Friendly Match Preview: Arsenal v. Enfield Town

Enfield Town will make the short trip to the Emirates on Sunday in a hastily-arranged friendly giving fans a chance to see the side on home soil before the new season begins.

New signing Jack Robinson is fit to face the seventh-tier side and, aside from goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, manager Gray Surman can pick from a fully-fit squad. However, AFC Reserves are set to play at Barnet on Saturday, and Surman has told Second XI manager Simon Ireland that Carlos Álvarez and Hensley Siberie are free for the match.

Enfield Town, of the Isthmian Premier Division, are bringing their first team while Arsenal will give run-outs to as many players as possible. The match is free, with the club today announcing that season ticket sales have now reached 33,240 of the forecast of 43,000.

Premier League referee Mike Jones is set to officiate on Sunday, his first trip to Arsenal since March when he oversaw the 2-1 win over WBA.  Weather is looking drizzly, 17°C.

St. Johnstone 0-3 AFC (Pre-Season Friendly)

New Arsenal manager Gray Surman took charge for their first pre-season friendly today at Scottish second-tier side St. Johnstone, and oversaw a comfortable win for his new side, giving run outs to 18 players including World Cup winners Rubén Pardo and Santi Cazorla, as well as new signings Julian Koch and Marko Obradovic.

“Welcome to McDiarmid Park for Arsenal’s first pre-season friendly, and their first match under the management of Gray Surman. There’s no Wojciech Szczesny or Jos Verniers in the Arsenal squad as both recover from injuries picked-up late last season. The ten-man bench for AFC includes new signings Marko Obradovic and Julian Koch, who will surely play at least one half of today’s match here in Perth. Gökhan Inler has been handed the captain’s armband by Surman. Seven of the starting XI today started Arsenal’s final match of last season, a 2-2 draw at Stoke.”

[00] We’re under way!

[01] Early foul by Inler gives the hosts a freekick, but Corluka wins from the delivery forwards and clears.

[02] Caddis collects from Jacobs down St Johnstone’s left, and has a dig but it’s charged down by Corluka and played away.

[02] St. Johnstone 0-1 Arsenal: From one end to the other in a matter of seconds. Corluka collected the loose ball after he blocked Caddis’s shot, and played it ahead of him to Álvaro. He brought the ball forwards 50 yards before finding Pardo who slips it out wide to Corluka on the right. The cross comes in towards the penalty spot where Álvaro meets it on the half-volley and puts Arsenal ahead with 01:57 on the clock.

[06] Corner for Arsenal after attacking movement. Evans heads behind a cross from Corluka at the far post under pressure from Wilshere. St Johnstone captain Cregg’s touch on the delivery sends it into the path of Inler who snatches at a volley and sends it over the bar from fifteen yards.

[08] Wilshere’s deft touch flicks the ball on to Álvaro, but his shot from the edge of the box is blocked by Jacobs.

[11] Good work from Wilshere down Arsenal’s left as he gets away from Evans, but the defender forces him deep to the goal line and when the cross comes in, Worner gathers comfortably.

[12] Caprari receives the ball with his back to goal 25 yards out. He turns, gets the ball out of his feet and has a pop from the edge of the box but it’s straight at Worner who pushes it away.

[13] Álvaro delays pulling the trigger when in acres of space in the box, and eventually the ball is played wide to Danny Wilson whose first-time cross hangs in the wind and comes back off the bar with Worner beaten before Hodges puts it behind for a corner.

[14] St. Johnstone 0-2 Arsenal: Wilshere’s in-swinging corner is met at the far post by Koscielny who heads back across goal and beats Worner for Arsenal’s second.

[16] Álvaro is played in by Wilshere but the Spaniard takes an extra touch allowing Tancock to get something on the shot and the hosts scramble it away.

[19] St Johnstone have had a good spell since the second goal but without an end product. Shroot is giving Wilshere and Wilson a good challenge down the hosts’ right flank.

[20] First touch of significance for Arsenal ‘keeper Tréguer who collects a Hodges free-kick hit from deep into the box.

