashion. The first half was forgettable, but the tempo and positivity after the break was encouraging.
Arsenal continue to stroke the ball around, inviting Boreham Wood to chase until the very last minute. Afobe is penalised for snapping at the heels of his marker, allowing for the hosts to push forward for a rare attack courtesy of the resultant free-kick.
Afobe goes down near the byline, claiming contact, but the referee points for a goal-kick. Thomas was the man who got a little too close, with some tired Boreham Wood legs leading to some rather suspect challenges at this late stage of the game.
Penalty Goal Benik Afobe
GOOOAL! Arsenal make it two, with Afobe composedly sliding his penalty beyond Russell! Sanogo has certainly some work to do, as Afobe and Akpom have caused Boreham Wood far more problems than he managed to.
PENALTY FOR ARSENAL! Akpom scampers into the penalty area after a great piece of skill, before delivering an intelligent cross to the back post. Garrard brings down his man in an attempt to clear his lines.
Diaby tries his luck from 30 yards, drilling a low drive towards the bottom left corner, but the ball zips wide! Russell was worried, as shown by his luck stretch dive. Angol is replaces by Raheem Sterling-Parker for Boreham Wood, with the substitute looking to take some inspiration from his namesake, presumably.
RUSSELL DENIES AKPOM! The young striker runs at Mawer, before pushing the ball onto his right foot and letting fly! His attempt looks to arrow inside the near post, but Russell acrobatically denies him! The Boreham Wood 'keeper continues to hold his own.
We're into the final ten minutes, with Arsenal still looking to press for a second goal, to make the scoreline a little more impressive. The majority of fans here are expecting to see entertaining, attacking football from the Gunners, and they're attempting to provide just that.
Rosicky continues to keep things ticking over in midfield, always looking to spread the play and stretch Boreham Wood. Gibbs is fed the ball by Afobe on the edge of the penalty area, but the left-back can only steer a tame effort straight at Russell.
AKPOM AND ROSICKY GO CLOSE! The former cuts inside onto his right foot, before seeing a close-range shot blocked! The rebound falls to Rosicky, who tries to test Russell from a tight angle, but Garrard gets across well to make the second intervention.
The home side break upfield, courtesy of some good running from Angol, before their overlapping right-back delivers a cross into the back post. Nobody is on hand to meet it, with Arsenal collecting possession once again and settling back down. Boreham Wood hurriedly get back into shape.
Boreham Wood often have nobody present up front, with aimless clearances and balls upfield simply recycling possession for Arsenal. Angol is looking fairly tired after chasing lost causes and shadows all game, but the non-league side have acquitted themselves fairly well.
Angol shows a nice bit of skill to scamper away from one man, before being brought down by Olsson. The goalscorer insists that he didn't touch his man, but the referee isn't having any of it.
The hosts will be cautious of the floodgates opening, given that there are still 20 minutes left for Arsenal to run riot. The Gunners are looking bright in midfield and continue to move the ball at pace, which is problematic for a tiring non-league outfit.
Bellerin drives down the right flank yet again, before picking out Afobe with a cross. The striker looks to bundle his way past two defenders, but the Boreham Wood personnel stay on their feet to deny the Arsenal forward! Wenger's men have their tails up.
Assist Tomas Rosicky
Goal K. Olsson
GOOOOOAL! KRIS OLSSON NETS THE OPENER! The Swede is slotted in behind the Boreham Wood back four by Rosicky, before lifting a confident finish over the onrushing goalkeeper! Arsenal lead 1-0!
Another fantastic cross from Bellerin almost puts a chance on a plate for Afobe and Akpom, but the slightest of touches from an opposition defender denies Arsenal once again. As we tick into the final quarter of the game, the hosts aren't here to be beaten easily.
Arsenal have certainly made an effort to up the tempo in the second half, forcing some tiring Boreham Wood legs to do some additional chasing. Bellerin delivers from the right-hand side yet again, but a good defensive header from Morgan takes the the ball off the head of Afobe.
Akpom tries to beat his man with a clever stop-and-turn Dimitar Berbatov-esque spin, but is stopped in his tracks. Bellerin then tries to flight in a cross from the right-hand side, aiming for the near post, but Russell smothers well.
