An Arsenal Reserve XI beat Woking FC 3-0 this evening, as the club’s second string youngsters played their first game of pre-season. An early own goal set the tone, before Chuks Aneke doubled the lead just before half time. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas wrapped the win up in the second half.
Henri Lansbury, Craig Eastmond and Gavin Hoyte all missed out through a lack of fitness, but Bolivian Samuel Galindo was included for the first time after moving from Real America last summer. He was joined on the bench by 41-year-old goalkeeper coach Tony Roberts, who was a late inclusion as James Shea’s back up.
ARSENAL: Shea; Hajrovic, Bartley, Boateng, Meade; Özyakup, Aneke, Henderson; Emmanuel-Thomas, Afobe, Watt.
Woking set about their task well in the opening stages, showing just why many tip them to win promotion from Blue Square South next season.
A selection of threatening long balls tested the mettle of the Arsenal defence, before the back pedalling Shea was forced to tip a dipping shot over the bar. Woking were having the better of it, but it was Arsenal who snatched the lead, when Emmanuel-Thomas’ corner was turned in for an own goal, despite Afobe trying to claim it as his own. 1-0.
The game lost its way towards half time, but the Afobe-Aneke combination that worked so many times for the Under 18’s, worked again. Benik played Chuks in on the edge of the box, and the powerful midfielder turned sharply and lashed the ball in to the corner. A brilliant move and an excellent goal. 2-0.
It was the final meaningful action of the half.
The second period saw Brislen-Hall, Yennaris, Murphy, Freeman and Galindo all come on, the latter for his Arsenal debut. Mass changes usually disrupt the flow, but Arsenal kicked on. Emmanuel-Thomas and Murphy both had shots saved, before Galindo’s mazy run resulted in a superb ball for Freeman, but he only found the ‘keepers chest despite being through one-on-one.
Woking threatened briefly late on, but the Cards folded when Emmanuel-Thomas finished where Freeman hadn’t to make it 3-0.
The full time whistle brought to an end a comfortable victory. Many of these players are expected to go on loan, but should he require them, Arsène Wenger has some good prospects in reserve.