Friendly Report: Arsenal 1 - 1 Chelsea (Arsenal win 6-5 on penalties)

Thu, Aug 02 2018

New Arsenal signing Matteo Guendouzi celebrates with goalkeeper Petr Cech after their shoot-out victory. Credit: Michael P Ryan (ETPhotos)

Dylan O'Connell reports from the Aviva Stadium

The temporary bragging rights go to North London as Arsenal saw off Chelsea 6-5 on penalties in a competitive International Champions Cup encounter at the Aviva Stadium.

An equalizer at the death from Alexander Lacazette cancelled out Antonio Rudiger’s fifth-minute strike as the meeting of age-old rivals finished 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes.

Alex Iwobi slotted away the winning penalty in sudden death after Ruben Loftus-Cheek had become the first to miss in the shoot-out, Alvaro Morata having missed from the spot in normal.

In an entertaining friendly, both sides looked refreshed with new faces garnering their first tastes of English football and the infamous derby.

For Unai Emery it was a case of further testing the waters at the Gunners following an 8-0 rout of non league side Boreham Wood followed by a stern 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid.

Arsenal picked up considerably with an emphatic 5-1 rout of Emery’s old side PSG in their last pre-season test before heading into the tie.

In a contrasting waters, Chelsea continue to remodel and reshape following the shock sacking of Antonio Conte in July and the arrival of Mauirzio Sarri from Napoli.

Sarri, into his third week into the job, has endured a mixed pre-season, including a 1-0 win over Perth Glory and a 1-1 draw against Inter Milan last week.

Despite these mixed starts, it was the Blues who stared the brightest at the Aviva Stadium and with only five minutes played they were ahead.

An inch-perfect corner from Cesc Fàbregas was met by Rüdiger, who only had to flick his head to send the ball past Petr ?ech’s to give his side the perfect start.

Chelsea where handed a golden opportunity to double their lead seconds later, as Pedro released Fàbregas, who flicked on for Morata at the face of goal.

However the Spanish international was flat-footed and left fumbling for control as the ball drifted wide.

Arsenal’s patience to press and push was left frustrated when Hector Bellerin brought down Callum Hudson-Odoi in the area, forcing referee Paul McLaughlin to point to the spot.

Up stepped Morata for chance at redemption, but ?ech, once so treasured in blue, dived right and low to deny his former club and keep it 1-0.

Arsenal grew through a fluid three-pronged attacked reminiscent of the one Emery employed during his time at PSG.

Using a dynamic system built around the interchangeability of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with Mesut Ozil filling where needs be, the Gunners grew with the evolving partnership.

Their relationship almost proved fruitful as the half wore on, with Ozil twisting to allow Mkhitaryan to square it for Aubameyang but, in the momentary silence at Lansdowne, the striker turned the ball wide, to the dismay of his team mates.

As Arsenal grew into the game, Chelsea were congested into their 30-yard line with Ozil seamlessly running the show.

Passing, creating and controlling, Ozil’s ability was almost rewarded as Emile Smith-Rowe linked up with the German international to set him clean through on goal.

Sensing an opening, Ozil curled in to cause a stretching save from goalkeeper Willy Caballero.

With half time looming, Chelsea where handed a golden opportunity to double their lead as a chip through ball from Fàbregas released Hudson-Odi one on one against ?ech in goal.

The 2017 under-17 World Cup winner, brimming with confidence, went for the spectacular with a chipped effort seemingly falling towards an empty net, only for Shkodran Mustafi to clear heroically.

Arsenal pushed on to the final whistle with Aubameyang gifted an opportunity once more as Bellerin crossed deeply into the area for the striker, but a mis-hit effort allowed the Chelsea line a sighed of relief.

From the kick out, Arsenal were handed one final chance to make it 1-1 as Mkhitaryan burst forward to find the most minimal of spaces to shoot from distance, but Aubameyang’s couldn't dodge theball and deflected it wide for a goal kick.

Chelsea took the opportunity to freshen at the break with the introduction of Andreas Christensen and Danny Drinkwater.

Now on the back foot, Sarri’s side adapted to the resurgent Arsenal pressure with a 4-5-1 formation and choke Arsenal of openings.

Frustrating the Gunners, the once pressing game gave way to tiki-taka-like football, as Arsenal were confined to the edges of the penalty area.

With the box lined, Arsenal where eventually pushed out wide to try and create something, but the defensive awareness so associated and honed at Stamford Bridge left Aubameyang isolated in the box.

From the pressure of Arsenal came the release from Chelsea as the Blues broke. Hudson-Odi's deflected shot allowed Drinkwater to put a corner in for Rüdiger.

This time the defender shot inches wide and was visibly stunned as he tracked back.

As both teams continued to make substitutions, the arrival of Alexander Lacazette was the one that twisted the tie on its head.

Within seconds of his arrival, Ozil parted the Chelsea line for Lacazette to release him on Caballero in goal, and the French striker flicking over the stretched and marooned keeper only to shoot millimeters of the gaping net.

Frustrated Arsenal pushed everything in for an equalizer. Substitute Callum Chambers burst down the right flank to cross in perfectly for Alex Iwobi, who shot, only for a clawing last ditched save from Marcin Bulka in goal to further deny the Gunners.

The resistance of Arsenal pushed to the death. Play after play, pocession built on the resulting pressure further pushing Chelsea back.

A crowd of 46,000-plus held their breaths, silencing the hallowed turf at the death, as Riess Nelson flicked across goal, away from the unseeing Christensen, for Lacazette to tap in as penalty kicks were needed to separate the sides.

Lucas Piazon and Ozil converted their sides' fifth penalties to force sudden death, where Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s low effort was perfect for ?ech to give his side the advantage.

Without hesitation,  Iwobi fired the deciding penalty into the top corner and Arsenal ran out deserved 6-5 winners in the penalty shoot out.

Arsenal: Petr ?ech, Hector Bellerin (Callum Chambers 77), Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Sead Kolasinac (Ainsley Maitland-Niles 69), Mohamad Elneny, Emile Smith Rowe (Alex Iwobi 62), Matteo Guendouzi, Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Reiss Nelson 71), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Alexander Lacazette 71), Mesut Ozil.

Subs not used: Bernd Leno (gk), Rob Holding, Konstantinos Mavropanos, Eddie Nketiah.

Chelsea: Willy Caballero (Marcin Bulka 77), César Azpilicueta (Davide Zappacosta 62), David Luiz (Danny Drinkwater 45), Antonio Rüdiger (Ethan Ampadu 62), Marcos Alonso (Emerson 62), Jorginho (Ruben Loftus Cheek 67), Cesc Fàbregas (Andreas Christensen 45), Ross Barkley (Tiemoue Bakayoko 77), Pedro (Victor Moses 62), Callum Hudson-Odoi (Lucas Piazon 84), Álvaro Morata (Tammy Abraham 62).

Subs not used: Rob Green (gk), Charly Musonda, Ethan Ampadu.

Referee: Paul McLaughlin.

Attendance: 46,002.

Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Mesut Ozil (Ozil).