Report: Arsenal 2-2 Real Madrid inc goals (2-3 on penalties)


Arsenal: Martinez, Jenkinson, Chambers, Sokratis, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Willock, Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette

Arseblog reporting from FedEx Field, Maryland – Attendance: 52,826

Arsenal concluded their US tour with a 2-3 defeat on penalties by Real Madrid in Landover, Maryland, after the game finished 2-2 in regulation time.

Unai Emery deployed a back four, again started Joe Willock in midfield, and used his big guns up front. Carl Jenkinson was a late replacement for Ainsley Maitland-Niles who had originally been named in the team but pulled out due to a tight calf in the warm up.

Emi Martinez was the first keeper called into action, saving low at his near post, before Sokratis had to make a last ditch block from Jovic who had found space in the box.

Arsenal won a free kick on the edge of the box after Kolasinac was fouled by Nacho, the Madrid man picking up a yellow card in the process. Ozil tested Navas with a stinging drive but the keeper palmed the ball away from danger.

Willock won the ball high up the pitch and took a shot from outside the box, again Navas was relatively untroubled, but in the 8th minute Arsenal had a penalty. Before it could be taken, the referee showed a second yellow to Nacho for handball, reducing Madrid to 10 men. Lacazette stepped up to take it, the ball hit both posts, and went over the line before Navas could grab it. A quite mental sart to the game. 1-0.

Mkhitaryan fired over after Kolasinac set him up, and the Spaniards made a change bringing on Varane for Jovic to add a defender to the line-up following the sending off.

There were boos from the thousands of Madrid fans who thought they should have a penalty of their own, but the referee remained unmoved by Carvajal’s protestations after a Xhaka challenge.

Arsenal doubled the lead in the 24th minute when Aubameyang drove into the box following a clever flick from Lacazette, rounded Navas and drilled a shot which deflected into the roof of the net off Sergio Ramos. 2-0.

Carvajal picked up a yellow card for almost pulling Ozil’s shorts off, Mkhitaryan found space in behind but was flagged offside, while a low Jenkinson cross was held by Navas before Lacazette could get there.

A dangerous free kick from Modric caused some panic in the Arsenal box, clumsiness from Xhaka gave Kroos the chance to deliver into our area, and again Jenkinson’s delivery from the right required intervention from Navas.

Ozil set up Lacazette but the striker could only fire high and wide with his left foot, Sokratis picked up a 36th minute yellow card for a nothing foul, and almost immediately got booked again for another nothing incident and thus sent off. The referee was making sure we remembered his name. I have no idea what his name is, but the Greek international’s displeasure was obvious as he booted the ball away before trudging off the pitch.

Kroos saw a goalbound shot deflect wide off his own player as the first half drew to a close, Xhaka dropped in alongside Chambers at centre-half, and Benzema headed just wide at the back post as Madrid looked to get one back before the break but the woodwork denied them.

There was a half-time change for the Gunners, Nacho Monreal replacing Willock and slotting it at centre-half alongside Chambers, and there was an early injury scare when Xhaka was left in a heap following a crunching tackle which the referee ignored. After some lengthy treatment he got back to his feet as Arsenal defender a corner.

Asensio clattered a left footed shot off the post, and Martinez made a save from the rebound giving Madrid a corner which was eventually cleared. The La Liga outfit were very much in control and in the 56th minute they had a goal back. Marcelo played a ball into the box, Martinez looked like he had it under control, it squirmed away from him and Gareth Bale was there to poke home. 2-1.

Minutes later it was level. Asensio firing home at the near post after Marcelo was involved again and Mkhitaryan’s tracking was not sufficient, Martinez got a hand to it but couldn’t keep it out. 2-2.

The goalscorer then suffered what looked like a serious injury, going down in an innocuous looking challenge with Aubameyang, before being stretchered off. Bale almost put Madrid ahead, this time the Arsenal keeper was equal to the task, while at the other end a Jenkinson foray brought about a corner which saw Monreal put a header on target but the keeper made a routine save.

