Monday, August 13, 2012

Arsenal news: FC Koln 0-4 Arsenal

Podolski hits double against former club as Van Persie returns

The Dutchman featured briefly for the Gunners while the new signing impressed as Arsene Wenger's side ended their pre-season with a convincing display against the German outfit

FC Cologne - FC Arsenal, Pre-season friendly, Olivier Giroud, Kevin Pezzoni

Arsenal concluded their pre-season preparations with a dominant 4-0 win over German side Koln.

A Lucas Podolski double and a Thomas Vermaelen header gave the Gunners a 3-0 lead at half-time, with Gervinho making it four after the break.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger opted to start with new signing Santi Cazorla alongside fellow summer recruits Podolski and Olivier Giroud in the first half, with unsettled striker Robin van Persie introduced for a 20-minute cameo in the second period.

The Premier League side took little time seizing the initiative as Vermaelen consolidated a positive start by powering home Cazorla's corner after seven minutes.

Podolski - featuring against his former club in a friendly arranged as part of the deal that brought him to the Emirates Stadium - doubled the visitors' lead from the penalty spot soon after when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was brought down in the box.

Koln goalkeeper Timo Horn made a couple of saves to prevent Arsenal further extending their lead, first denying Giroud at point-blank range after Cazorla piked him out, then tipping over a Per Mertesacker header.

However, Podolski grabbed his second moments before half-time after Kieran Gibbs powered down the left flank and cut back for the German to slot home convincingly.

Wenger made a host of changes for the second half, introducing Gervinho, Alex Song and Wojciech Szczesny, among others.

Ivorian Gervinho took little time to settle into Arsenal's fluid attack and nudged the ball along to Podolski who was denied his hat-trick by a last-ditch sliding challenge.

Matthias Lehmann was unfortunate to see his driven effort from 30 yards out cannon off the bar as the hosts searched for a way to get back into the game but Gervinho settled matters on the hour mark, surging down the left and cutting in from the byline to fire in at the near post.

Podolski was withdrawn after 70 minutes to rapturous applause from both sets of fans, with the German replaced by Van Persie.

The change of personnel led to Arsenal suffering difficulties building momentum as the visitors played keep ball for the last twenty minutes.

A little more care from Andrey Arshavin could have led to a Van Persie tap-in at the death but the Russian miscued his pass with the goal gaping.

The Gunners begin their Premier League campaign next Saturday when they host Sunderland at home.



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