Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Ely City 1 AFC Sudbury 4

In the latest preseason friendly Ely took on a strong Sudbury side from the Ryman League.

Despite the gulf in levels between the two clubs Ely held their own for most of the first half despite falling two goals behind. The first goal should probably have not been allowed due to a hand ball before the goal was scored anyway. The second one was brilliant though and Ely were showing weaknesses from the left where the passage of play broke through. That said Ely did have a completely different goalkeeper in the first half and on balance the possession was pretty equal. It just looked like Sudbury knew how to put it in the net and Ely didn't.

In the second half changes were made on both sides, however it was Sudbury who seemed to change for the better. The centre forward who came on for them was especially impressive. He scored one to extend their lead and also hit the bar and post all with thumping shots. Ely pulled one back with 10 minutes left, but the man up front almost broke the net to make it 4 to the visitors.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Arsenal 6 Lyon 0

In the second game of the Emirates Cup Arsenal took on Lyon. The French club came second in the league last year and ran PSG close, it could be argued that they are further behind in their preseason preparations, but Arsenal really handed them a lesson in football. Apart from trying to sure up a leaky defence by signing Petr Cech as their new number 1, the Gunners have been pretty quiet in the transfer market. A lot of people thought that they would be trying to strengthen at the back, but yesterday's performance would suggest that they think attack is the best form of defending.

Arsenal were firing and attacking from the start with Oxlade Chamberlain tearing down the right wing in an attempt to secure a starting place in the team. Looking back it seems surprising that it took them 30 minutes to open the scoring.

The first goal came on the half hour mark when Oliver Giroud headed/ shouldered/ cheeked the ball into the back of the goal with after Oxlade Chamberlain crossed. Five minutes later and the Ox scored one for himself to double the lead.

Arsenal were now in a ramp and mood and just two minutes later Arsenal youngster Alex Iwobi made it 3-0 when he connected with the ball at the far post. Just two minutes later and Aaron Ramsey had scored another well taken goal to make it 4-0.

Lyon were left reeling by 4 goals in 9 minutes, and must have been glad that Arsenal didn't punish them again in the last 7 minutes of the half.

Arsenal started to take things a little more calmly in the second half, but the young players like Iwobi, Akpom and even the Ox were still trying to impress. However, it was Mehmut Ozil, who also has a bit of a point to prove who got the 5th on 62 minutes.

Shortly after this Arsenal introduced wholesale changes and they lost their rhythm a bit, much to Lyon's relief. However, it always felt like Arsenal would get one more and with one of those substitutes being Santi Cazorla there was a slight feeling of inevitability. With five minutes left he was given the opportunity  when Arsenal were awarded a free kick in shooting distance. The wall jumped as they expected him to try curling it into the top corner, but he squeezed it under the jump and the rout was complete at 6-0.

It was a really impressive performance by the Gunners, but only time will tell if it is going to be their season as we were almost, but not quite as impressed with them when they destroyed Benfica in the competition last year.

Wolfsburg 1 Villarreal 2

The Emirates Cup started yesterday with a match between Villarreal and Wolfsburg. There were moments in the game where both teams showed what they were capable of, but also periods where the game was quiet and had that preseason feel about it. As usual the Arsenal fans were just wandering in throughout the game, so at times motivation must have been hard for them to keep up.

After a quiet opening few minutes Ivan Perisic struck for Wolfsburg after being threaded through by Kevin De Bruyne. The lead was short lived though and the Villarreal midfield showed real pace in going forward. Just two minutes after Perisic had scored Mario Gaspar found the back of the net with a well taken goal on the counterattack. On 17 minutes the Yellow Submarine again broke quickly against their German opponents and Mattias Leiva scored a brilliant goal to give the Spanish side the lead.

The skills and abilities of the players on both teams were never in doubt, and occassionaly shone through at periods in the rest of the first half, but it was pretty uneventful and the half finished with Villarreal leading 2-1.

During the second half Wolfsburg did most if the pressing and De Bruyne continued to impress and Perisic and later Jung and Bendtner had decent chances. Villarreal continued to look dangerous on the break, but ultimately the game finished 2-1 to Villarreal.

Oxlade Chamberlain scores for Arsenal

Photo of Alex Oxlade Chamberlain's celebration after he put the Gunners 2-0 up in the 6-0 victory over Lyon.

Arsenal warm up

New Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech didn't  take part yesterday, but helped with the warm up by sending a few crosses in.

Photos from Wolfsburg v Villarreal Part 2

Ivan Persic in the attack for Wolfsburg in the first half.

Nicklas Bendtner comes close to an equaliser for Wolfsburg.

Sebastian Jung takes a corner for Wolfsburg.

The corner goes in but nothing comes from it.

