In their traditional pre-season curtain raiser against Barnet at Underhill, Arsene Wenger gave an Arsenal debut to new signing, Laurent Koscielny, who partnered Thomas Vermaelen at the heart of Arsenal’s defence.
There were also starts for the highly-rated Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky,Andrey Arshavin and young striker Jay Simpson, whilst Maroaune Chamakh the free transfer from Bordeaux, began his Arsenal career on the bench.
The match began with Arsenal heading straight onto the front foot, and they raced into a second minute lead after a sweeping passing move saw Barnet cut open and a goal for the diminuative Russian, Andrey Arshavin.
With Wilshere, Rosicky and Emmanuel Frimpong dominating proceedings from the centre of midfield, Arsenal continued to pen Barnet back inside there own half and another passing interchange between Wilshere and Arshavin almost created a chance for Jay Simpson but he was denied by a good block from Sam Cox.
However, Simpson didn’t have to wait long for another chance and in the 16th minute he doubled Arsenal’s advantage. A jinking run from Jack Wilshere straight at the heart of the Barnet defence, saw him drive into the penalty area and find Simpson with a simple cut-back. From there the England Under-21 international made the finish look simple as from 12 yards out, he side-footed past Jake Cole and into the bottom corner of the net.
With Arsenal controlling the game, Barnet could be commended for trying to keep the ball on the floor and playing around their Premier League opponents, however the League Two side struggled to mount any sort of serious attempts on the goal of Fabianski.
Following a looping header from Simpson which floated harmlessly over the crossbar, Arshavin saw a 30th minute strike from 20-yards curl over the top of Jake Cole’s goal, and Wilshere struck a right-footed shot low past Cole’s left hand post.
In the 40th minute, Tomas Rosicky, wearing the captains armband, showed some lovely footwork to evade his marker but dragged his shot across the goal and out for a Barnet goal-kick.
Arsenal continued to threaten a second goal, and it finally arrived just before half-time, as Jay Simpson scored his second goal of the game, forcing the ball into the back of the Barnet net from close range, with virtually the last kick of the half.
Half Time: Barnet 0-3 Arsenal
In the second half Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger changed his entire side, bringing on a more inexperienced eleven than before. However, injury-ravaged defender Johan Djourou made his first start in over nine months whilst a prominent front three of Samir Nasri, new signing Chamakh and Theo Walcott were also brought into the fray.
In the absence of the aggressive Frimpong in midfield, Arsenal gave more space to their opponents at the start of the half, but the backline of Eastmond,Djourou, Miquel and Gibbs held firm and denied Barnet any real opportunities.
With the second-half being played at a more leisurely pace than the first, Chamakh had his first effort on goal in an Arsenal shirt in the 54th minute as he drilled a shot over the crossbar, following good work between Walcott and Lansbury.
Arsenal continued to dominate possession, with clever passing between Lansbury, Barazite and Nasri not allowing Barnet to gain a foothold in the match, however, the Gunners were unable to create any real clear-cut opportunites.
However, despite being able to create a chance of their own, Arsenal were gifted a fourth goal in the 74th minute after some atrocious defending by Barnet defender Daniel Leach.
A long ball upfield should have been routine for Leach to deal with, as he had time and space to do whatever he wanted with the ball. However, under no pressure whatsoever, the defender slipped and fell allowing Samir Nasri, a surprise exclusion from the France World Cup Squad, to walk into the penalty area and pick his spot.
Arsenal went in search of a fifth, and with Nasri starting to control proceedings they created a chance in the 80th minute. Nasri freed Walcott down the right and the former Southampton player’s cutback found Chamakh, however the Moroccan striker wanted too much time and Barnet were able to clear.
In the 90th minute the Gunners almost had their fifth after good work down the left from Kieran Gibbs fed Conor Henderson, who rounded the goalkeeper but saw his shot blocked behind for a corner.
All in all Arsene Wenger will have been pleased with his sides first pre-season match, as his side comfortably disposed of Mark Stimsons League Two strugglers, with Emmanuel Frimpong, Jay Simpson and Samir Nasri in particular, looking impressive.
Full Time: Barnet 0-4 Arsenal