This is part of our series reviewing all the pre-seasons through Arsene Wenger’s time at Arsenal. An index to the articles is at the end.
In the run up to the 2010 season Marouane Chamakh joined on a free from Bordeaux, Aaron Ramsey signed a new contract, Lourent Koscielny came in from Lorient, Sébastien Squillaci came from Seville, and Fabregas committed his long term future to Arsenal.
Departures were numerous including Gallas, Eduardo,Silvestre, Senderos, and Campbell.
The pre-season games took on the now familiar shape of Barnet, Austria, and the Emirates Cup.
- 17 July 2010: Barnet 0 Arsenal 4 (Arshavin, Simpson 2, Nasri)
- 21 July 2010: SK Sturm Graz 0 Arsenal 3 (Nasri, Lansbury, Wilshere)
- 27 July 2010: SC Neusiedl 0 Arsenal 4 (Walcott, Emmanuel Thomas, Chamakh, Vela)
- 31 July 2010: Arsenal 1 Milan 1 (Chamakh)
- 1 August 2010: Arsenal 3 Celtic 2 (Vela, Sagna, Nasri)
And that would have left not too much to write about except there was one more game
- 7 August 2010: Legia Warsaw 5 Arsenal 6
This was an invitation match for Arsenal to celebrate the opening of the new stadium – although actually only three sides of the ground were built. It didn’t affect the noise and atmosphere.
What did affect things was the weather. It had rained very heavily earlier in the day, and then the weather turned very hot, which made the pitch very slippery indeed – and that to some degree explained what followed.
Now teams that have new stadia tend to do badly when they play their first match, but Legia Warsaw seemed not to know that and took just over half an hour to go into a 3-0 lead, including an own goal from Laurent Koscielny.
These days if we heard that Kos had let one go into his own net we’d assume it was simply a ball that hit him and diverted past the keeper, but remember Kos was new this summer. He had come from Lorient, who although supplying Arsenal with a range of players over the years, was not thought of as a top team (although they had won the Cup and League Cup Double in 2002, and in fact came 7th in the league in the season just finished). There were mumblings from the fans who liked the mumble at any opportunity.
Maraoune Chamakh started the come back before half time, but it was not surprising to find that Arsenal had four changes in the team for the second half. And it worked, for in the first quarter hour of the second half, Emmanuel Eboue of all people, who had come on as a sub scored twice! 3-3.
On 63 minutes, perhaps showing that Arsenal didn’t need forwards after all Gibbs scored a blinder, but then with 15 minutes to go Jedrzejczyk scored. 4-4.
On 81 minutes Jay Emmanuel Thomas scored. On 84 minutes Nasri tried his luck from a free kick, and it went in. On 92 minutes Iwanski scored the last goal. 5-6.
What was noticeable was that Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie Andrey Arshavin, Abou Diaby and Alex Song were not involved. With some of those on board who knows what the score might have been.
- Fabianski (45)
- Clichy Vermaelen Koscielny Sagna (79)
- Wilshere (72) Nasri Frimpong (45) Rosicky (45)
- Walcott (45) Chamakh (72)
Szczesny (45), Gibbs (45), Vela (45), Eboue (45), Nordtveit (79), Lansbury (72), Emmanuel Thomas (72), Nordtveit (79).
What happened next.
Arsenal opened still without some star names with a 1-1 away draw at Liverpool, and followed this up with three straight wins scoring 12 goals. One of the wins – 6-0 against Blackpool, resulted in the Blackpool manager spending his entire press conference praising Arsenal, rather than talking about his team.
A draw and two defeats dented Arsenal’s self-belief, but the club did reach top of the league after 16 games, only to slip back. However a top 3 place seemed secure, with Arsenal never once out of the top three until a terrible run in the last seven matches saw Arsenal slip from second to fourth – a spot they only occupied for the final two games of the season. Indeed Arsenal only won two of their last 11.
The pre-season series thus far
- 1996: The pre-season games as Rioch was sacked
- 1997: Before the second double – (updated)
- 1998: Back to sausages after the caviar.
- 1999: Games against Monaco and Saint-Étienne
- 2000: The big transfers but a poor pre-season
- 2001: Campbell arrives, and the prelims to the third double
- 2002: Gilberto’s first game in the tri-team tournament
- 2003: Before being unbeaten (revised & expanded)
- 2004: The Preseason in the midst of the 49
- 2005: The end of Highbury and the Arsenal-Chelsea bust up
- 2006: Pre-season and the opening of the Emirates
- 2007: A hectic round of transfers and a full schedule
- 2008: Beating Real Madrid
- 2009: The media and Uefa against Eduardo