Three Arsenal players appeared last night for England U21 in their qualifying match against Macedonia. Theo Walcott started in attack, Jack Wilshere in midfield and Kieran Gibbs in defense respectively (can someone tell me when was the last time England paraded an Arsenal trio or more in their starting lineup for the senior side?).
Gibss by far had the most to do among the trio as he claimed a well-headed goal, an own goal and an assist. His first came as Walcott beat the offside trap and nicked the ball past the keeper and calmly lifted the ball to his Arsenal teammate to head home into an unguarded net. Next Gibbs took a wild swing at an incoming corner and swerved it past his own goalkeeper. In the final minutes of the game, Gibbs still have the energy to venture forward but lost the ball, then won it back again before slipping it in for another England player to score. Offensively, again Gibbs have looked the part though the defensive prowess of Macedonia made it look easy. However, more than once he was caught napping as cross-field ball swung over his head into Macedonia right-winger. Lucky for him, speed is on his side and managed to recover most times but will need to improve on this.
Like Gibbs, Wilshere also played the full 90 minutes and was industrious to say the least. His decision making and crosses created many a chance for the England forwards but at times he looked like light years ahead of his teammates who could not match his footballing brains. Had it be the Arsenal team, he would have been clearly man of the match yesterday. As it is, his passes were not met by the English players because they did not anticipate what Wilshere was doing. As industrious as he was, Wilshere was also showing his tougher facade and was constantly diving into tackles. My only observation is that he need to curb his desire to take on players all the time and could do with the simple passes sometimes.
Walcott had pretty much an anonymous 45 minutes before he was substituted out at half time. Other than the goal he created for Gibss, it was another milestone in getting him back fit again for Arsenal.
Alright, that is all I can muster today. Here’s to Arshavin breaking German hearts tonight.