[21] Wilson hauls down Shroot in front of the dugouts. Earns himself a word from the referee, would likely be seeing yellow there if it wasn’t a friendly.

[25] Shaqiri hits one from distance but it’s always bending away from goal and Worner is untroubled.

[28] Handball shout as Hodges blocks Corluka’s cross into the box with some part of his body, but the officials are unmoved and Arsenal will have to make do with a corner. Shaqiri starting to grow more into the match after a quiet opening half-hour.

[28] Nastasic meets Wilshere’s corner at the near post but Hodges is on the post to clear off the line.

[32] Shaqiri hits a daisy-cutter wide from 25 yards.

[34] Third corner for Arsenal as Hodges nicks the ball away from Shaqiri. Nastasic is on the end of it at the near post but heads over the top.

[37] Wilshere launches a long free-kick into the box which Caprari meets fifteen yards out but his header comes back off the angle of post and bar.

[39] Shaqiri gets behind one from 30 yards out and Worner is at full-stretch to tip it over the bar. That was rocketing into the top corner!

[40] Pardo’s corner from the left drops around the penalty spot, isn’t cleared and eventually Inler rifles a shot through the crowd and it’s inches wide from a third goal.

[40] St Johnstone win their first corner of the game as Nastasic heads behind a long ball into the Arsenal box.

[41] Jacobs whips the corner in to the near post, Wilshere and Shroot go down in a tussle and the whistle goes in Arsenal’s favour as Caddis pokes the ball towards goal before seeing it clip the post and go wide.

[42] Shaqiri fires wide from distance. I have a feeling I should copy that phrase to my clipboard this season.

[43] Corluka plays a lovely cross-field pass to Wilshere who takes a touch to bring it down, but his ball into the box is cut out just as Caprari looked clean through. Shaqiri goes down under a challnge from Jacobs but nothing from the officials.

[45] St. Johnstone 0-3 Arsenal: Shaqiri makes it three just as eyes started to turn to the fourth official. Corluka played it into his feet, he turned Hodges, sold him a dummy and then drills a low shot into Worner’s bottom right from 18 yards.

[HT] St. Johnstone 0-3 Arsenal

Two changes for St. Johnstone at the break, while Arsenal are set to resume with the same starting XI. Moon and Kane on for Jacobs and Gilchrist.

A half-time talk from Surman suggesting he was pleased with the way things were going seemed to have had a good effect throughout the squad. Changes likely within the first five minutes of the half.

[46] SUBSTITUTIONS: As Wilshere wins a free kick on the left, Arsenal get the go-ahead to make six changes. On come new signings Julian Koch and Marko Obradovic, alongside M’Vila, Merkel, Coutinho and Cazorla who takes the captain’s armband. Off go Corluka, Inler, Shaqiri, Álvaro, Wilshere and Caprari.

[47] Cazorla’s free-kick is clerared, but Koscielny works the ball back to him. He crosses for Obradovic whose flick towards goal is blocked. The ball runs free and Cazorla fires it back at goal but it cannons off Coutinho and away.

[50] Obradovic gets on the end of Koch’s ball into the box but immediately has three defenders around him. The ball eventually finds its way to M’Vila but his shot is wayward from the edge of the area.

[53] Coutinho plays a lovely ball into the path of Pardo who hits it first-time from just inside the box but Evans takes the brunt of it before Hodges hacks it away and Arsenal win a corner.

[54] Coutinho’s corner is cut out but Arsenal retain possession on their right flank. Koch and Pardo combine to send a cross deep towards the far post where Coutinho has stolen in, but the Brazilian’s header from six yards out is straight at Worner. Golden chance to make it four.

[55] Coutinho is pulling all the strings at the moment. His cross is low and with pace across the face of goal, but Obradovic and Merkel get in each others’ way.

[56] SUBSTITUTIONS: Four changes for St Johnstone: Turton, Sutton, Locke and Jellema on for Evans, Hodges, Shroot and Newton.