Arsenal take a bit of a breather, dropping off and inviting the opposition to attack. So far, Bellerin and Diaby have really shown that they are prepared to get forward and support the attack, with defensive responsibility falling solely on Flamini's shoulders.
With half an hour remaining in this friendly, Arsenal are certainly looking the more likely side to break the deadlock. Boreham Wood are besieged in their own half, conceding plenty of corners of late. Akpom and Afobe are popping up in some interesting spaces.
AKPOM GOES CLOSE! Rosicky finds the striker, who shifts his first touch infield, before hammering a ferocious effort straight at Russell! The goalkeeper manages to palm it over his crossbar once again for a corner, which is diverted narrowly wide by Miquel.
Bellerin and Diaby combine well, before the ball is worked back inside to the Frenchman. He takes a touch out of his feet, before hammering a left-footed effort towards goal from 20 yards! Russell rises well to tip the ball comfortably over his crossbar for a corner, from which nothing materialises for the Gunners.
Ten minutes into the second half and Arsenal continue to struggle to break down the opposition lines, though Akpom and Afobe are offering more mobility and fluidity in forward areas. Sanogo didn't have the best day at the office, with the two substitutes' movement causing more problems already.
Bellerin and Olsson combine well down the right-hand side, before the midfielder hooks an intelligent cross towards the back post. No risks are taken by the Boreham Wood defence, as the delivery is cleared behind for a corner immediately.
The hosts finally have the opportunity to hold onto the ball for an extended period, but they lack any kind of penetration. They've been resilient and well-drilled, but the Arsenal back four haven't been asked a great deal of questions throughout this contest.
Diaby fires straight at the wall, with the Boreham Wood defenders doing their job well. Flamini clatters Angol, leaving the forward in a heap, but the French midfielder is extremely apologetic.
Fatigue may come into play in this half, as Boreham Wood haven't made anywhere near as many changes to their personnel as Arsenal have. Akpom wins a free-kick from Noto, giving the Gunners a chance to shoot from 30 yards.
Rosicky nearly manages to clip a though ball over the Boreham Wood back four and into the path of Afobe, but the striker is flagged offside. A composed and sharp start from the Gunners, who are buzzing around energetically in midfield. Akpom goes down easily in the opposition penalty area, but the referee isn't interested.
Arsenal second-half starting line-up: Martinez, Bellerin, Gibbs, Miquel, Pleguezuelo, Olsson, Diaby, Flamini, Rosicky, Afobe, Akpom.
We are back underway in the second half at Meadow Park, as Boreham Wood continue to try and suffocate Arsenal in a currently goalless draw. Plenty of changes will occur this side of half-time, which may lead to a rather fractured start to proceedings.
The hosts' only real chance came in the form of a wild long-range effort from Whichelow, as Szczesny has had little to do apart from being a spectator. Ramsey and Zelalem have looked creative in midfield, but the Gunners are lacking a lethal touch in the final third. Be sure to rejoin us for all of the action and personnel rotation in ten minutes time!
HALF TIME! Goalless at half-time, with both teams unable to break the deadlock. Toral went closest for the Gunners, clipping the outside of the post, while Russel has denied Sanogo on two occasions to keep his side in with a chance of a shock result.
Boreham Wood continue to be competitive, as Hayden is forced to clear the ball into touch following a rather risky backpass from Ajayi. The central defensive duo haven't been asked too many questions, all told.
Whicelow is picked out by a corner delivery, but fails to take a good first touch, despite being unmarked. The loose ball is whipped back into the Gunners' penalty area, but Coquelin is at full stretch to head away.
Five minutes remain for Arsenal to break the deadlock before the interval, but Russell is looking up to the challenge in between the sticks for Boreham Wood. Sanogo just can't seem to get the better of the shot-stopper, who has denied him well on two important occasions.
Yet another save from Russell! Coquelin tries to loop a pass over the opposition back four, with Morgan's attempted headed clearance bouncing into the path of Sanogo. The Frenchman shoots from a tight angle, forcing the goalkeeper into another fairly smart stop.
