Arsenal 2 – 0 Lazio: Gunners comfortably sail past Italian side

Arsenal 2 - 0 Lazio: Gunners comfortably sail past Italian side

Arsenal completed their final pre-season match with a convincing 2-0 victory over Serie A side Lazio at the Friends Arena in Stockholm.

Reiss Nelson and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got on the scoresheet as Arsenal ended their pre-season preparations with a win against Lazio in Sweden.

The Gunners delivered debuts to summer signings Lucas Torreira and Stephan Lichtsteiner who recently returned after their world cup venture. There was plenty of enthusiasm surrounding Torreira’s appearance but it was his fellow debutant Lichtsteiner, who almost produced the opening goal for Alexandre Lacazette, but the Frenchman’s first-time volley was blocked out by Silvio Proto at his near post. Overall, the Swiss right-back looked stable on his first appearance for the club and so did Lucas Torreira.

At the other end, the Gunners were almost caught when Felipe Caicedo‘s shot flew wide of the near post but minutes later they were in front as Nelson maintained his excellent pre-season form. Alex Iwobi‘s shot bounced off the foot of the post direct to the 18-year-old, who hit into a vacant net from close range in the 18th minute.  Calum Chambers deserves an important mention too. It was his confident run out of defence and accurate pass to Nelson that allowed the eventual goalscorer to find Iwobi in place on the left. He cut the deadlock with a close-range goal after Alex Iwobi’s shot had ricocheted off the far post.

Arsenal made few substitutions at the break as Aubameyang and Matteo Guendouzi replaced Nelson and Eddie Nketiah before Torreira, Lichtsteiner, Granit Xhaka and Alex Iwobi gave way for Hector Bellerin, Mohamed Elneny, Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

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Aubameyang secured his goal in the 64th minute after a cool lay-off by Lacazette. Mohamed Elneny had made his way into the box under harsh pressure and found Alex Lacazette. The striker was conscious enough to place the ball off for Aubameyang and his shot found the bottom corner through a deflection.

The competition lost its rhythm as both teams proceeded to make substitutions but Arsenal had a couple of late opportunities, Proto saving out Aubameyang’s long-range shot out before preventing Mkhitaryan’s effort on the rebound.

Arsenal get their Premier League campaign underway with a clash against the titleholders Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Arsenal 8-0 Boreham Wood: The Unai Emery era begins with a bang

Arsenal 8-0 Boreham Wood

Arsenal thrashed Boreham Wood 8-0 in their first game under new manager Unai Emery. There was clear excitement and intrigue among the fans as their new manager took charge of his first game, and he couldn’t have asked for a better introduction. Even though it was just a pre-season friendly against a side which is of much lower calibre than Arsenal, the playing style is what got the fans going.

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Aubameyang scored a hat-trick inside the opening 17 minutes (7, 9, 17) before further goals from Reiss Nelson (35) and Alexandre Lacazette (39) gave the Gunners an ample half-time advantage. 11 changes were made in half-time which saw 11 new players come on to the pitch to impress.  Eddie Nketiah struck a sixth after the restart (53) and further goals from Jeff Reine-Adelaide (71) and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (79) completed a confidence-boosting victory on Emery’s debut.

The first game for Arsenal this season unveiled a lot of qualities the fans were waiting to learn. Below are the 3 main takeaways from the game.

The Key Players seem ready

Even though this was a match against a much weaker side than Arsenal, it was an important one. One of the most significant findings is that the star players for Arsenal seem to be clicking.

A 17-minute hat-trick is a fabulous way to impress a new manager. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be quite pleased with his performance in the new system. His goalscoring ability was on full display and more importantly, his exchange with fellow striker Alexandre Lacazette was extremely effective. The forwards were excellent in their pass-and-move play with one another, they made runs that complimented the positions of the other and created a plethora of chances. The attacking pair showed tremendous promise.

Aaron Ramsey and Henrik Mkhitaryan came on in the second-half and displayed a sense of composure and tranquillity in a match that had already been won. They played numerous forward passes and linked up with the attackers wonderfully.

Papa fits right in

Sokratis started his first game in the Arsenal colors and he was as solid as he needed to be. At times, the Greek international was casual, but the majority of the half, he was a leader at the back and that is exactly what the Gunners lacked last season. The 30-year old was physically intimidating and a firm presence at the back whilst providing decent passes to the midfield. It was clear that Papastathopolous had fit right into Emery’s system and seemed destined to be a regular for the team.

The Future is bright

One of the most important roles of pre-season friendly is as a platform for the youth. And that is exactly what this match was for the young Gunners.

Eddie Nketiah knows how to score goals. After prospering in youth football last season, and further saving the first team in the EFL Cup against Norwich City, the 19-year-old is now prepared to stake a claim as a reliable back-up for Lacazette and Aubameyang in the first team. The English youngster executed a graceful, instinctive flick past the goalkeeper, using the momentum of a low cross to his advantage, simply directing the ball into the back of the net. Despite there being concerns about his consistency, his rawness, and his physicality, the natural ability to score goals is presen., and that is something that cannot be taught.

Emile Smith-Rowe is one of the brightest youngsters at Arsenal’s disposal right now. What was instantly remarkable was the quality and awareness of his touches. He flaunts excellent spatial intellect, often knowing exactly what he is going to do with the ball before he even receives it. Rowe also has excellent vision in the final third, and his decision making was remarkable. He was difficult to tackle, beat players with consistency, and commanded attention, which consequently created space for those around him. The 17-year-old was particularly industrious as he fulfilled the midfield role with vigor and flair.

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Reiss Nelson was as impressive as the fans expected him to be. The 18-year-old, who had already garnered plenty of attention due to his excellent performances for the U-23 team and some appearances for the first team last season, put his name on the scoresheet with a brilliant volley before half-time.

Jeff Reine-Adelaide was another player who caught the eye with a wonderful goal from outside the box. The 20-year-old returned to the club after a loan spell with Angers in Ligue 1. Jordi Osei-Tutu, 19, also had a decent game while Konstantinos Mavropanos20, was solid at the back with his fellow Greek teammate Sokratis.