Arsenal concluded their pre-season ahead of the 2017/18 Premier League season by losing 2-1 against Sevilla, but also lifted the Emirates Cup in the process. The fixture between the two sides saw summer signing Alexandre Lacazette make his first official start for the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsene Wenger maintained his faith in Mohamed Elneny as a defender by selecting him in the middle of the back three, whilst Academy prospect Joe Willock was awarded another opportunity to shine in the starting lineup.
The home team kicked off the fixture in positive fashion, maintaining an attacking style of play and having their first chance at goal after just five minutes. German playmaker Mesut Ozil whipped in a brilliant corner that was subsequently met by the head of Laurent Koscielny. However, the defender didn’t get enough power to the ball, with goalkeeper David Soria making an easy save.
All eyes were clearly on Arsenal’s frontman in the first half, expecting the Frenchman to score his first goal on home soil. After fifteen minutes, the striker was in a decent opportunity to score, but instead opted to lay the ball off to Bellerin on the flank, but a lack of communication between the pair ended the attack.
Soon after, the opposition had the best chance of the half to take the lead as midfielder Ever Banega slotted an excellent ball through the heart of the Gunner’s defence towards forward Wissam Ben Yedder. However, the Frenchman failed to take the lead, with his effort hitting the post. The half ended 0-0, with Sevilla clearly the better of the two teams.
Going into the second half, this maintained as Joaquin Correa opened the scoring of the game just minutes into the second half thanks to an assist from Ben Yedder. Arsenal replaced Spaniard Hector Bellerin for prospect Cohen Bramall at the start of the half. For much of the game, the visitors were the better team, having far more control of the ball and keeping some of the Gunner’s key players quiet.
Later into the game, Granit Xhaka was brought on for Joe Willock in a bid to strengthen the side’s midfield, an area they were being dominated in. The substitution proved to work, as just minutes later the North London side began to take more possession of the game, and soon scored.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ran down the right flank before playing the ball into Danny Welbeck, following a miskick by the Englishman, the ball was tucked home by Lacazette to draw the game level.
For the remainder of the fixture, the game balanced out with neither side taking full control of the match. Arsenal’s defence once again fluctuated as Steven N’Zonzi scored what was probably the goal of the tournament. Approximately twenty yards between the ball and the goal, the midfielder placed a great shot into the top corner of the net. Great goal aside it was hard to watch the ex Blackburn and Stoke man without thinking he is exactly the tppe of midfield dominator Arsenal need.
Despite winning both of their games, Sevilla were unable to win the pre-season tournament as Arsenal scored more goals than them during the weekend. As for the team in red, they have the Community Shield to look forward to next Sunday before the new season kicks off the following week.
Starting Arsenal Player Ratings:
Petr Cech 5; Laurent Koscielny 4.5, Mohamad Elneny 5, Nacho Monreal 4.5; Hector Bellerin 3.5, Joe Willock 4, Aaron Ramsey 5, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 6.5; Mesut Ozil 4.5, Danny Welbeck 4, Alexandre Lacazette 5