Another long period of possession for Arsenal, with the Boreham Wood personnel chasing shadows and merely trying to stay in shape. Sanogo looks to turn on the edge of the area and try his luck, but he is surrounded by white shirts and Morgan dispossesses him.
Willock is nearly picked out, courtesy of an ambitious crossfield ball, but the teenager can't get anywhere near the overcooked pass. Arsenal continue to be the dominant force, putting together several impressive passages of play, but the final ball and finish isn't quite there yet.
Shakes continues to use his physical presence to cause a few issues for Arsenal, but Monreal is standing up to the test thus far. Eventually, the right midfielder manages to deliver, but Jenkinson heads clear.
TORAL CLIPS THE POST! Sanogo is found in an advanced area on the left-hand side, before the Frenchman steps inside and lays a pass unselfishly into the path of Toral. The Spaniard attempts to steer an effort inside the far post, but sees the ball shave the upright and head behind for a goal-kick from 15 yards.
A quarter of an hour remains until half-time, leaving this eleven with not long to make a lasting impression in their coach's mind. Rumour has it that the Gunners will field a different side in either half. Monreal is forced to make an important header at the back post to deny Shakes.
Zelalem and Ramsey exchange possession in the centre of midfield, before the latter cuts in from the left flank and tries his luck with his right foot. The ball arrows wide of the far post and thuds into the advertising hoardings.
Ramsey breaks down the right flank, but his eventual cross is cleared away from the danger zone well. Boreham Wood continue to defend staunchly, looking surprisingly resilient against an Arsenal side who boast good creative options in deep areas.
Zelalem continues to impress in central midfield, constantly looking for a clever pass to feed Sanogo. The Frenchman is picked out on the right-hand side, taking the ball down excellently, but crashes his attempted cross-cum-shot at Reynolds.
Sanogo continues to act as Arsenal's focal point, but Thomas manages to hook a loose ball away from the striker as he looks for his elusive first goal. Boreham Wood break upfield smartly, but play too heavy of a final ball.
Ramsey lines up the free-kick as a result of Morgan's challenge on Coquelin, but the Wales international crashes his effort into the awaiting wall. Boreham Wood continue to frustrate this Arsenal eleven, all of whom may only get 45 minutes on the field this afternoon.
Excellent intervention from Nunn! The defender covers across well from the right hand side, scampering over to hoof Zelalem's intelligent through ball out of play, despite Sanogo bearing down on goal. There's a brief stoppage, as Coquelin and Morgan clash knees painfully.
Whichelow continues to be the main threat for Boreham Wood, floating in between the lines, keen to get on the ball as much as posssible. Hill ventures out of his half on a rare excursion, but his crossfield ball is dealt with by Jenkinson.
Well, we're 20 minutes into this contest and Arsenal certainly look the most likely to win this one. Zelalem and Ramsey have seen plenty of the ball, with Willock also looking sharp. Sanogo hasn't been too effectual, but hasn't received too much service to his feet.
Jenkinson lines up a shot from 25 yards, but Garrard charges down the effort. Boreham Wood continue to sit deep when they're out of possession, looking to frustrate the Gunners with their two banks of four. Szczesny gets a couple of touches of the ball, signalling a couple of sarcastic cheers.
Whicelow does well to rob Zelalem of the ball deep in the Boreham Wood half, but the hosts are really struggling to hold onto the ball for more than a few passes. Arsenal are pressing as a collective, with the second ball therefore often falling to a Gunners player.
The set piece is floated in to the back post, but Ramsey sees a half-hearted effort blocked for another corner. Sanogo wins the second delivery, but the ball loops safely into the arms of Russell. Arsenal continue to be dominant, searching for their breakthrough goal.
Jenkinson continues to push up to provide width on the right hand side, inviting the likes of Toral and Zelalem to drift around more freely inside. Ramsey plays a lovely through ball to Sanogo with the outside of his boot, but the Frenchman's attempted cross from the byline is diverted behind for a corner.
Shakes sees a shot blocked, before the rebound falls into the path of ex-Accrington midfielder Whichelow! He strikes it first-time, but balloons the ball high and wide of the target, giving Szczesny his first possible scare of the afternoon.
