Borehamwood 0-8 Arsenal: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bags hat-trick in opening 17 minutes as Gunners thrash poor side in Unai Emery's first game

By Daily Sports on July 15, 2018

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The surroundings were modest and the opposition hospitable but for Unai Emery, this was as perfect a start as he could possibly have wished for.

On his first match in charge as Arsenal manager, Emery saw his team score eight, keep a clean sheet and his star-names appeared to be on form.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a hat-trick inside sixteen minutes and seven seconds, while Reiss Nelson and

Alexandre Lacazette also scored before the interval as Arsenal reduced National League outfit Borehamwood to mere mannequins in a training exercise. Goals from Eddie Nketiah, Jeff Reine Adelaide and Henrikh Mkhitaryan added the rest in the second period.

Emery arrived in a small minibus just over half-an-hour before kick-off at Borehamwood's Meadow Park. As he entered the clubhouse, hundreds of Arsenal supporters descended, raising cheers and clicking away on their smartphones for the first glimpse of their new manager on matchday. In Borehamwood's humble abode, Arsenal supporters filled out all sides of the ground, standing behind the goals to see their team take the first step in life after Arsene Wenger.

We should not fool ourselves that pre-season results such as these matter too much. These are essentially a training routine, underlined by the fact that Arsenal's starting XI not only made way at half-time but even left the stadium after the interval. Only Petr Cech remained in the dugout as a safety net should second goalkeeper Emilio Martinez be injured.

Yet the portents of Arsenal's performance were undoubtedly positive. Arsenal are in the fortunate and unusual position of having the vast majority of their players ready and available at the start of pre-season, owing to only a handful taking part in the World Cup. Mesut Ozil is the main absentee, as well as new signings Stephan Lichtsteiner and Lucas Torreira and midfielders Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny.

As Emery comes to terms with life in his new job, particularly with a nasty-looking opening to the season against Manchester City and Chelsea, the freshness of his group may yet prove important.

Certainly, he will be excited by the potential of Aubameyang. The Gabon striker demonstrated flashes of his talent after signing from Borussia Dortmund midway through last season but peeling off the left wing in a 4-3-3 system in the first-half, Aubameyang showed devastating pace and clinical finishing. His first goal was a peach, cutting in from the left in a manner similar to former Arsenal hero Thierry Henry and curling a sumptuous strike that kissed the inside of the post before nestling into the goal.

He then stooped to head in a second when Ainsley Maitland-Niles galloped through midfield and delivered a perfect cross for Aubameyang to score. When Nelson was then chopped down in the penalty area, Aubameyang stroked in to seal his rapid-fire hat-trick.

Nelson, a silver-quick forward, was equally dangerous from the right side and he produced a marvellous piece of chest control before then volleying in Arsenal's fourth and Lacazette slotted in the fifth before the interval. For those Arsenal supporters wondering whether Aubameyang and Lacazette will operate together, this represented a tantalising audition.

There were other signs of promise to be found in the dominance of Maitland-Niles and the tidy composure of young midfielder Emile Smith Rowe, as the pair bestrode the midfield in the first half. On the touchline, Emery was at ease, sitting next to his assistant Juan Carlos Carcedo and Wenger's former lieutenant Steve Bould. Both Carcedo and Bould came to the touchline to direct the team at different stages, while Emery used a drinks interval to animatedly encourage the academy graduates in the team.

If Emery is extremely harsh, the only concern might have been a couple of misjudgements from the £17million new defender Sokratis Papastathopolous, who signed from Borussia Dortmund this summer, and allowed the hosts rare sights of goal.

In the second-half, the replacement XI saw opportunities for Aaron Ramsey, Mkhitaryan and Saed Kolasinac, while Carl Jenkinson and Lucas Perez - outcasts under Wenger - also helped make up the numbers.

The second period was predictably less cohesive and fluid but Arsenal still added another three.

Perez fired in a low cross converted by Nketiah, Reine-Adelaide fired a strike low and hard into the bottom corner from distance and Mkhitaryan then ran through to stroke in the eighth. (Daily Mail)

Source Daily Sports

Posted July 15, 2018

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