Arsenal sailed to a 5-1 victory over a youthful Paris Saint-Germain in the International Champions Cup in Singapore on Saturday.

Mesut Ozil – who was identified as the captain on his debut match under Unai Emery secured the opening goal before Alexandre Lacazette netted twice. Rob Holding and Eddie Nketiah also managed to score for Arsenal against PSG

Ozil back to his best?

It’s been a chaotic summer for Ozil as Germany made a disappointing exit from the World Cup in of the group stage and then he announced his retirement from international football due to several claims of racism by the German FA. However, after saying in the week that he wanted to make him feel “at home”, Emery made it clear that Ozil has his full backing by making him captain against PSG. Ozil played an amazing match bagging a goal in the 13th minute. 

In the post-match interview, Head Coach Unai Emery mentioned Ozil’s versatility in attack and how the team is essentially built around him.

Emery said: “We want to give him and our players the best position they feel most comfortable in on the pitch. When we do have the ball, we can press with the striker and a No 10 almost like a 4-4-2 in a press. But It depends because Mesut can also play on the right and go inside, driving in to open up space for the right back.

“We want to find a space for him and the other players where they can use their qualities through good positioning.”

Ozil has been criticised in the past for ignoring defensive duties, but in a 4-2-3-1 he played in a more forward role and was often getting the ball in and around the box rather than in midfield.

Guendouzi is a star

It is only pre-season, and this was a comparatively weak opponent, but France U20 international Matteo Guendouzi caught the eye with his performance. Playing beside Mohamed Elneny in midfield, the 19-year-old dropped deep, broke up play, looked secured in possession and showed a good range of passing. One pass, in particular, stood out when he pinged the ball over the top of the defence to set up a scoring opportunity for Aubameyang

If Guendouzi proceeds to dazzle then Arsenal will have an abundance of competition for places in midfield. Aaron Ramsey, whois starting the final year of his contract, is anticipated to be a consistent starter alongside new signing Lucas Torreira and more competition in Elneny, Granit Xhaka, Maitland-Niles on the race for just two positions.

The Young Guns fire

 

While most of PSG’s young players strived to make an impression in the absence of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Edinson Cavani, that was not the problem with Arsenal. Often pre-season games can drift away when teams make a raft of changes in the second half, but Arsenal’s level appeared to develop in the final 25 minutes.

Emile Smith Rowe, who just turned 18, added an assist to his goal versus Atletico Madrid, Reiss Nelson was refused by a good save and Eddie Nketiah secured late on with a crisp low finish.

Emery said: “The young players gave us the pressing back.”

It will be exciting to see how many of the young players get opportunities under Emery this season, having only really played in cup tournaments under Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal have an International Champions Cup fixture against Premier League competitors Chelsea in Dublin on 1st August. The Gunners then face Lazio in Stockholm on 4th August before their season-opener against Manchester City on 12th August.

Whereas PSG faces Atletico Madrid in the ICC on 30th July and then start their Ligue 1 season on 12th August versus Caen.

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