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 🙁
Bukayo Saka: 2-1
Rapael Varane: 2-2
Nacho Monreal: MISS 🙁
Robbie Burton: Miss 🙁
Real Madrid win 3-2 on penalties. Arsenal head home to the UK to prepare for the Emirates Cup this weekend.