It was a tale of two halves as Arsenal began their defence of the prestigious Emirates Cup.
Opponents Boca Juniors proved troublesome at times, testing Arsenal’s offside trap and high line, while the home team looked lively, especially through new boy Gervinho.
And it was the Ivorian who caused the most problems, a darting run setting up Robin van Persie for a right footed effort which went wide. Later, Arsenal broke down the right hand side, Gervinho delayed his pass and this time van Persie finished with his right from close range.
Early in the second half Arsenal went 2-0 up. Carlos Vela’s run was halted on the edge of the box and Aaron Ramsey followed up to smash it home.
The game was played at pre-season pace and the Gunners were heading for the win before Sebastian Squillaci and Johan Djourou reminded Arsene Wenger why a centre-half ought to be top of his shopping list.
Firstly, the Frenchman gave the ball away in midfield, Riquelme drove on, played it to some bloke and some bloke smashed it past second half keeper Vito Mannone. Then, Djourou should have cleared a ball inside the area, but instead sort of waved his foot at the ball whilst falling over, allowing some other bloke to slide it home for the equaliser.
The defensive failings won’t come as any surprise to Arsenal fans but on a positive note we defended set-pieces pretty well. That is to say we didn’t concede from one, the first time that has happened since the beginning on the 1978 season.
Other positives included Gervinho, an assured performance from Emmanuel Frimpong, and another promising pre-season display from new boy Carl Jenkinson.
Tomorrow the Gunners take on Thierry Henry’s New York Red Bulls in the final game of the tournament.