After the opening of the Emirates Cup on Saturday, Sunday was set up well for a finale between day 1 winners Arsenal and Sevilla. First up though were Benfica and Leipzig who started the day in 3rd and 4th place respectively, Benfica on 2 points having scored twice despite losing and Leipzig rock bottom without getting any points on the board.
As you’d expect the clubs fielded heavily rotated teams for the game but one player who kept his place in the Benfica team was Franco Cervi. Having scored yesterday the Argentine continued to impress early on, causing a few problems for the Leipzig defence with his dribbling and tricky footwork.
It’d be Leipzig to open the scoring after 20 minutes though. Breaking through the lines down the left wing was Marcel Halstenberg who played a one-two with Federico Palacios to get into the box before smashing the ball home first time with his left foot to make it 1-0.
Shortly after the break Leipzig finally got their second. It was another defender who got on the scoresheet as Compper looped a header across the face of the goal and off the crossbar after meeting Kaiser‘s free kick.
Midway through the second half the Emirates finally got a view of Chris Willock as he took his position to the left of midfield.
Moments later Benfica thought they had their first goal of the game but it was ruled out for offside. After a long range effort wasn’t dealt with properly with by the Leipzig goalkeeper Mvolo, Konstantinos Mitroglou tapped in the rebound but was at least a yard offside when Jonas struck the initial shot.
As the match came to a close Willock showed us what we could be missing. After a short corner, he beat his defender nicely before wedging in an inch perfect cross with his left foot. Unfortunately, Lopez’s resulting header could only hit the post.
16:20 signalled the start of the final Emirates Cup and here’s team Arsene Wenger fielded for the game. Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny, Mohamed Elneny, Nacho Monreal, Hector Bellerin, Joe Willock, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck and Alexandre Lacazette.
Despite probably going into this games as favourites it wouldn’t be Arsenal to have the first sight of goal. 15 minutes in Ever Banega cut our defence apart with a perfectly weighted pass which put Ben Yedder one on one with Cech but the Frenchman’s effort bounced off the post and away to safety.
Arsenal would then see the benefits of all their possession with a chance of their own. Playing as a left wing back the Ox traded passes with Lacazette to get into the final third, he then put in a great cross deep into the box but unfortunately for Arsenal, it was Bellerin at the end of it who pumped the ball into the crowd.
Next up to try their luck was Danny Welbeck. Some quick link up play with Lacazette set him free past the high defensive line of Sevilla. As our number 23 made his way he was pressured into his shot by Daniel Carrico as he fired his shot wide.
Welbeck was definitely in the mood today as he set off down the right 37 minutes in. After breaking into the final third he saw Lacazette free in the box but unfortunately, his cross was stopped by a last gasp interception, if not for that it, without a doubt, would’ve been 1-0 to Arsenal.
Just before half time, Arsenal’s defence was cut open yet again. A defence splitting pass put Nolito through on goal with Ben Yedder in support. However, rather than put the ball in Ben Yedder’s pass for an easy goal he took too long on the ball and Koscielny managed to get back in time to get rid of the ball.
Half time would see Cohen Bramall replace Hector Bellerin after the Spaniard had a less than impressive first half. As you’d expect Bramall took the left wing back slot and the Ox went over to the right wing.
Minutes after stepping back onto the pitch and Arsenal were 1-0 down. After dummying a pass Correa left Elneny in no-man’s-land before collecting the next pass with only Cech to beat, he smartly put the ball to one side of Cech and the bottom of the net as our defence wrongly protested for offside.
Just before the hour mark, we had our next chance. Ozil, as you’d expect, found the perfect pass into Ramsey’s feet on the edge of the box, with his first touch Ramsey set the ball to Lacazette whose shot called the Sevilla goalkeeper Rico into action who was able to keep the ball.
The hour mark would see the end of Joe Willock’s outing as he made way for Granit Xhaka.
It wouldn’t be long until his first Emirates goal though. After the Ox showed just why he should be starting at right wing back by driving past his opposite number he drilled a low cross into the box. The first player to swing at it was Welbeck who didn’t connect properly but instead put the ball into the path of Lacazette who made no mistakes and tucked the ball home.
Unfortunately, we weren’t level for long. A goal out of nothing came after 69 minutes as a pass across the edge of our box was bent into the top corner by Steven N’Zonzi to shock the stadium with his left foot. The shot even rooted Petr Cech to the spot who could only watch as the ball rippled the net.
10 minutes later and it was time for some more changes. Changing to four at the back Theo Walcott would replace our extra defender in Elneny as Alex Iwobi took the place of a limping Lacazette, hopefully, he isn’t too badly hurt for next week. Unfortunately, even with the reinforcements, we couldn’t get another equaliser, but that wouldn’t stop us from getting our hands on the cup.
Yes, it would’ve been much better to get a win in preparation for the Community Shield next week but we did score the most goals over the weekend. With that in mind, having scored six goals that’s what won us the Emirates Cup as we were equal on points with Sevilla on 9 points. In 3rd place this year were Leipzig on 5 points and Benfica finished rock bottom without a win to their name.
Hopefully, you enjoyed this weekend’s football, let’s just hope we’re a bit happier come next Sunday after the Chelsea game.