Result: Arsenal 2-0 Lazio
Competition: Pre-season friendly
Date: 4th August 2018, Saturday
Venue: Friends Arena, Stockholm
Arsenal head into the final stretch of pre-season with a win as they end the match 2-0. The Gunners went ahead through a Reiss Nelson goal on the 17th minute while Aubameyang ended it off with a goal in the second half.
Starting XI: Leno, Lichtsteiner, Chambers, Holding, Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Torreira, Nelson, Iwobi, Lacazette, Nketiah
Subs: Bellerin, Sokratis, Mustafi, Mavrapanos, Elneny, Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Guendouzi, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang
1′ – WORLD CUP CONTINGENT STARTS
We have a start for our players returning from the World Cup including Torreira, Lichtsteiner and Xhaka. Xhaka captains the side but no Nacho though – not even on the bench. We could use a little bit of Nacho today with Kolasinac out but it’ll be nice to see Maitland-Niles get a start.
2′ – OLD SCHOOL 4-4-2
Seems like it’s a throwback to a classic 2 man forward line with Nketiah and Lacazette leading from the front.
5′ – HIGH PRESSING
Arsenal players press high up from the front with the defenders situated across the half way line.
8′ – NKETIAH SHOOTS JUST WIDE
Nketiah spins past the Lazio defence and strikes just wide from the inside left area. Good attempt by the lively youngster.
11′ – SPLITTING DEFENCE
Full backs seem to be moving quite high up with Chambers and Holding splitting and Torreira dropping back to make up a back 3. The 2 English defenders look to connect very well with each other.
13′ – OOOHHH SO CLOSE
Lichtsteiner chips the ball for Lacazette who darts into the box and has his volley saved. Good vision from the Swiss defender and even better movement from the Frenchman.
15′ – LAZIO COMES CLOSE TO A GOAL
Lazio hit Arsenal on the counter attack with a cut back for Caicedo who should have done better. That came out of nowhere and we could have gone 1 goal down against the run of play.
17′ – ⚽ GOAL ARSENAL 1 – 0!
Nelson lays off the ball to Iwobi who shoots from the left but the ball hits the post. Nelson showed great movement to ghost into the box and wait for the rebound on the far post for a tap in.
21′ – LAZIO HEADER IN THE BOX
Lazio lofts in a teasing cross from the right hand side but the Arsenal defenders do just enough to put off the striker who managed to get a head on the ball.
25′ – LAZIO CHANCE
Xhaka loses the ball close to the penalty box with a Lazio player bearing on goal. Good cover by Holding to win the ball back before it was too late.
29′ – XHAKA BOOM! ALMOST.
Great layoff for Xhaka to strike from outside the box. Ball goes just over the cross bar. Decent attempt on goal from today’s captain.
30′ – OFF THE BAR!
Holding loses the ball outside the box. Lazio almost punish the Gunners with a cheeky chip over Leno who was off his line but it hits the bar. Lively match so far.
32′ – NARROW FULL BACKS
Without the ball, we’re seeing the full backs tuck in. Wingers have been asked to drop back and cover space on the flank.
33′ – LAZIO SCUFFS A HALF CHANCE
Murgia, with his back to goal, swivels to volley a shot but his attempt was tame and saved.
34′ – LAZIO CHANCE
Lazio’s header whistles just past the post. Maitland-Niles doesn’t track his runner and Holding was caught almost flat footed as the Lazio man charges in for a header.
36′ – GOTTA STOP THOSE CROSSES, GUYS
Lazio are getting a lot of crosses from deep with our full backs going narrow when defending. Lazio’s forward gets onto one of these crosses and should have scored but flashes it across for his teammate instead of going for goal.
44′ – IWOBI SCRAPPY SHOT
The Nigerian should have done better with a shot from outside the box after he hassled the Lazio defence to win it back.
