Reality struck Arsenal in their final game of this preseason as Valencia dismantled them 2-0 at the Mestalla.
Two goals from Michel and Villa in the last 15 minutes meant Wenger’s men ended their preparations for 2009/10 with some question marks.
Diaby and Walcott were the squad’s main returning men. The former had shaken off injury to start while the latter ended his holidays for a place on the bench.
Despite both teams possessing a similar approach to football, their attacking intents were hindered by sloppy passes and clumsy tackles on a wet pitch.
Notable chances of the first half were gifted to left-footers from either side. First, a ball broke to David Silva on the edge of the area with Almunia wobbling off his territory. The forward attempted to swerve the ball past Arsenal’s stopper but he could only find the advertisement boards.
Arsenal then made their most fluid move when Van Persie was sent free into the box, but the Dutchman rushed and stroke straight at the ‘keeper from a difficult angle.
A fit-again Fabianski came in for Almunia after the restart while several changes saw the likes of Walcott, Sagna and Wilshere all introduced. The Gunners soon found their tempo and a host of chances kept coming. Walcott stroke just wide off the post after a slick through-pass from Fabregas had sent him in.
The English youngster and Sagna then took command on the right and sent in teasing crosses while Valencia looked shaky in dealing with some Arsenal corner kicks.
Joaquin then stung Fabianski’s fingers with a shot and David Villa – who had engineered that move – missed some sitters. On two occasions, the highly-rated striker found himself with only the goalkeeper to beat, but he either curled the ball well over or into Fabiasnki’s hands.
The night would get worse for Villa. Valencia were awarded a penalty after Silvestre was alleged to have fouled Michel. Spain’s hit-man stepped up and his kick was saved with aplomb by Fabianski. The corner that resulted from that save nearly saw Arsenal concede as Fabregas cleared off the goal line.
Despite their heroics, Arsenal would be dispatched when Michel managed to beat Fabianski from a very crowded area after 75 minutes. Chasing shadows before that, it was hard for Wenger’s men to bounce back and they surrendered the fight when Villa added a second in the dying minutes with a low, clinical strike.
Thus, few glitches remain ahead of next week’s massive kick-off at Mersey side.
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