Ben White and Thomas Partey returned to first team action as Arsenal secured the Dubai Super Cup with a 2-1 win over AC Milan.
The Gunners then added a gloss to the result by winning the gimmicky penalty shootout 4-3 thanks to Karl Hein’s save from Brahim Diaz and Rade Krunic’s miss.
Milan made most of the early running and were unlucky not to take the lead on 11 minutes when ex-Liverpool striker Origi spun Holding before hitting the bar with a curler from the edge of the box.
After weathering a series of corners and struggling with Milan’s press, the Gunners eventually broke the deadlock against the run of play. Nketiah drew a foul on the edge of the box and captain Odegaard found the net with a beautifully precise free-kick that whipped over the Milan wall and inside keeper Tatarusanu’s post. (GOAL 1-0)
Origi should have equalised inside six minutes but his header from an Adli cross bounced just wide.
Vieira was less than impressed when he took an arm to the face from Tonali but he got his revenge moments later, dancing past the Italian to tee up Reiss Nelson whose effort took a deflection off the studs of Odegaard on its way into the back of the net. (GOAL 2-0)
Boosted by the second goal we finished the first half strongly and might well have added another only for Nelson to fizz over on the angle.
After banking a valuable 45 minutes, Partey and White were replaced at the break by Cedric and Elneny.
Milan made a couple of changes of their own and dominated possession in the early stages before Elneny took a grip of the midfield. His zippy passing helped Vieira, Odegaard and Lokonga get more involved and he even had Tatarusanu back-peddling when he fired an effort from range over the bar.
Clearcut chances for either side were few and far between before the players took a breather to take on fluids. The break gave Arteta a chance to send on Marquinhos for Vieira and for Nketiah to quiz the referee as to why he’d been booked after some solid hold-up play. Elneny joined him in the book not long after.
Milan reduced the deficit with 12 minutes remaining when Tomori headed home Tonali’s free-kick (GOAL 2-1) but it was the sight of Gabriel and Tierney both hitting the turf with injuries that felt more concerning. The Brazilian was fine to continue but the Scot was replaced.
There were some half-arsed handbags in the closing stages as Tomori barged through the back of Marquinhos provoking a reaction from Odegaard, Cedric and Gabriel. More academy kids were sent into the fray in the closing stages and they did just enough to see out the win.
|✅ Cedric||✅ Bennacer|
|✅ Gabriel||❌ Diaz (save Hein)|
|✅ Marquinhos||✅ Tonali|
|✅ Elneny||✅ Lazetic|
|❌ Smith||❌ Krunic (wide of the post)|
Starting XI: Hein; White (46), Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey (46), Lokonga, Odegaard (c); Vieira (78), Nelson (81), Nketiah (81)
Subs: Graczyk, Foran, Cedric (46), Sousa, Walters, Elneny (46), Cirjan, Smith (90), Lewis-Skelly, Nwaneri (90), Cozier-Duberry (81), Sagoe Jr, Marquinhos (78), Butler-Oyedeji (81)