Kolasinac almost chested home an own goal, giving Madrid what felt like their 20th corner of the second half, then Emery made some changes. Lacazette, Aubameyang, Ozil and Mkhitaryan with Nketiah, Nelson, Saka and Burton on. Saka was immediately involved, with a shot deflecting out for a corner and from the set-piece a Chambers effort was cleared off the line by Bale.

The Welshman then curled an effort not far wide with the outside of his foot, Jenkinson almost created a chance for Saka, while Nelson’s low cross for his opposite winger was cleared away.

As the game headed towards the final whistle, Xhaka put a beautiful ball over the top for Nketiah who just had the keeper to beat, but his second touch was heavy and the ball was smothered. A minute later, Saka crossed, the striker got in front of his man but his header flashed wide of the far post.

Four minutes of injury time were announced, Xhaka had a right footed effort saved, but neither side could find a winner meaning the game was decided by a penalty shoot out.

Reiss Nelson: 1-0
Gareth Bale: MISS!
Granit Xhaka: MISS 🙁
Isco: 1-1
Bukayo Saka: 2-1
Rapael Varane: 2-2
Nacho Monreal: MISS 🙁
Vinicius: 2-3
Robbie Burton: Miss 🙁

Real Madrid win 3-2 on penalties. Arsenal head home to the UK to prepare for the Emirates Cup this weekend.

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This squad is very promising, some fitness issues still exist and our zip declined over time, but our performance wasn’t bad. The youngsters particularly looked solid and also excellent performance by Jenko
Something has to be done about our defence. Our last season woes at the back continue…


Deja vu


The main defensive weak links are Mustafi and Sokratis. Let’s face it, neither are up to scratch quality-wise, are they. Mustafi is one of the poorest central defenders in the EPL (but, interestingly, one of the highest paid). Sokratis is just far too undisciplined – witness his latest stupidity against Madrid. It’s very odd for a so-called “experienced” defender of his age. With the on-going saga with Koscielny, who must surely leave one way or another, our central defence is in tatters. The only piece of potential good news is the return of Holding in the not too distant future.… Read more »

My Cousin Vinai

Quite surprised at the number of downvotes you have over this comment.

Blonde Ozil!

I think Sokratis and Holding would form a good partnership.


Cahill, Mangala, Evans etc. All if them are champions. Sokratis is at least at the same level.


I thought mustafi didn’t play. Did he come in for someone?


It’s was crystal clear….and it has become more n more crystal clear that DEFENCE is our biggest problem.
Happy for the youngsters, their eagerness to step up were exemplary


How Xhaka can be captain saddens me. This guy talks BIG but cant lead by example. All in all, there is a lot to about our main squad, our defense is a mess. On the plus side, the young lad did GREAT.

Dat guy

Had a tough time without a good midfield partner. Looked better with Burton actually. I would personally just give the captaincy to the player that talks and motivates the team the most on the pitch. Maybe he’s that guy?


Completely agree; the Xhaka stans are blind, he’s so obviously a weak link. We haven’t been the same since he joined, despite his occasional good showing.

Frank Bascombe

Yeah, those Xhaka stans are ftupid.


I think his brain fades today were more a result of it being preseason and playing 90 minutes against real madrid 10 v 10 – he was clearly knackered. I really hope he steps up his game in the regular season as he is a good player on his day.

Ordnance Dave

The one thing CM must be able to do is runaranabit all match. Xhaka is knackered after running a bath.


Well Darren Burgess in an interview some time ago named him and Torreira as the most hard working among the team. Personally I believe he needs two mobile box2box around him and maybe a slow paced league like Italian or Spanish. EPL tempo is not for everyone

A Different George

If only we had a mobile box-to-box midfielder, maybe one who could score the winning goal in FA Cup finals.

Super Joshi


Bob's Mexican cousin

Why don’t we go with the most capped player as captain and be done with it? It’s not like we’ve had vocal captains recently (they’re almost never on the pitch or are kind of shy)

Man Manny

Guendouzi, Iwobi, Torreira, Belleri and Holding are still missing.
New signings yet to come in also.
Madrid had all their big guns available.
Not a bad game all things considered.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

The referee definitely changed the game with the second yellow card given to Sokratis. He saw nothing wrong before giving that card. There was nothing. Real players noticed the referee has confidence problems and were able to influence him.

