Report: SK Sturm Graz 0-3 Arsenal
Arsenal beat SK Sturm Graz 3-0 today, thanks to a first-half brace from Samir Nasri and Henri Lansbury’s strike.
Apart from naming a starting line-up almost identical to Saturday’s, Arsene Wenger rotated his summer signings today.
Marouane Chamakh was handed a start at the Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium while Laurent Koscielny took a break after Saturday’s show.
And a cagey start against the Austrian champions was ended when Arsenal grabbed the lead after 16 minutes. Nasri, like he did on Saturday, capitalized off inattentive defending by the hosts to fire the ball home with ease.
The Gunners were beginning to find their stride and another effort by Nasri nearly landed the second goal before a try by Chamakh was cleared off the line after beating the goalkeeper.
The home side’s defense had been below-par thus far, but their attack nearly atoned for that after half-hour mark. It was Arsenal’s backline which was caught faulting this time as Vermaelen mistakenly gave away possession before Djourou was beaten by the pace of Graz’s counter-attack. But a solid one-on-one save by Fabinaski meant Imre Sazbics failed to punish Arsenal.
Clearly, the Hungarian striker lacked class when it counted the most and moments later, Samir Nasri would show just that. Arsenal won a free-kick a few yards off the penalty-box and the Frenchman curled the ball home for his and Arsenal’s second.
Wholesale changes for the second-half saw the likes of Szczesny, Koscielny and Gibbs all introduced, however, it was Graz who made any changes in approach.
The Austrian champions carved out a couple of fine chances as Burgstaller headed straight at Arsenal’s ‘keeper at the far post before Mario Haas could only hit a taming shot at goal after being found perfectly by a low cross.
Graz would be punished for their profligacy at the other end, yet again.
In the 55th minute, Lansbury was teed up in the box by Emmanuel-Thomas and the second-half substitute kept his cool to slot home Arsenal’s third.
The rest of the match was of much relaxation for Arsenal as Lansbury, Rosicky, Koscienly, Emmanuel-Thomas, Vermaelen and later Traore all found chances to increase the visitors tally.
It was another comfortable exercise.