As our first signing of the summer, there was real intrigue surrounding Sead Kolasinac’s first appearance at Emirates Stadium - and he responded in style.
The Bosnia international set up Theo Walcott’s first goal, and had a hand in two more, as we beat Benfica 5-2 in the Emirates Cup on Saturday.
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Arsene Wenger was delighted with Kolasinac after the match, and this is what he said in his post-match press conference:
on the game…
My thought is that it is a good preparation for us. The game was played at a good pace and overall that’s what you look for at the Emirates Cup, a good 90 minutes to all of the players in the squad and to develop our quality going forward. I think today we did that very well.
on Sead Kolasinac…
I think he has gone, in pre-season, from strength to strength. He started a bit nervous, but every single week he moved his level up and in the last game was already good and today again I think he was influential as well. The first two goals came from him. He looks powerful and the timing of his availability going forward was very good.
on Reiss Nelson
He’s a young player of our academy and he had an encouraging pre-season and he has shown that he can dribble, he can pass people, he is not fazed by the occasion and he looks confident. Of course it’s good for him, the confidence level that he can play in these kind of games.
on whether Walcott and Giroud are playing for their futures at Arsenal…
No, it is a great performance from them.
on what was said between him and the pitch-invading supporter…
I don’t know, honestly. I saw that the stewards caught him in a bit of a strong way and I just said calm down, he looked like he wanted to talk to me. I tried to find out what he wanted to tell me.
on what he thinks of the Africa Cup of Nations becoming a summer tournament…
Well, I demanded that for a long, long time because I’m convinced that it was a handicap for some players who are not chosen. If you have too many Africans in the same team, in January that is most of the time a vital period for the club, so they lose half of the team and so they don’t survive. I believe it was a good decision and we’ve waited in Europe for that for a long, long time, but it was tradition in Africa to keep it in January most of the time and I didn’t know the real reason behind that but I think it’s great for us.