[59] Merkel heads on Koch’s cross to Obradovic who lays it off back to Merkel but the German doesn’t get on the end of it.

[60] Cazorla wins Arsenal a corner off Sutton. The hosts clear but Wilson crosses back into the box and Obradovic has his header tipped over by Worner. Koscielny’s header is saved before Coutinho fires wide from distance.

[64] Worner has to be smart and react quickest to beat Merkel to the end of a Wilson cross.

[65] High and wide from M’Vila from COutinho’s knockdown.

[68] Cazorla plays a lovely pass out wide to Wilson who pulls the ball back to M’Vila who tries to curl it in the top corner from 25 yards but it whistles past the post.

[71] SUBSTITUTION: Wilson and M’Vila repeat the move but again the Frenchman fires wide. Surman looks unimpressed. Kenny Gordon comes on for Rubén Pardo as Arsenal move to two up-top.

[75] Tancock slices a clearance behind for Arsenal’s ninth corner. Worner safely holds Nastasic’s header.

[80] Inside the final ten here in Perth, and I don’t remember the last time the ball was in the Arsenal half. The match is petering out somewhat though. Surman looks happy with the eleven on the pitch and the performance as Coutinho wins Arsenal another corner. .. which is cleared. 10,266 here this afternoon announces the PA system.

[83] Julian Koch cuts inside from his marauding run up the right and fizzes a shot inches over the bar. What a goal that would have been for a striker, let alone a full-back!

[85] Obradovic beats two defenders in a run towards the edge of the box but his shot isn’t one that causes Worner any problems.

[87] Nice passage of play provides the hosts with their first peek at goal since the break, but M’Vila charges down Moon’s blast at goal.

[88] Coutinho has a shot deflected wide for a corner. Worner saves from Nastasic’s header once more.

[90] One minute goes up on the board and Surman looks happy with the performance. His squad look raring to go for the season ahead. Thumbs up and a well done to his players today from the manager.

[FT] St. Johnstone 0-3 Arsenal (Friendly, PKM)

One-way traffic today, but the key thing was that everyone came through the match unscathed in Surman’s first look at his squad in action. M’Vila was particularly wasteful after his introduction, while the three strikers played didn’t particularly exert themselves.

Arsenal’s defence were untroubled, but looked solid as a unit though a lack of cover may be an issue. Definitely an area that the new manager will look at before the season kicks-off in four weeks. Wilshere looked lively today, and Surman will surely be hoping that the player will commit his future to the club.

    • 04.08: Friendly Plymouth Argyle v. AFC (Home Park, Plymouth)
    • 08.08: Friendly Fortuna Düsseldorf v. AFC (Esprit Arena, Düsseldorf)
    • 11.08: Friendly Charlton Athletic v. AFC (The Valley, London)

Friendly Match Preview: St. Johnstone v. AFC

Arsenal fans eagerly await their first viewing of new manager Gray Surman in the dugout during tomorrow’s friendly at St. Johnstone. With the exception of Wojciech Szczesny, a full squad is available including new signings Julian Koch and Marko Obradovic as well as World Cup winners Santi Cazorla and Rubén Pardo.

Szczesny has returned to training after the broken ankle he sustained during Arsenal’s final match of last season, but Surman is unlikely to rush him back into action. Much to the new manager’s annoyance, the club are unable to call upon backup ‘keeper Josh Vickers.

Vickers started a season-long loan at Fleetwood Town which was signed-off while David Moyes was still at Arsenal, and a fee involved in the deal means he cannot be recalled. 18-year old Johann Tréguer may have to deputise between the posts.

It’s anticipated that Surman will play a separate XI in each half, with a youngster or two travelling with the squad up to Scotland as he’ll take a look at as many players as possible in his first opportunity. Weather in Perth for the match is predicted to be gusty, 17°C.

St. Johnstone v. Arsenal
McDiarmid Park, Perth
Sunday 22 July 2018

St. Johnstone are about to start their second campaign back in the second-tier, after finishing bottom of the Scottish Premiership in 2017 before a disappointing 8th place finish in the Championship last season. They’ve bounced between the top two flights in recent years, having experienced promotion or relegation five times in the last 20 years.

