Arsenal wrapped up their final home game of 2010 with a 2-1 win over Wolves in the Premier Reserve League. In a fixture which saw Aaron Ramsey make his long awaited come back from a broken leg, goals from Roarie Deacon and Gilles Sunu secured the three points.
Neil Banfield may have lost Henri Lansbury after he joined Norwich City yesterday, but the second string boss had a notable replacement. Aaron Ramsey was judged fit enough to start in central midfield, and he was joined by fellow first-teamer Manuel Almunia, also making his return from injury.
Nordtveit – Hajrovic – Miquel – Boateng
Eastmond – Ramsey
Deacon – Aneke – Sunu
Subs: Shea (GK), Angha, Özyakup, Yennaris, Henderson.
Arsenal snapped out of the traps at London Colney but nobody seemed to tell Aaron Ramsey it was just a Reserve game. With just seconds on the clock, his first action was to close down John Gorman and steal the ball from the Wolves midfielder and begin an Arsenal attack. Promising signs.
The positive start was misleading, though. Wolves worked the first real opening, cutting a gap between Hajrovic and Miquel big enough for Sam Winnall to run clear. Manuel Almunia came rushing from his goalut needed a well timed sliding clearance to snuff out the danger.
Ramsey was beginning to settle and was involved in two quick fire chances. First, the Welshman lashed an effort at McCarey in the Wolves goal, then he gave possession away to Mujangi Bia who forced Almunia into another smart save.
Arsenal stepped up their play just before half time and should have had the lead. Ramsey was involved in two great chances; starting moves which led to Aneke heading over from six yards then Sunu flicking wide with the goal at his mercy.
The half time whistle brought an end to a solid opening period and to Aaron’s return. He was replaced by Oğuzhan Özyakup at the break having shown some super touches but tired towards the end. Almunia was also pulled off with James Shea replacing him.
With the first-team players gone, the attention firmly switched to getting the three points. It took less than 10 minutes to make substantial inroads to that goal. Eastmond’s probing run into the box resulted in a powerful shot; McCarey parried and Deacon slammed in the re-bound. 1-0.
Conor Henderson came on for Aneke minutes later and was instantly involved. The Irishman’s whipped cross picked out Sunu in the box; the Frenchman applied a classy finish and it was 2-0.
The game then became all about securing the victory, but after pressing forward for the third, Wolves broke. Winnall was found unmarked in the box. A powerful header later and it was 2-1.
Wolves pressed hard for the equaliser late on. Shea was forced to make two great saves, the second of which a delightful block with his legs from Cassidy. Substitute Zeli Ismail then had the ball in the net, but only after fouling Miquel.
The visitors continued to press, but Banfield’s boys showed good character to secure the three points. 2-1, and a great day all round.