Arsenal rounded off their pre-season campaign with a 1-1 draw against Monaco yesterday.

Monaco took the lead at the Emirates Stadium, before Eddie Nketiah restored parity just before half time. Mikel Arteta made plenty of changes throughout the second half, but despite chances for both sides no one could find a winner.

The Emirates Cup was settled with a penalty shoot-out. The Gunners were unerring from the spot, whilst Aaron Ramsdale pulled off a smart save to help his side on to victory.

Arsenal showed flashes of real quality in attack, but looked unconvincing at the back. There was plenty in this game for Arteta to mull over.

Why Pele Is Overrated.

As we have for Arsenal’s previous pre-season friendlies, Arsenal Insider have collated three key takeaways from the match with Monaco.

Arsenal FC v AS Monaco  - Pre-Season Friendly
Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Eddie Nketiah settles Balogun debate

There has been plenty of discussion about whether Folarin Balogun should overtake Nketiah in the pecking order. The decision seems to have been made to move Balogun on, and Nketiah rewarded Arteta’s show of faith with a sharp performance against Monaco.

The 24-year-old’s all round game has improved hugely over the course of the last year. The striker dropped deep, linked play, and took his opponents on last night. Nketiah looked confident, and earned his goal with some clever movement in the box.

With Gabriel Jesus set for a spell on the sidelines, Nketiah needs to carry his energy from yesterday’s game into the new Premier League season.

Arsenal v FC Barcelona - Pre-Season Friendly
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Bukayo Saka’s role under threat

Saka is Arsenal’s default penalty taker, but wasn’t on the pitch for the shoot-out with Monaco. However, he has missed the last two he has taken, including a vital one against West Ham last season. If Saka has lost confidence as a penalty taker, then that is a major cause for concern.

In Jorginho, Arsenal have a penalty taker with a brilliant record from the spot. He dispatched his effort in the shoot-out into the top corner masterfully. As did fellow former Chelsea man Kai Havertz. Either one could be a strong option to take over from Saka permanently. 

The England man would probably benefit from having that burden relieved from him, at least for a while, given how much responsibility he carries in the team without penalties taken into account.

Arsenal FC v AS Monaco  - Pre-Season Friendly
Photo by Jacques Feeney/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Back-up duo knocking on the door

Both Jakub Kiwior and Fabio Vieira were firmly cast as back up options last season. Both started against Monaco and showed their quality in possession. Kiwior, especially, could be imposing himself more and more in Arteta’s plans. 

Gabriel Magalhaes has looked shaky in pre-season. As a left-footed centre-back with a great range of passing, Kiwior is the natural replacement for the Brazilian in the starting XI.

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