As seen on BT Sports in my front room - the briefest of match reports.
I can’t stand meaningless pre-season friendlies but I’m prepared to make an exception for Saturday's game. Our team was: Martinez in the 50 shirt, Hector Bellerin who is a better winger than defender but played well, new boy Callam Chambers who looked seriously cool calm and collected, Monreal who is no centre back and Gibbs at the back. Ramsey, Rosicky and Flamini in midfield. YaYa Sanogo upfront with the Ox and Joel Campbell as the widemen who work back. But this wasn’t a 4-4-3 maybe a 4-1-4-1 and in effect something of a rather more fluid interchangeable formation. Two banks of four when required were also the order of our day.
Flamini, who else, with our first foul. Referee Lee Mason and his white stick fail to award Campbell a penalty, he then awards Benfica a corner with the lino’s flag up for offside – he hasn’t improved. Sanogo makes it 1-0 on 26 minutes from a sweet low Ramsey cross. Bellerin lays down a marker with a great run down the right. Monreal confirms he’s out of position as a centre back. Bellerin and Sanogo combine well with a decent cross finding Campbell who hits great volley to make it 2-0 to the Arsenal on 40 minutes. The Ox takes them apart before Ramsey to Campbell to Sanogo leaves Yaya with a tap in for 3-0 on 44 minutes. One minute later Sanogo completes his hat trick, this time from a Gibbs cross. We go in at half time with a 4-0 lead having totally blitzed a bewildered Benfica in a five-minute spell.
Second half sees Cazorla out to replace the Ox who had been reasonably ok in his first game back from injury. The 48th minute sees a decent Ramsey shot saved low and the man many fools had written off as hopeless is once again in the right place at the right to prod it home. Yaya celebrates our fifth with the home crowd. Arsenel replace Ramsey, Flamani and Rosicky with Wilshere, Arteta and Coquelin on 59 minutes.
Benfica revert to Stoke tactics and score from a long throw which was flicked on to start and end their comeback at 5-1, a Nico Gaitan header on 61 minutes. A decent save from Martinez, and a couple more followed from our current third choice keeper. A Sanogo slalom ends in a tweak that sees him limp off with what looks like a hammy. Arsenal have gone to sleep this half having won the game before the break. Alexis changes into kit and looks a seriously powerful geezer in the tight Puma outfit. Both teams made seven substitutions but I won’t bore you with Benfica’s – mainly because I haven’t a clue who subbed who when other than there being two batches of three.
Lima misses easy chance. Multi-subs Miguel for Monreal, Akpom for Campbell and Alexis for the already departed Sanogo. Huge roars as Alexis opens with some fine showboating. We’ve closed well all the game and been good at falling back when required. Bebe (the ex-Manure failure) had two decent free kicks. Benito picked up a yellow card as he stopped a break away near the half way line. Monreal had also been carded in the first half for exactly the same offence.
Miguel hit his header against their bar from a corner. Jack limping. Coquelin hits the post with a shot as Sanchez, sorry that should read Alexis, finds him from the right. Final score 5-1. That'll do me.
Nearly forgot: our crowd were guilty of performing Mexican waves - something which indicated the type of crowd in attendance. No thank you, not for me.
Brian Dawes @Gooner48