HALF-TIME: ARSENAL 1 – 0 LAZIO
It’s been a lively first half for Arsenal who have adopted a 4-4-2 formation and went in front through a Reiss Nelson tap in. The front 2 have not been as involved in the game as much as they’d like but we see some good partnerships on field. Maitland-Niles and Iwobi seem to have a good connection with overlaps on the left and the midfield 2 of Xhaka and Torreira look solid.
46′ – SUBSTITUTIONS
Off: Nelson, Nketiah
On: Aubameyang, Guendouzi
We play a 4-3-3 formation with Aubameyang on the left and Iwobi far right.
47′ – LAZIO HITS THE SIDE NETTING
Lazio crosses low from the left and shoots just wide from player ghosting into the box. Still haven’t closed out those flanks.
52′ – NO PENALTY?
Lacazette tangles with the defender and the Lazio man had his hands on the striker who fell in the box. Ref doesn’t think it’s a foul.
56′ – DON’T MESS WITH THE LICH
There’s been a bit of tasty battle between Lazio’s left winger, Lulic, with the Arsenal defenders. Lichtsteiner has none of that and makes sure he knows of it with his tackles. It’ll be fascinating to see his no nonsense approach next season.
57′ – ARSENAL COUNTER
The Gunners go on the break with Auba, Lacazette and Iwobi charging in. Lacazette’s finish was blocked but the team looks to be asserting themselves well.
61′ – SUBSTITUTIONS
Off: Iwobi, Lichtsteiner, Torreira, Xhaka
On: Ozil, Bellerin, Mhkitaryan, Elneny
It’s back to the 4-2-3-1, Ozil takes the armband and we get a shaggy haired double pivot in midfield.
63′ – ⚽ GOAL AUBAMEYANG! 2-0
Elneny bundles his way through into the penalty box before losing it to Lacazette. Laca lays it off to Aubameyang who finished it calmly into the bottom corner.
64′ – GUENDOUZI SHOT SAVED
The youngster dances in from the right and has his shot saved by the keeper from a tight angle.
67′ – LENO MAKES FIRST GENUINE SAVE
Luis Alberto shoots from the inside left and tries to curl it around Leno to the far post. Leno saves it comfortably.
69′ – MAITLAND-NILES DOWN
Arsenal fans were left gasping in fear as Maitland-Niles stayed down after a tackle. He looks to be fine after a short break. And… breathe.
73′ – PLAYING OUT FROM THE BACK
The Arsenal defence have been insistent on playing out from the back even under pressure. The DMs have been working hard to make sure there are passing angles for the backline to pass out from. Expect a lot of heart-in-mouth moments in the upcoming season while the team fine tunes their approach to this.
76′ – YELLOW CARD HOLDING
Holding gets a yellow for a late tackle.
76′ – SUBSTITUTION
Off: Holding, Chambers, Lacazette
On: Mavropanos, Sokratis, Smith Rowe
A new defensive pairing and Aubameyang goes up top.
79′ – AUBA ROCKET SAVED
Aubameyang’s shot from distance is saved by the Lazio keeper and Mhkitaryan’s follow up was saved from a tight angle. More of the same please, Pierre!
81′ – WHERE WAS SOKRATIS?
The backline was breached but Mavropanos covers well. Where was our big new CB signing? Hopefully we won’t be asking that question often during the season.
83′ – LONG SHOT BY ELNENY
Good attempt by the Egyptian but it goes straight to the keeper.
86′ – LAZIO CHANCE
Lovely ball down the exposed left flank as Lazio pull the ball back only for the striker to be inches away from contact. Another let off this evening.
FULL-TIME: ARSENAL 2 – 0 LAZIO
A decent win for Arsenal as they tried a series of formations, surprising us with a 4-4-2 in the first half. We looked solid but unspectacular and there will still be nagging feelings about that defence as we were breached often by the Lazio forwards. The Manchester City attackers may not be so generous with the chances allowed so let’s hope Emery figure out how best to defend and settle on a preferred pairing.