SLC Gooner

It was a soft card for sure. But Sokratis is an experienced international. He had just gotten a yellow. He’s got to know better than to even give Madrid and the ref a chance to make that call. Modric was no particular threat at that point. Even if they score…we’re still a man up.


He actually won the ball!

A Different George

Oh, it was a nailed-on yellow. It might have been let go in a pre-season friendly like this, but not after the red to Madrid (which the referee could not ignore no matter how much he wanted).


The kids did alright. Penalty misses by the big boys. I fear even with the right personnel we will still defend worse than a sunday league team.
Is it a mental thing? Who actually is responsible for defence coaching @ arsenal?


The boys played better than expected against that twat who changed teams from across London. But, should have been 3 nil up. Killing off games still a problem. ION, that Xhaka penalty was lazy….if he is the captain he should do better than that. A pain in the wrong area to watch.

Guns Up

The young crop are awfully exciting to watch, if nothing else. Willock looks most ready for the step up, but here’s hoping Nketiah, Nelson and Saka get plenty of minutes this season as well. Can’t decide for my favorite moment between Sokratis murdering the ball after the ridiculous sending off and Jenko crunching Marcelo.


haha when marcelo looked at jenko and laughed

“Who are you and why are you so good”


You mean he was saying ‘you running to the toilet’?

Jenkinson so obvious, runs like he is on train tracks.

Completely outplayed on his flank, no wonder all their forays tended to concentrate on that side.

Whips the ball in blind still.


don’t pay much heed to thumbs up thumbs down, not here for popularity contest and rarely press any of those thumbs but have to say something fishy about the system.

When I press the down button (which I’m happy to give to youngfabregas), it also awards 4 more thumbs up.

Which leads me to believe much of the thumbs up and down is disingenuous to say the least. Blogs?


Scott P

It updates to the most recent value when you vote, including your vote…


Yeah, those three Nketiah, Nelson and Saka caused havoc to R.Madrid from counter attacks. Nketiah could even bag two goals, needs to improve on his finishing though. Anyway brilliant for him that he got into those goal scoring position while Varane is the centreback.
Martinez looked convincing and now ready to be our 2nd keeper.


Nketiah seems to have that same sort of thing as Aubameyang, he seems to need 3 chances to score once, but hes always making sure hes there to get the chances, I can see him popping up with a few goals this season if hes given the playing time


This is why we should bin off the idea of signing Zaha and spend that money on a top quality centre half instead. All of our exciting youngsters are midfielders or attackers!


Up vote 1000

SLC Gooner

No complaints really about the attack. But the defense was awful. Again. I’m honestly not sure that Sokratis is a big improvement on Mustafi. He gets an awful lot of cards and did it again tonight. We had them on the ropes, and then two stupid plays back to back. Can’t do that and throw away the man advantage. Xhaka had a couple decent passes, but just isn’t good enough in defense. If we had better center backs, I’d play Chambers there, but we may need him at CB. And Emery waited too long for the subs. Maybe that was… Read more »


Join the discussion…we need a left back ASAP…..


Sokratis is better than Mustafi but not by that much as some prefer to imagine. He tends to be too physical when not needed. Of course some people prefer to have double standards. They will get on the case of Granit for every niggly foul he commits (in truth he has not been sent off that often) but prefer to think Sokratis is the dogs bollocks. What this illustrates if anything is the lack of depth in quality at the back that will NOT be addressed with the very expensive purchase of Saliba (if it should go through). One or… Read more »

My Cousin Vinai

Said it for a while now, not sure why so many think Sokratis is good enough for a top 4 CB pairing.

I see a similar trajectory of the fans views on Sokratis to how things changed with their support for Xhaka and Mustafi at the beginning; Both initially popular to fans.


Completely agree. He’s mostly fine, but shouldn’t be anywhere near first choice for a top four team.


