By Max Jones at London Colney
Arsenal XI 4-0 BrentfordWilshere (7), Crowley (19), Iwobi (21, 37)
SUMMARYFour first-team players continued their rehabilitation from injury by helping an Arsenal XI beat Brentford 4-0 on Tuesday.Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Mathieu Debuchy and Abou Diaby started alongside Mathieu Flamini and several members of Steve Gatting’s under-21 squad, including January signing Krystian Bielik.Wilshere gave the Gunners an early lead with a delicate finish before setting up Daniel Crowley for a second. Alex Iwobi then struck twice at the end of the first half to give Arsenal a comfortable lead going into the break. Arteta, Wilshere and Diaby were withdrawn at half-time as planned, while Debuchy and Flamini played an hour on a valuable afternoon at London Colney.
FIRST HALFThe friendly was a first chance for Arsene Wenger’s men to regain match fitness after spells on the sidelines, and they started strongly.Flamini latched on to Diaby’s lay-off and powered a deflected strike towards goal. Jack Bonham could only parry it as far as Wilshere who shifted the ball on to his left foot and curled into the top corner.Wilshere then played a part in Arsenal’s second, too. The midfielder played a quick one-two on the edge of the box with Crowley and the teenager fired under Bonham to double the hosts’ advantage. The Gunners looked dominant and added two more before half-time. Iwobi tricked his way into the box and found the far corner with a low strike, before racing on to Diaby’s clever pass to score again 16 minutes later.
SECOND HALFAs planned, Arteta, Wilshere and Diaby were withdrawn at half-time with a valuable 45 minutes under their belts and a younger XI entered the fray to build on Arsenal’s lead.Chris Willock led the charge, bursting into the box and combining with Stephy Mavididi before being scythed down by Alan McCormack. The forward had a chance to add a fifth from the spot but Bonham got down well to save.The goalkeeper then pushed away Mavididi’s long-range drive before Austin Lipman twisted inside the box and rattled a curling strike off the far post.Brentford almost pulled one back in the final minutes when Jermaine Udumaga created a yard of space on the edge of the box, but Matt Macey reacted well to tip the forward’s powerful drive past the post.
TEAMSArsenal: Macey, Debuchy (Maitland-Niles, 60), Bielik (Sheaf, 66), O’Connor, Ormonde-Ottewill (Bola, 46), Flamini (Eyoma, 66), Arteta (Zelalem, 46), Diaby (Willock, 46), Wilshere (Mavididi, 46), Crowley (Dobson, 46), Iwobi (Lipman, 68) Booked: O’Connor (26)Brentford: Bonham, McCormack, Craig (Milengi, 57), O’Shaugnessey, Greene (Field, 50), Lorient (Bohwuie, 46), Ferry (Westbrook, 57), Clarke, Senior, Rodriguez (Kamanzi 60), Udumaga
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