By Richard Clarke
An Arsenal XI lost 1-0 at Peterborough United on Friday night in the club's opening pre-season friendly.
Francis Green grabbed the winning goal for the home side in the 29th minute but Arsène Wenger's second-half side, he fielded one in each period, looked like levelling late on.
There was a minor scare when, with four minutes remaining, keeper Stuart Taylor rushed out to clear his lines and collided with Posh striker Andy Clarke. Play was held up for several minutes before he was stretchered off to the far side of the ground with concussion. But thankfully he reappeared and was in good spirits after the game, signing autographs for youngsters as he walked down the tunnel.
Taylor had been replaced by Matteo Guardalben, a 29-year-old keeper who is on trial at Arsenal. The Italian, who has experience with Piacenza and Parma, had started the game in Wenger's first-half side.
The manager told Arsenal.com earlier this week that he is on the look out for a new goalkeeper. Since last season David Seaman and Guillaume Warmuz have left the club, leaving Wenger with three stoppers - Taylor, Graham Stack and Rami Shaaban ? on the books at the moment.
Guardalben took his place in front of a lively crowd of 8,756 on a mild summer's evening at London Road. Francis Jeffers tested Posh keeper Mark Tyler with a near-post header in the opening minutes. But the game failed to catch fire and the next sight of goal for either side came in the 20 minutes when Dave Farrell curled a free-kick just wide.
Nine minutes later, the home side went ahead when Green raced on to a long pass out of the Posh defence, slipped past Guardalben and rolled his shot into the empty goal despite the attentions of Martin Keown.
The pace of Jeffers and Jeremie Aliadiere worried the Posh backline just before the break but the visitors created nothing clear-cut.
Jeffers was the only Arsenal player who stayed on to start the second half. The wholesale changes included Philippe Senderos, making his Arsenal debut at centre back, and Gael Clichy, a 17-year-old on trial from AS Cannes, at left back.
John Halls sent a raking, long-range shot over the bar 10 minutes after the restart. Arsenal built on the chance and began to look the better side as the half wore on. Soon afterwards Stephen Bradley burst through only to see his toe-poke bounce off the legs of onrushing Tyler.
However, in response, Adam Newton raced down the right and crossed for Andrew Fotiadis, whose header ricocheted off Pascal Cygan and over the bar.
Taylor's injury halted the momentum the visitors had built up and they could not muster an equaliser before the referee blew for full-time.
Arsenal: Matteo Guardalben; Moritz Volz, Martin Keown, Sol Campbell, Ashley Probets; John Spicer, Sebastian Svard, Ray Parlour, Paulinho; Jeremie Aliadiere, Francis Jeffers.
Peterborough: Mark Tyler; Christopher Kanu, Sagi Burton, Simon Rea, Dennis Pearce; Matthew Gill, Tony Shields, Andre Boucard, Dave Farrell; Leon McKenzie, Francis Green.
Arsenal: Stuart Taylor (Matteo Guardalben 84) ; Lauren, Philippe Senderos, Pascal Cygan, Gael Clichy, Sebastian Larrson, John Halls, Edu, Stephen Bradley, Dean Shiels, Francis Jeffers (Frankie Simek 65).
Peterborough: Mark Tyler; Christopher Kanu, Simon Rea, Sagi Burton, Gareth Jellyman; Richard Scott, Adam Newton, Andre Boucard (Mark Coulson 84), Dave Farrell, Andy Clarke, Andy Fotiadis.