Been saying this all summer. Wingers are not a priority with our Mercedes benz like attack. It’s the Lada defence and midfield(really just xhaka) we should be focused on fixing. What I have hated every summer since Henry left is that it is always very clear to fans and pundits what Arsenal needs to become serious title challengers..but the management always has other plans. And they would be justified to continue executing their plans if they had the success to show for it but we have not been that successful.


The commenters and the excuse for analysis sent me over the edge how many narratives had Bale written by the end
As for the game not much different from.last season except we may now have a bench of hungry skillfull players


Join the discussion…we really need a left back…
especially one who can defend….our defense needs help

Iron Ljung

The referee really should have tried to keep his cards in his pocket as much as possible. It’s a friendly, most of the purpose of which is to simulate actual game conditions, and 10 vs 10 is much less effective at doing that than 11 vs 11. As for the Madrid players circling the referee, begging for the second yellow for Sokratis – in what was, again, a friendly – it was as odious as it was depressingly inevitable.


I thought ref did decent. For the most part the MLS refs have been better than a (good) number of our more ‘established’ (old) premier league refs. When you are up by a man, you expect the ref will be looking to draw parity for the other team. As an experience player, you don’t give him the excuse. I’m not sure what Sokratis was trying to do. He already had the yellow for molesting the player earlier on, he did not have to push the ref. He should know this. Its not the first time and he isn’t a spring… Read more »

A Different George

I don’t see how he could have avoided a second yellow–or really a straight red–for an intentional handball that prevented a goal (the ball would have either gone in directly or been a tap-in). Once it is 11 v 10 in a friendly, where no one cares (or should care) about the result, a sending-off to the other side actually makes it a better experience for the spectators.


I was there!


Yes it is pre season but some things are the same. We have players that are below premier league standards and they will be at the club next season. Thats pretty depressing. Our first teamers need to learn a lot from the youngsters. When they came they widened the game, brought speed, combinations, chances, desire and excitement. Just that itself is the highlight of this game. The rest is all the same, nothings changed… Oh, just Ozil’s hair color, sorry.


Nketiah had chances to truly cast any doubt over whether he’s ready to be a regular in the first team and he didn’t take it. I’m not very confident with Martinez as our 2nd gk just yet. Joe willock was excellent. Jenko did okay. Auba was Auba. Wasn’t pleased with the wasted chances Lacazeyte had and also his lack of pressing after we went 1 player down he kept walking almost like he gave up. Don’t know if it’s psychological or fatigue but that was not what to be expected from a senior player and our main striker leading the… Read more »


entertaining to say the least. We were all over them first half. Very dynamic and proactive. Good drive from Xhaka into the box to set up the first. Lovely back heel from Laca for second. Then as if to illustrate the false sense of security (if anyone is even feeling it) with our backline, Sokratis decided to show off his grandmother’s testicale massage technique on one of their players promptly rewarded not too long later with an over enthusiastic challenge for a second yellow. Just like that, we exposed our mental frailties as we backed into a shell. Come second… Read more »


Probably just as well we lost that game, wouldn’t want the Kroenkes thinking we didn’t need to sign some defenders because we were beating big teams in preaseason. And they’re totally stupid enough to think that.

Tony Adams Nose

We never lost in regulation so if you think the kroenke’s would think that way then they will. Don’t be silly. We had a stupid inept referee who should not have been administering a game at this level. RM should be ashamed the way they force the second yellow for…nothing IN A FRIENDLY!! One of the biggest clubs in the world?? Maybe once but they would be mid table in the premiership if this was anything to go by. Monkey boy is their best player and they don’t want him. Go figure. If Sok had stayed on we would have… Read more »


Player ratings for me – Martinez – Has impressed me all pre-season. He’s really stepping up and grabbing the opportunity. BUT for him, we may have succumbed more easily today. Maybe could have got out earlier for the second goal but overall another convincing display for the number 2 shirt. Jenkinson – Runs forward like he is on railway tracks. Outclassed at the back. Vasquez switched out to the left second half and his eyes must have lit up with Jenkinson. Second half all their endeavor (not surprisingly) from that side. Marcelo must have asked him if he was heading… Read more »

Gudang Bedil

Attack-wise we’re super. Defense-wise I don’t know, we sure need Bellerin and Holding fit ASAP at least. And Torreira coming back too. I can’t expect anything from our transfer for our defence.


