Sunday, 3 August 2014

PRE-SEASON ACTION: LIVE COMMENTARY -


Hello again everyone and welcome to my latest blog post, where I have a LIVE Commentary of the pre-season action involving Premier League sides today.

Arsenal are up against Ligue 1 runners-up Monaco in the Emirates Cup, while Everton play FC Porto and Chelsea have a tough test on their hands against German side Werder Bremen.




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Before I present the team line-ups for today's matches, here are the matches that were played yesterday:  

Malaga 3 Newcastle United 1 - The Spanish outfit were comfortable throughout the game against Alan Pardew's men, and scored 3 good goals. Improvement needed for Newcastle ahead of the new season it seems.

Tottenham 6 Celtic 1 - A rout for Spurs, as they thrashed SPL champions Celtic with a 6-1 scoreline. Goals from Kane, Soldado, Lamela, Holtby, Adebayor (pen) and a super free-kick strike by Christian Eriksen gave Tottenham the win they deserved in the end. 

Reading 1 Swansea City 3 - A brace from winger Wayne Routledge and new signing Bafetimbi Gomis also got on the scoresheet as well for The Swans, as they beat Championship side Reading away from home to record another win under their belt. Their opening game is up against Manchester United, no pressure there. 

Arsenal 5 Benfica 1 - The Gunners got the Emirates Cup tournament off to a flyer, thrashing Benfica 5-1 with a relatively new look to the team, with the likes of Calum Chambers getting their debut appearance for the club. 

Yaya Sanogo silenced the doubters with 4 goals in an excellent performance from the team, as well as Costa Rica striker Joel Campbell getting a goal to his name. Alexis Sanchez made a cameo appearance in-front of his new supporters aswell. 

Manchester United 3 Real Madrid 1 - Louis van Gaal continued with his encouraging managerial prowess ahead of the new campaign, with another win this time against the Champions League winners despite coming up against a second string Real Madrid side. Two from Ashley Young, and a late strike from Javier Hernandez. 

LIVE COMMENTARY -

16:15 - Here are the team line-ups for today's match that I have commentating on, between Arsenal and Monaco:

Arsenal: Szczesny, Debuchy, Koscielny, Chambers, Monreal, Wilshere, Arteta, Alexis, Ramsey, Cazorla and Giroud.

Subs: Martinez, Miquel, Hayden, Bellerin, Coquelin, Flamini, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Zelalem and Akpom.

Monaco: Subasic, Carvalho, Dirar, Moutinho, Ocampos, Bakayoko, Kondogbia, Raggi, Echiejile, Carrasco and Falcao.

Subs: Caillard, Fabinho, Kurzawa, Abdennour, Germain, Isimat-Mirin, Toulalan, Diallo, Bahamboula, Berbatov and Martial. 

16:20 - The teams are getting ready to walk out of the tunnel for the start of the game, after the Valencia vs Benfica match was concluded 25 minutes ago. 3-1 win for Valencia mind. 

16:21 - GOAL ALERT: 
Werder Bremen 1 Chelsea 0 - 

Winger Eljero Elia breaks the deadlock for the Germans from the penalty spot, 1-0 ahead against Chelsea after 20 minutes of play. 

16:22 - Huge roar from the full capacity crowd, as the game is set to get underway any moment.

16:23 - Radamel Falcao and Alexis Sanchez are just two of the big-name players who are featuring today, Falcao will be eager to impress after his major injury suffered made sure he was out for 7 months with a cruciate ligament injury. 

16:26 - The referee kicks off the start of the match, and it begins.

2 - French striker Olivier Giroud goes down in pain after getting a kick in the back, albeit accidentally near the half-way line. The referee stops play, and he gets treatment from the physio.

4 - Monaco trying to force their way into the Arsenal half, and they are doing it powerfully aswell. Not afraid of The Gunners.

8 - Good link-up play between Wilshere and Cazorla, the English midfielder looks up with the ball at his feet and passes the ball across to the flank, Cazorla latches onto the ball and tries to cross but his effort is blocked. 

