Arsenal were the eventual victors against J-league side, Urawa Red Diamonds, although it was anything but easy in the end. Arsenal started the game relatively well with Wenger picking a strong attack including the likes of Walcott, Gnabry, Chamberlain, Wilshere and Giroud. The defence also wasn’t half bad either with Miquel being the only non-first-teamer who started.
The game started off relatively slowly as both teams learnt the pace and structure of the opposition. Arsenal had the lion’s share of possession in the opening minutes and this trend carried on for the majority of the first half.
The first half wasn’t all Arsenal though as Urawa Reds really pushed us on the counter attack proving to be the most difficult opposition during this Asia tour. They passed the ball fast and had a very good shape on the move. I was impressed by them throughout the first half.
The first half finished with it being 0 – 0 with a few decent chances missed by the likes of Walcott and Chamberlain. The second half started quite emphatically as Arsenal managed to get a goal up thanks to a brilliant bit of vision from Ramsey, some brilliant improvisation by Walcott and a brilliantly cool finish by Podolski. 0 – 1.
However, after the goal, Urawa Red Diamonds piled on the pressure and were impressively restricting space in our own half. Eventually they managed to find the equaliser thanks some poor defending on our behalf which gave Abe a relatively easy volley which he dispatched with consummate ease. 1 – 1.
But it wasn’t over and thanks to some diabolical defending by the Urawa Reds, Akpom was given the opportunity to score with a relatively open goal and he was never going to miss it with his form on the tour. 1 – 2.
The game finished with us the winners and the stand out performers were Wilshere in the first half, Ramsey in the second and Koscielny for his defensive display throughout the game.