None of the current first-team squad has won a senior international cap, though last season’s Supporters’ Player of the Year – ex-Swansea centre-back Scott Tancock – made 22 appearances for Wales U21s. Defender Ben Hodges and striker Martyn Newton® have joined The Saints on loan for the season from Aston Villa and Newcastle respectively.

McDiarmid Park has been the club’s home since 1989 and was the first purpose-built all-seater stadium constructed in the United Kingdom. Located between the Rivers Tay and Almond in the city of Perth, the ground holds just shy of 11,000. Tomorrow will be the first-ever meeting between the two sides, and will be overseen by referee David O’Leary.

Four Friendlies for AFC: Starting in Scotland

Four friendlies have been confirmed for Arsenal ahead of their Premier League opener at Manchester United. Arsenal will begin pre-season at St. Johnstone on Sunday 22 July.

A trip to League Two side Plymouth Argyle follows on Saturday 04 August, before flying to Fortuna Düsseldorf – a club new manager Gray Surman always called his “bogey team” during his time at Dortmund – for a midweek fixture on Wednesday 08 August.

Arsenal’s final friendly will be at The Valley as they make the short trip across London to play Championship side Charlton Athletic on Saturday 11 August.

The Premier League season begins on Saturday 18 August with Arsenal travelling to Old Trafford, before hosting Liverpool on Saturday 25 August. Arsenal will play Chelsea in Saint-Etienne’s Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on Friday 31 August in the UEFA Super Cup.

Initial BVB Summer Friendlies Announced


Borussia Dortmund have confirmed that their pre-season schedule shall begin with a trip to third-tier SV Wuppertaler on Wednesday 8th July, a club who finished 17th in 3.Liga this season. Dortmund opened their domestic schedule at the same club a year earlier, winning 2-1.

Preparations for the 2015-16 season will continue three days later with a trip to DSC Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday 11th July, whom BVB beat 3-0 back in January thanks to goals from André Schürrle, Neven Subotic, and Stevan Jovetic in the opening half-hour.

Chicago Fire 0-3 BVB (Soccerball Matchup)


The Borussia Dortmund fired three scoregoals at the home of the MLS Champions Chicago Fire this afternoon in a comfortable victory in today’s Champions Exhibition Matchup sponsored by Big Pete’s Weinerdogs.


We’re ready for a giant helping of soccerball as reigning European and World champions the Borussia Dortmunds have brought their franchise stars to Illinois for an exhitibion matchup against current MLS champions Chicago Fire.

The visitors have made eight changes from their last outing, a 4-2 victory at Anderlecht in the Europa League on Thursday. In come Julian Koch and Cimo Röcker at full-back, Felipe Santana is in at centre-back, midfielders Viktor Fischer, Jos Verniers and Samy Bourard all start, while Robert Lewandowski and Julian Schieber lead the attack.

[00] Kevin Stott is today’s referee and he gives the commencement whistle!

[01] Dortmund win a corner restart when Espinoza head touches the ball behind his own goalkeeper line. Röcker catches Elbaum in possession and crosses into the six-yard zone. Verniers delivers the set piece towards Subotic but his shot is wide.

[03] MacDonald E-I-E-I-Os a barnstormer of a shot inches over the top from approximately 26.74 metres from the goal target.

[03] No Pause for thought as the Chicago man is naughty in the challenge and upends Fischer. Reus flashes the free-kick past the post from 25 yards.

[09] Röcker fires the ball in towards the far upright, but Garner scrambles it away ahead of Schieber.

[10] Elbaum concedes a needless corner with a poor backpass to his ‘keeper. Lockhart heads away.

[13] A marauding Koch is halted illegally by Espinoza right in front of the touch judge. Verniers works the free-kick into the box and Schieber is denied six yards out by a smart save from Carlton.

[17] CHICAGO 0-1 DORTMUND: Viktor Fischer receives a ball from Schieber, beats two men outside the box and slams the ball past a diving Carlton from 15 yards to give the German side the lead.


