Beware the pre-season friendly – it tells you nothing.

11 July 2003: Peterborough 1 Arsenal 0

Given that you are reading the Arsenal History Society blog I take it you’ll know what happened in 2003/4 – Arsenal were unbeaten in the league all season.

But what about the pre-season friendlies?   They started with a 0-1 defeat to Peterborough followed by a 0-0 with Barnet – neither of which really foretold the future.

Peterborough United scored on 29 minutes, and Arsenal only once or twice looked like equalising.

This was one of those games where Arsenal put out two teams, one in each half.  Peterborough even had Matteo Guardalben, a 29-year-old keeper who was on trial at Arsenal – obviously not one of those who made it.   He played for Arsenal in the first half.

The reason for this was that both David Seaman and Guillaume Warmuz left the club at the end of the previous season, meaning Arsenal had, Stewart Taylor, Graham Stack and Rami Shaaban on the books.

Arsenal had the likes of Martin Keown, Francis Jeffers and Jeremie Aliadiere on the pitch, but still they couldn’t stop Peterborough scoring.

In the second half Jeffers was the only Arsenal player who stayed on.  So we got  a good look at Philippe Senderos, making his Arsenal debut and playing alongside Cygan, and Gael Clichy, who at 17 was on trial from AS Cannes.

First-half team

Arsenal: Matteo Guardalben; Moritz Volz, Martin Keown, Sol Campbell, Ashley Probets; John Spicer, Sebastian Svard, Ray Parlour, Paulinho; Jeremie Aliadiere, Francis Jeffers.

Second-half team

Arsenal: Stuart Taylor (Matteo Guardalben 84) ; Lauren, Philippe Senderos, Pascal Cygan, Gael Clichy, Sebastian Larrson, John Halls, Edu, Stephen Bradley, Dean Shiels, Francis Jeffers (Frankie Simek 65).

It wasn’t memorable at all – indeed I struggle to recall anything of the game, and I didn’t even bother to go to the Barnet match.  It all looked a bit ordinary.

But what did I know?


2 Replies to “Beware the pre-season friendly – it tells you nothing.”

  1. Perhaps this explains Mr Durham’s contempt for Arsenal, his beloved Posh beat the mighty Arsenal…

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