Arsenal have kick started the 2020/21 pre-season with a 4-1 win away to MK Dons.
We started the match sharply, pressing MK Dons high up the pitch and that industry was rewarded when Mohamed Elneny won the ball in a promising area to send a long ranger past keeper Nicholls who was caught off his line.
The lead was soon doubled after some nice wing-play between Cedric Soares and Bukayo Saka, as the latter played in Eddie Nketiah who produced a calm finish.
MK Dons didn’t really threaten much the whole first half, but a freak own goal by Rob Holding gave them a lifeline.
Arsenal were easily the better side first half despite MK Dons edging us in terms of possession, with 51% of the ball. We were looking to pick them off in the transition, a style that has worked well recently, but is obviously one Mikel is trying to change and he needs the right personnel to do that.
William Saliba showed what he is about with a really calm display. Very good on the ball and astute in the individual duels. Of course, this test is much different to what he will face in the league, but a good start nonetheless.
It is worth noting as well that we persisted with a back 3, it will be interesting to see if that changes with new additions.
The second half saw a host of personnel changes with the Hale end ballers having a chance to show their worth.
Miguel Azeez on a couple of occasions showed us all why he is so highly rated in the academy with his composure on the ball. Smith Rowe was lively and looked a threat, even if his final pass wasn’t always coming off.
Mark McGuinness at centre back looked solid and also scored from a superbly taken header to make it 3-1. Shortly after, Reiss Nelson slotted home from the penalty spot to make it 4.
Also, a special mention to Ben Cottrell, who showed some nice work ethic off the ball and was ploughing away. It was nice to see George Lewis get some game time late on, but unfortunately he didn’t see the ball at all.
All in all a good day out for the team. 4-1 win ahead of the community shield this weekend against Liverpool and no injuries. Great to see The Arsenal back in action. Looking forward to seeing some of the others return like Pepe, Willian and Gabriel of course! Interesting few weeks ahead. COYG!