[25] Dortmund looking comfortable here, but the Fire are seeing a lot of the ball. They turn the play around quickly, getting the ball forwards when won back, trying to catch the visitors on the counter.

[33] Carlton gets his body behind a low drive from Verniers from just outside the box.

[36] CHICAGO 0-2 DORTMUND: The European side double the lead when Julian Schieber glances a header home from a Reus free-kick. Toomer at fault for giving away the setpiece with a clumsy challenge on Verniers.


[40] Great save from Carlton who punches a curling Reus free-kick over the bar.

[43] Fischer wins Dortmund their fifth corner. Subotic gets on the end of Verniers’ delivery but powers his header inches over the top.

[45] Toomer blazes a shot over the bar from long-range.


HALF-TIME: Chicago Fire 0-2 Borussia Dortmund (Friendly).

[HT] Two changes for the Fire at the break. On come Adrian Garenr and Mathew Braun for Mortimer (6.7) and Garner (6.6).

[HT] Dortmund have made six changes, replacing their entire midfield and attack lines. Replacing Bourard (7.0), Verniers (7.0), Reus (7.2), Fischer (7.3), Schieber (8.0) and Lewandowski (7.0) are Lars and Sven Bender, André Schürrle, Steven Jovetic, and youngsters Bernd Kandizora and Josef Bungert for their first senior appearances.

[46] BVB kick-off the second period!

[52] Third change for Chicago: On comes Anthony Castillo for MacDonald (6.5).

[55] Julian Koch (6.9) concedes a corner, and that’ll be his last action as he’s replaced by Andreas Beck. Dortmund clear the danger.

[61] Beck gets away down the right and floats a deep cross in that Chicago can’t clear, before Lars Bender has a shot blocked.

[68] Bungert is denied a début goal by Carlton as he smothers the youngster’s close-range shot.

[70] Two more changes for the home side. On come Peter Cassar and Fabien George for goalkeeper Carlton (6.7) and Lockhart (6.6).

[72] CHICAGO 0-3 DORTMUND: Game over, surely. Lars Bender wins the ball back in the middle of the park, looks up and sends the ball left for André Schürrle who sprints over halfway, outpaces Elbaum and slots past Cassar. First touch for the Chicago ‘keeper is to pick the ball out of his net.


[72] Chicago make another change before we restart. Jeff Kawulok is on for Friedrich (5.4).

[76] Toomer fluffs a great chance to pull a goal back after he gets behind the Dortmund defence, but he misses the target one-on-one from 18 yards out.

[77] Ernest Ashby is cautioned after he upends Beck.

[80] Bernd Kandizora is played through by Jovetic but he’s forced wide of goal and can’t get a shot away.

[82] Beck wins Dortmund a corner when Ashby challenges him in the box. Generous refereeing there, doesn’t look like the Chicago man, cautioned five minutes ago, got any of the ball.

[84] George fires wide. Weidenfeller untested so far tonight.

[84] Another change for Chicago as Daniel Kann replace Elbaum (7.0).

[85] Kann shoots wide after he beats Santana to a through-ball.

[90] Inside the final thirty seconds of normal time, Weidenfeller is finally called upon to make a save as he denies Braun from ten yards out when Dortmund can’t clear their lines from a long throw-in.

[90] One additional minute, despite all the substitutions. Fourth official ain’t got time for’ dat.


FULL-TIME: Chicago Fire 0-3 Borussia Dortmund (Friendly).


    • 26.02: Europa League 1KR(2) BVB v. RSC Anderlecht (Signal Iduna Park)
    • 04.03: DFB-Pokal QF Bayer Leverkusen v. BVB (BayArena)
    • 07.03: Bundesliga #24 Schalke v. BVB (Veltins-Arena)
    • 11.03: Bundesliga #25 VfB Stuttgart v. BVB (Mercedes-Benz-Arena)
    • 14.03: Bundesliga #26 BVB v. Fortuna Düsseldorf (Signal Iduna Park)