Photos from Wolfsburg V Villarreal Part 1

The teams line up before kick off.

Wolfsburg press forward.

Villarreal on the ball in midfield.

Villarreal press forward in the first half.

Emirates Cup 2015 - Wolfsburg warm up

A couple of photos of Wolfsburg warming up.

Kevin De Bruyne warming up for Wolfsburg.

Emirates Cup 2015 - Pictures of the stadium

A few photos from before kick off in the first game between Villarreal v Wolfsburg.

Photo of the North Bank before it started filling up.

Photo of the scoreboard on the North Bank.

The Clock End.

The North Bank again

Emirates Cup 2015

Yesterday we went on our annual trip to Arsenal and saw Villarreal beat Wolfsburg 2-1 and Arsenal beat Lyon 6-0.

As usual it was a good day out and was probably the trip there that I enjoyed the most.

Pictures and reports to follow.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ely City 2 Histon 0

Another experimental team took on Histon in the latest preseason game last night and it would appear that the future is brighter next season.

Ely finally looked like a team after a season of disappointment and created enough chances to go into the half time break 2-0 up with goals from David Wilson and one of the new forwards who we won't know the name of until next season.

There were a lot of changes in the second half for Ely and they lost their rhythm a bit, but managed to close the game out with a win.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ely City Reserves 1 Fowlmere 1

On Saturday we went to see the reserves take on Fowlmere in a preseason friendly. I never know most of the reserve players in the season and have even less of an idea in preseason, so who was who is anybody's guess.

It was an entertaining enough game and most of the chances created in the first half were from the home team, whose best chance came when they hit the bar.
(Pictured below

However, the pressure didn't count for much when the away team scored just before half time.

The heat, substitutions and lack of fitness  took it's toll in the second half and things calmed down to a pretty slow pace. Chances were few and far between, but Ely weren't helped by the club linesman from Fowlmere and his flag waving saved his team's blushes on a few occasions.

Ely did finally get their reward though when the Fowlmere keeper, who had been on great form flapped at a shot and more or less fumbled it into his own goal and the match finished a draw.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Ely City 0 Cambridge City 1

On Tuesday night Ely continued their preseason fixtures with a game against stiffer competition in Cambridge City. There were a lot of players and a lot of substitutions, so it's still hard to know which of the players will be lining up at the start of the season, but it was a promising enough performance agains a team 3 leagues above.

Ely dominated for long periods and had a couple of opportunities to nick a goal. Jack Saunders was busy again and hopefully he'll be a permanent fixture at the club. Ely still need some some fire power at the club though and unfortunately, centre forward Gammo put the ball in his own net rather than in the Cambridge goal to settle the game.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Soham United 1 Ely City 4

Yesterday I spent a lot of time down in Soham as Ely Crusaders took on Soham United in the morning and then Ely City took on Soham United in a preseason friendly in the afternoon.

The day got off to a good start with Crusaders winning 14-0, but the main event in the afternoon was always going to be tough to call.

Ely had a mixture of old, new and youth players in the line up and after a terrible season last time out how they are going to do is difficult to call.

The game started off in typical preseason fashion especially in the heat with neither side forcing their way into the game and Ely looking especially shot shy. Just as the drink break was about to start on the half hour mark Soham took the lead. A brilliant shot from the right wing squeezed into the goal from the narrowest of angles to give United the lead.

After the drink break though the Robins got back into it and new signing from Wisbech St.Mary, Jack Saunders started to find his way into the game. He looks to be a player who could help turn things round for the Robins, if he sticks around. First he got an equaliser before drawing the Robins into the lead. He then found the head of Craig Neal who made it 3-1 and then Alex Knowles made it 4-1 in the closing minutes.

It was an encouraging start for Ely, but we will have to see how they get on against stiffer opposition in Cambridge City on Tuesday night.

Friday, July 10, 2015

It's back and it hardly ever went away

Well, that seemed like a pretty short break from the football. I still haven't recovered from the FA Cup final, but at least we can get on with some other football soon. The last few weeks haven't been that football free with Sean's numerous tournaments, and the Under 21 tournament on TV, but despite an unhealthy diet of Aussie Rules and baseball on TV it still seems to be a bit early for getting the preseason started already.

Tomorrow we have the Soham doubleheader with Ely Crusaders playing Soham United in the morning and their adult side doing battle with the Ely City in the afternoon. I can't believe that last season although we knew that Ely City were going to struggle we were still optimistic and felt quite an affinity for them. I think that the preseason this year will be make or break. Now that the Robins are in Divison 1, I was surprised about how many reserve teams have sneaked into that league. It makes for some better away trips, but also makes it a bit duller and ensures some midweek hidings when their first teams don't have a game. Onwards and upwards. Here comes the new season.