10 - Great long through ball pass by Alexis Sanchez, he finds Giroud on the opposite side of the pitch but the French striker struggles to keep hold of the ball and Monaco steal possession.

14: News from the touchline reporter - Gnabry is linked with a loan move to another Premier League club so not involved, Vermaelen and Ospina both injured, dating back to the World Cup. 

15: As it stands, if Arsenal win or draw this game they have won the Emirates Cup for the first time since 2010.

17: CLOSE! Dirar does well to cross a delivery into the box, whips into the area and flies over the top corner and out for a goal-kick.

18: Half-chance for Monaco, Falcao jumps high to head the ball towards goal, but Szczesny is not troubled as the effort spins wide.

19: Fresh reports today suggest that Real Madrid are watching Falcao, to see whether or not he is match-fit. They reportedly are interested in signing him, but it would take a big transfer fee to persuade Monaco to part with their key player after Rodriguez's departure to the UEFA Champions League winners last month.

20: Great pass across the pitch by Ramsey, he finds Giroud in space to shoot, but his touch is too heavy and he falls in a heap on the floor out of play. Goal-kick.

22: Good defending by full-back Dirar, he snuffs out the danger as Cazorla plays a 1-2 with Ramsey near the far side. 

16:50 - It's half time in two other friendlies being played with Premier League teams today, Everton leading 1-0 against Porto while Chelsea are trailing 2-0 to Werder Bremen.

Meanwhile, Newcastle vs Schalke has just begun. 0-0 there.

29: Arsenal's first shot of the game comes from a corner, as young defender Calum Chambers connects with the ball powerfully, but his effort is volleyed over the bar and out for a goal-kick.

30: Giroud limps clutching his ankle, after he had a knock earlier on in the match. He looks in pain, but he'll continue for now at least. 

33: Great football again from Arsenal, the pass and move almost comes off, Giroud's back flick to Wilshere was parried by Subasic but the linesman had his flag up for offside. 

35: Yellow card given to Jack Wilshere after a late sliding tackle on Dirar, free-kick in a dangerous position.

36: GOAL! Monaco ahead, from the set-piece! Radamel Falcao is unmarked in the area, and he heads the ball past Szczesny in off the bar to break the deadlock.

Clinical: Falcao celebrates his headed effort to give Monaco the lead
37: 1-0 to Monaco, and it was a poor goal to concede from an Arsenal perspective. Set-pieces need to be dealt with properly, and you can't give Falcao any space or he'll punish you. 

38: Monaco have looked very organised today so far, and look comfortable when they have the ball. Not pushovers at all. 

40: Good last-ditch defending by Raggi, to deal with a delivery into the box by Debuchy. Corner to come.

41: Corner taken by Cazorla, dealt with by the Monaco defence as they clear the danger. 

GOAL ALERT - Schalke 0 Newcastle 1
Newcastle's new signing Emmanuel Riviere has broken the deadlock for his new team, just 18 minutes into their friendly with German side Schalke. A power header from a well-drilled cross. 

42: Arsenal passing the ball around well, but have struggled to get the final ball as of yet. Not really troubling Subasic either at the moment, which they need to do if they are to score. 

45: The fourth official has signalled for just the 1 minute of stoppage time to be added on at the end of the first-half. 

45+1: The referee blows the whistle to end the first-half, with Monaco leading 1-0 against Arsenal thanks to a clinical headed finish by striker Radamel Falcao who was unmarked and made the Arsenal defenders pay. 

17:15 - The Gunners will be disappointed that they are trailing 1-0 at half-time, especially because of the way they conceded the goal. Falcao was hyped up before the game, and he has lived up to just that, with a clinical header which should have been dealt with but wasn't.

17:16 - There is still time for Arsenal, it's a good test against Monaco whose season starts in a week today.

17:19 - Everton 1-0 up against Porto, while Chelsea are trailing 2-0 to Werder Bremen.

17:20 - And... as soon as I say that, they concede. Porto equalise thanks to a neat finish from Colombian striker Jackson Martinez.

17:27 - The second-half gets underway, and Monaco kick off.