Coquelin attempts to clip a lofted through ball into Sanogo, but the striker is beaten to the header. A frustrating start for the more experienced forward in Arsenal's ranks today, but it looks as though there could be a couple of goals in store for him.
GREAT SAVE FROM RUSSELL! Reynolds gives possession away to Toral, who slots a through ball into the path of Sanogo. The French forward races into the penalty area, but is met by the onrushing goalkeeper, who beats away a poor finish!
Angol looks to drive towards the edge of the Arsenal penalty area, but a poor second touch allows for the Boreham Wood striker to be robbed of the ball. Wenger will be pleased with his side's start, they've looked confident and sharp in possession.
Ramsey clips a pass into the path of Sanogo, who manages to recover from a sloppy first touch and pivot sharply. He releases a shot on the turn, but Russell is happy to watch the ball bobble harmlessly wide.
Toral, Ramsey and Zelalem are seeing plenty of the ball in the opening minutes, looking very tidy and composed in possession. Jenkinson is pushing up the right-hand side whenever possible, as this game continues to have the look of an attack versus defence drill.
Jenkinson delivers from the right-hand side, but Russell is quick off his line to claim the cross. Arsenal are well on top in the opening stages, as expected, with the non-league side rarely touching the ball.
Boreham Wood are happy to sit back in shape, affording their adversaries plenty of space. Zelalem feeds Monreal with an incisive forward pass, before the left-back skips into the penalty area. The former Malaga man dives over an extended leg, but the referee isn't interested.
The Gunners are keen to take advantage of the good playing surface, knocking the ball around smartly. It appears that Arsenal are fielding a 4-4-2 formation, but presumably there can be some fluidity in forward areas.
We are underway in the first half! Boreham Wood will try to not be too starstruck, facing a youthful and vibrant Arsenal side, but Wenger has previously said that he expects this contest to be competitive. Plenty of chances for players to prove themselves, with individuals looking to nail down a starting berth or a seat on the bench for the coming season.
Only five minutes remain before kick-off, so be sure to stick around for all of the action, as Arsenal look to make their fans optimistic for the coming season. Two big signings have already started to breed positivity within the Gunners' ranks, but seeing their young stars in action is bound to have a similarly profound effect.
Boreham Wood starting line-up: Russel, Garrard, Nunn, Reynolds, Hill, Shakes, Montgomery, Morgan, Whichelow, Angol, Thomas.
Arsenal substitutes: Martinez, Bellerin, Gibbs, Miquel, Rosicky, Pleguezuelo, Afobe, Akpom, Olsson, Flamini, Diaby.
Arsenal starting line-up: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Ajayi, Hayden, Monreal, Ramsey, Coquelin, Zelalem, Willock, Toral, Sanogo.
Plenty of youth players are being given opportunities by Wenger, with an inexperienced central defensive duo sitting at the heart of the Gunners' eleven. Semi Ajayi and Isaac Hayden, both 19-years-old respectively, are the duo in question and have plied their trade impressively for the Arsenal u21s. Chris Willock, born in 1998, gets a start in attack, with the highly rated teenager certainly one to watch this afternoon. Spanish midfielder Jon Toral also earns a starting berth, having joined from Barcelona three years ago.
TEAM NEWS: New signings Alexis Sanchez and Mathieu Debuchy aren't available following the World Cup, but plenty of experienced options are involved for the Premier League outfit. Aaron Ramsey starts in central midfield, with Yaya Sanogo leading the line. Wojciech Szczesny is deployed in between the sticks, while Carl Jenkinson, Nacho Monreal and Gedion Zelalem are the other prominent starting figures.
I'm Simon Harrison and I will be keeping you up to date with all of the action from Meadow Park, as Arsenal look to start pre-season in winning fashion. Tickets have been sold quickly, in what promises to be a competitive fixture that will be memorable for the non-league hosts. Not only this, but Gunners' coach Arsene Wenger has been tasked with the honour of opening Boreham Wood's newest stand.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Arsenal's first pre-season friendly against Conference South side Boreham Wood, as Arsene Wenger looks to get his preparation right ahead of the 2014/2015 campaign. Some players remain on extended breaks following participation in the World Cup, but the Gunners will certainly look to field as many possible first-team faces as possible.
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