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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Arsenal Passes Test Number Four as They Defeat Bundesliga side Hanover 96

Despite the departure of one of the longest-serving Arsenal players in recent years, Kolo Toure, Arsenal was back to business for their fourth game of the pre-season against Bundesliga side Hanover 96.

The mixed emotions that have emerged out of the summer developments in the Arsenal squad were nowhere to be seen as the smiling Arsene Wenger seemed to be infected by the good atmosphere on the impressive Amd Arena.

The match started well for Arsenal.

Surprisingly, Wenger had decided to experiment with a different formation than his usual 4-4-2. This time it was to be 4-3-3, with Denilson, Fabregas, and Song playing in the centre of the park.

And the tactic gave results quite early in the game.

In the seventh minute, Bendtner lobbed the ball over a couple of Hanover midfielders to find Van Persie just outside the box.

Changing his trajectory of movement, Van Persie set himself free of his marker and with a beautiful, precise through pass found Fabregas rushing inside the box.

With a nudge of the ball, he released himself from the keeper and keeping his composure, tucked the ball in.

From there until the end of the first half there was only one team – Arsenal. Hanover remained threatening only from the scarce set pieces they managed to have.

After the 20 minutes of play, Francesc Fabregas surprisingly took on the holding-midfielder role, behind Song and Denilson.

Arshavin received a chance to double the score but failed his example to be later followed by Bendtner.

The result remained 1-0 to Arsenal.

Armand Traore was replaced by Mikael Silvestre in the 33th minute.

The beginning of second half signalled the end of the Arsene Wenger’s experimentation period.

Aaron Ramsey, Johan Djourou, Wolceich Szczesny, and Bakary Sagna replaced Cesc Fabregas, William Gallas, Nicklas Bendtner, and Vito Mannone to form the classic and more familiar 4-4-2.

Hanover started more aggressively.

They pushed to equalize and almost got the equalizing goal when Ramsey attempted to clear a cross but saw his header sending the ball a few inches off his own goal.

Robin Van Persie and Karim Haggui reminded us that even in a friendly match there is passion and desire for winning when both had an incident which resulted in Haggui being warned with a yellow card.

Later, Robin Van Persie made things even and also got booked. It is when Wenger decided to substitute him with Eduardo coming on for him.

With 15 minutes remaining, Eduardo was fed a pass from Silvestre but his shot sent the ball wide of the goal.

Until the end of the match Hanover pushed, their direct style of play testing the Arsenal defence. However, it was not to be and although with a few moments of uncertainty, the Arsenal back four successfully neutralized the oncoming attacks.

The match further extended the successful pre-season run of the Gunners.

So far, they have kept in good form. The form the Arsenal supporter would want to see at the Emirates where they travel back to meet another friendly challenge.

They will play Atletico Madrid on Saturday and Rangers on Sunday in the annual Emirates Cup tournament.

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