SAN JOSE, Calif. – Arsenal came out victorious 2-1 over the MLS All-Stars on Thursday night at Avaya Stadium. But this was no throwaway exhibition exercise according to Arsene Wenger.
As the Gunners head into the upcoming Premier League season, the club’s manager had plenty to evaluate.
“The contacts are a bit less strong and it’s a more friendly game than it is usually when you play against a club,” Wenger said of the friendly. “On the other hand, you have top-quality players on the pitch together and you feel like every time you make a mistake they can take advantage of it.”
“In my team I believe what is important for us is in this kind of game is to analyze what aspect of our game we do well,” he said. “I felt that in the first half we had a good balance between keeping possession and going very quickly on transition in behind, and we had good penetrating runs in the final third.”
He praised first-half performances particularly by Jack Wilshere, Joel Campbell (who converted a PK, the game’s first goal), and even a character some Arsenal fans love to hate: Theo Walcott.
The main takeaway for Wenger, though, was that the upcoming kids are alright. “It’s a good opportunity as well to see many young players that we educate,” Wenger said, “and that was positive.”