Laca does not look up to it. Is it because he thinks its pre-season and he needs to take it easy? I hope so.

Buddy budster

I was there, the first half was a lot of fun, the second half was hard to watch, felt like we barely showed up. The youngsters improved things when they came on, restored some attacking capacity to our game plan. The best part of the game was when Emi stopped Bales’s penalty. Rapture!


Sokratis clearly at fault yet again for picking up two stupid yellow cards. His absences through lack of control cost us last season, when it mattered, and will do so again this coming season. Yes, we need a tough tackler of course but the good ones certainly don’t get booked/sent off as often as he does. Why? Because he just can’t time his tackles properly – which is something he should have got right by now at his age and with his experience, and is far too petulant when caught (kicking the ball away against Madrid, for example). He’ll have… Read more »


Sokratis is what they used to call a big “honest” center half…ie he puts himself about and is committed but does not possess the technical skills to be top tier in his position…his true level is mid-low level premier league…I think we originally bought him as a decent squad player but injuries and lack of real depth in the team have obviously scuppered that idea…

Craig Jacobs

Just wanna say am extremely happy with preseason although we lost there is so much positives to take from this game, Emery keep giving the youngsters a chance when you can they might lack the experience but hunger can not be denied they want to play and die for the team. We do however need a real defender let next signing be that we simply cannot work with what we got! Premier League is too competitive.

Merlin’s Panini

Interesting how much Jenkinson has featured so far and he’s not done himself a disservice.
If he is for sale surely someone would take him after what he’s shown, otherwise I really don’t mind having him around. He’s not amazing but is better than he’s given credit for.


“Not done himself a disservice”? I hate double negative!

Please learn how to write properly!


I don’t know if all that fat has leaked into your brain but that is not a double negative. Perfect way to sum up what the poster was describing.

If you want some help with your reading I have a 7 year old little Gooner who would be willing to share his Captain Underpants books….


Er, yes it was! A disservice is the opposite of a service, and “not” negates the entire sentence; so the sentence is a horrible example of the double negative. He should have simple said that Jenkinson had done himself a service – ok? MY 7-year-old niece could help YOU if you need it.

BTW: you should have pulled me up on my failure to use either the definite or indefinite article with “double negative” in my post: that was unforgivable.

A Different George

I would not deny that it was unforgivable.


Fats has finally lost it. And it’s only pre-season.


Well, it technically is a double negative, but it is not used incorrectly, nor is it stylistically improper.


So to summarize same as last season. GK ok, defense shaky, midfield weak, good strikers .


Felt like a strange decision to take Willock off at halftime–why not an attacking player? Sure, it’s just preseason, but it was reminiscent of some of Emery’s peculiar in-game decisions last season. We were left with Xhaka and who, Micki or Ozil (I couldn’t tell we were such a mess) in CM in the second half? And that turned out about as well as anyone would expect.


Ozil has to go. I’d give him away for free to any team that would meet his wages. That defensive work on Benzema’s header was just disgusting. He’s just too soft physically. He’s a liability


Can’t beleive Emery said “After the red, we preferred to play against 11 and asked the referee if we could play against 11 again but they didn’t support that chance.” when all of the players on the pitch were telling the referee he should be sent off. Normally we would take a red that early any day, but in a pre-season friendly I think we could have gotten more out of playing 11 v 11 especially as we need to become better at defending in an 11 v 11 situation. Of course Sokratis tried to at least let us practice… Read more »

Paul Roberts

Well our away form has certainly improved! 🙂


Jenkinson smiling at Marcelo was an enjoyable moment for me. It happened after Marcelo slid and didn’t win the ball from Jenkinson, but then he got back up in time to make a second sliding challenge before Jenkinson could get his cross in.

My guess is that Jenkinson was thinking “holy shit I can’t believe how quick this guy is.” He probably never would have imagined himself playing against Real Madrid!