The new football season is here already. These days, we don’t have to wait till the league gets up and running. Once friendly games like the ones featuring Arsenal, Barcelona, Real Madrid and the likes begin, the season has kicked off.
The USA has been playing host to a number of amazing games. And the one between Arsenal and Real Madrid was a huge relief for a number of reasons.
Asides being just another friendly game, here are a few takeaways from the game:
1. Friendly Games are Not So Friendly Anymore
When was the last time a friendly football game you watched featured two red cards?
Whether it’s down to a trigger-happy referee or overzealous players, red cards are rare in friendly games. At least that’s what it used to be – there’s a reason they’re called friendly games.
However, the Arsenal vs. Real Madrid game was easily an exception. Featuring two red cards – one for each side – it further gave evidence to the increasingly obvious: friendly games are not so friendly anymore.
Who’s to blame? The players trying to catch the manager’s attention? Overzealous refs?
2. Zidane’s Squad Depth
During friendly games like Arsenal vs. Real Madrid, you hear several names. It’s the precious time for the little-known ones to get that window of opportunity to strut their stuff. Why not give everyone a playing chance? After all, everybody is trying to prepare for the new season.
For Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid, it seemed more than this. With each player he brought on, it seemed more of a show-off. Most of his squad was filled with household names in European football. Most. Furthermore, his new buys looked pretty solid – Mendy impressed.
Navas off for Courtois? Asension coming on? Looks pretty deep.
3. Gareth Bale
The Arsenal vs. Real Madrid game was a chance for Gareth Bale to remind fans and manager alike what he could do. For a player who has been heavily linked with a move out of the club, the Welshman pulled more than his weight in the game.
Coming on in the second half, Bale managed to score a goal and also made a goal-line clearance during the time. Icing on the cake? He missed his penalty in the shootout.
4. A Worthy Break From All the Noise
Whether summer or winter, the transfer market season in football is always crazy. With each window, the craze level seems to increase. And this window, the noise has gotten even louder.
However, the Arsenal vs. Real Madrid game was a welcome distraction – even if for a short while – from all that noise. The entertainment served up, surprise red cards and Bale’s facial expression made it one game to remember.
5. The Best Strike Partnership in the World?
Every manager must have been watching the Aubameyang-Lacazette partnership jealously. If only they had a pairing that understood themselves. If only they had a pairing that played with a smile on their faces while killing their opponents slowly.
Arsenal fans are wondering too.
I can’t understand why we can’t spend that Zaha money on wingers like Lozano and Everton. I mean if we get Zaha and Everton that’s good business but if not, can’t we move on if we can’t pay the amount they are asking?! I think it’s all a smokescreen to say “oh we tried to do it”
— MA (@Footiematics) July 24, 2019
In the end, it was a great game of football. Of course, there’s still plenty to be worked on.
What do you think these sides need to improve on? Drop your comments and share your thoughts.
Disclaimer: The Arsenal vs. Real Madrid game was one of the fixtures in the ongoing International Champions Cup tournament. So, the dilemma remains: is it a pre-season friendly or a competitive tournament?
Author: Rotimi “Papi the Great” Daramola
Rotimi Daramola aka Papi the Great is the owner of ForTheGoal.
A freelance sports writer who focuses on football, Rotimi is also a freelance writer, a copywriter and a football analyst who regularly appears on radio and television to talk football. You can follow him on twitter @papi_thegreat to keep up with his writings, engage him and also find out about how you can secure his writing services.