17:28 - Two changes at half-time for Arsenal:
Ignasi Miquel ON, Calum Chambers OFF 
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ON, Olivier Giroud OFF

46: Chambers has played 135 minutes of football in the space of 24 hours, so it makes sense that he is being replaced for a rest. Miquel comes on, as does Oxlade-Chamberlain for Giroud who did not impress in his return from a World Cup break.

48: Tactical change for Arsenal, Sanchez is now playing through the middle and Oxlade-Chamberlain has been shifted to the right hand side. 

50: CHANCE! Lovely backheel flick by Sanchez, who finds Wilshere inside the box with his cheeky pass, he smashes the ball towards goal but Subasic comes off his line and parries the ball with one hand acrobatically to deny the equaliser. 

52: Monaco showing their physicality once again, as they concede a free-kick near the centre circle after Ramsey gets shoulder barged to ground. 

54: Explosive counter attack from Arsenal, as Oxlade-Chamberlain beats his marker and passes the ball across into the box for team-mate Alexis - he attempts to shoot but is blocked off. 

55: Much improved spell by Arsenal in the final third, starting to pressurise the Monaco defence. 

56: Sanchez's pace baffles the Monaco defence and he wins a free-kick in a dangerous position - but the resulting effort hits the wall and goes out. 

57: Monaco are making a double substitution, as Falcao and Moutinho are being replaced by Martial and Germain.

58: Good 60 minutes or so under Falcao's belt, and although the Arsenal supporters will not be happy that he has scored against them, it is good to see that he is playing well after his serious injury in January.

59: CHANCE! Sanchez goes close with a firing shot inside the area, his shot goes wide after the Arsenal pressurise the Monaco defenders from close range.

60: Oxlade-Chamberlain wins a corner after bursting past his marker on the flank and crossing a delivery into the box, which is cleared for a set-piece by defender Raggi.

63: Arsenal have improved significantly in the second period so far, they have started pressing high up the pitch and it has rewarded them with some half-chances. 

65: Monaco still ahead, 25 minutes to go plus stoppage time to play in this last game of the Emirates Cup.

66: Newcastle lead Schalke at half-time in that friendly, while Everton and Chelsea are nearing the end of their matches.

67: Miquel gets a yellow card for his troubles after a late lunge on Germain when trying to win the ball.

68: Monaco with another change, as Ocampos is being replaced by Fabinho. 

70: FULL-TIME SCORES: 
Everton 1 FC Porto 1 
Werder Bremen 3 Chelsea 0

72: Triple substitution for Arsenal, with Wilshere, Cazorla and Sanchez coming off for Zelalem. Akpom and Flamini. 

73: Time for a goal perhaps? Still 1-0 as it stands, Valencia will win the Emirates Cup if it stays like this. 

75: 15 minutes left to play now, some of Arsenal's young guns on the pitch now.

76: Sanchez looks like a threat on the wing when he is getting service, but he can play in the middle and has adapted to play as a second striker also. Great attacking prospect who adds another dimension to the team.

80: PENALTY FOR ARSENAL! Great link-up play from The Gunners, and Akpom is clearly brought down inside the penalty area. Referee Martin Atkinson points to the penalty spot initially, but changes his mind and gives a free-kick on the very, very edge of the area.

81: Controversial decision by the referee, that was clearly a penalty decision and it wasn't given! The resulting free-kick is blocked but that was a pivotal moment in the match...

85: 5 minutes to play, and Monaco make two more changes. Kondogbia and Carvalho OFF, Kurzawa and Abdennour ON.

89: 1 minute plus stoppage time remaining... Arsenal making their last change of the game. Bellerin replaces Debuchy, given a standing ovation for his solid performance today.

90: Flamini is given a yellow card for a rather hefty tackle near the corner flag on Dirar as the fourth official signals for 2 minutes of stoppage time to be added on.

90+2: The referee blows the whistle for full-time, and Arsenal will feel robbed after a clear penalty decision went against them today, which could have seen them win the Emirates Cup for the first time since 2010. 

18:20 - Thank you for following my LIVE Commentary of the pre-season action today, I will be back with more footballing content over the coming days as the new season is almost upon us. Have a great day!