Debut goals by Kieran Gibbs, Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain, and Yossi Benayoun guided the Gunners to a 3-1 win over Shrewsbury Town, a side who showed a fair bit of skill and fighting spirit.
Arsene Wenger went to his crop of promising youngsters and new signings to trot out Chamberlain, Carl Jenkinson, Ignasi Miquel, Yossi Benayoun, Park Chu Young, and Francis Coquelin. He also dusted off Lukasz Fabianski.
Pat Rice and Boro Primorac did very little to justify Wenger’s faith in them as once again Arsenal looked jittery and disorganized on the occasions when Shrewsbury went forward.
A series of missed tackles by Frimpong, Djourou, and Young allowed Nicky Wroe to run down the left and then return the ball to Mark Wright who broke free from a woefully out of position MIquel and a backpedaling Jenkinson. On both occasions Wright could have been headed off but both defenders showed little anticipation. Wright dragged his shot
just wide to hit the post. The ball ricocheted to James Collins and with Fabianski out of position one would have expected Gibbs and Miquel to take up positions on the goal line. But we were treated to a display of clueless defending.
Tragedy befell in a familiar way as Marvin Morgan floated the ball into the box and Collins untouched rose above to head the ball home. Djourou did not even bother to look back probably expecting Fabianski to come forward and deal with the ball. Miquel was out of position. Once again Arsenal’s absolutely shoddy and inept defending of a set piece cost them.
Arsenal got back on track through Kieran Gibbs after a misdirected cross found him and his header trickled under Joe Smith. Then sticking to script, Chamakh gave the ball away, and with Arsenal running helter skelter once again, more damage was forthcoming. Fortunately, Collins was just off the mark with his deflection from Ainsworth’s blistering shot across goal.
Chamberlain working his way into the match showed he has some awesome power when a swerving long range strike beat the Shrewsbury goalie to put Arsenal ahead. Benayoun, the pick of the evening, showed some clever footwork and deservedly got his first Arsenal goal after a lot of spadework done by substitute Oguzhan Ozyakup. New signing Young also showed some nifty speed and a nose for goal.
If I were Wenger I would be making sure Rice and Primorac sweat out every minute of their coaching careers till they make sure these 101′s are drummed into every Arsenal player. Call out Djourou, Fabianski, and Chamakh by name. These players are part of the senior team and should not be making such basic mistakes. Chamakh seems to be getting good looks at goal but he still lacks conviction with his shots and headers.