Sunday, March 3, 2024

Report: Arsenal 5-3 Barcelona

Arsenal rounded off the three leg tour of the United States with an entertaining 5-3 win over Barcelona at SoFi Stafium in Los Angeles.

After a 30 minute delay, seemingly caused by the need to glue the pitch together, the two sides stepped out to a raucous reception from more than 70,000 excited supporters.

Arsenal started brightly but were on the receiving end of some heavy tackles before Robert Lewandowski put the Spanish champions ahead pouncing on a rebound to tap home inside the six yard box.

We weren’t behind for very long; Bukayo Saka took advantage of lax defending to find an equaliser that settled early nerves. The England international then had a chance to put us in front from the penalty spot, awarded for a handball, but dragged wide.

Barcelona didn’t offer much on the ball but again took the lead when Raphinha’s free-kick took a wicked deflection off Martin Odegaard to deceive Aaron Ramsdale. Our keeper was incensed that he hadn’t had time to properly line up his wall and expressed his dismay to a referee who proved to be below par all evening.

Arsenal found a second equaliser before the break as Kai Havertz tapped home after more good work by Saka – the German’s second goal of pre-season.

After the break, the always lively Leo Trossard came to the fore with a fine brace that deservedly reflected the Gunners’ dominance.

His first effort from outside the box found the corner of the net with beautiful precision, his second was taken first time after substitute Kieran Tierney fizzed in a cross to the penalty spot.

A mistake by Rob Holding allowed Barcelona a smidgen of hope in the closing stages; Ferran Torres taking full advantage of a slip by the defender. However, any thoughts of an unlikely comeback we’re killed off by Fabio Vieira who curled home a beautiful effort seconds later.

All in all, this was an impressive performance by an Arsenal side who looked eager to make up for the disappointment of last weekend’s defeat to Manchester United.

The Gunners will fly back to England tomorrow and will have a couple of days off before taking on Monaco at the Emirates on Wednesday.

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Yeah but it was a bit funny seeing American fans perplexed. During the drinks break they were perhaps expecting to catch a T- shirt from a Gatling gun, some nice cheerleaders dancing, make funny faces & get captured by the camera etc.

Sorry, Hard luck!!!

The Beast

I think they can probably grasp the concept of a football match


Yeah true mate with an oval shaped ball.


We have had the Premier League available to us here for 25 years now. Hell, we can watch every single EPL match that takes place in a given week if we’d like. We definitely grasp the concept.

Group Captain Mandrake

Yeah. I’m sure 80,000 people showed up to watch this weird sport that no one understands. Trust me, we get it. Now, if you asked the average American about Cricket…

The Beast

I’ve lived in the UK for over 20 years & cricket is still, at best, a curiosity for me (not throwing shade on any of the cricket heads out there).


Steady! Arsenal is my true love but no need to throw shade on the cricket!!!


Except for first generation Indian guys and English xpats, I’ve never met anyone here that cares about cricket. Rugby is a woman’s sport. American football is the church of pop culture. We watch epl—I record the 4am games and watch the 7am games live. Sometimes at the bar—nothing wrong with coffee, eggs, pint, rinse repeat.

Ps I live in seattle

STL Native

I’m 71 years old and have played (and still play) *soccer* for for 65+ years. How long have you been playing?

But I will admit that I’m sure there were some fans expecting ‘Messy’ to be on the field…


Happy with what I saw this morning but Ramsdale though, needs to get his act together. I think in the absence of Zichencko, Timber should be starting on the left, while Ben White should be our first choice at RB.


Ramsdale couldn’t possibly have done anything about any of the goals Barcelona scored.


I’m not sure… the deflection for the FK was unfortunate but Ramsdale left far too much space to his right. There are aspects of his game that require amelioration… you’d think it was sacrosanct to say this stuff. He can do better.

SLC Gooner

I would tend to agree. He cheated left too far on the free kick. And some of his kicking towards touch has looked pretty rusty. The save on the first one was excellent though.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

What ever happened to defenders standing next to each goalpost for free-kicks and corners.

A Different George

Well, if you have a defender on the goalpost for a free kick, you put everyone onside. No one ever did that.


You are right about the freekicks but NAM has a point about the corners…


One huge deflection and two 1-on-1s. I fail to see the act that needs getting together. We will concede goals and I suspect a couple could come from his mistake (I hope not), but we’ll need to cut him some slack and hope he’s ready for the season ahead.

Norwegian Wood

But his distribution has been noticeably poorer than it used to be. I get it’s pre-season, but there is that.


Thanks for this, Andrew. Sounds like it was an entertaining game. Do you have any insight into why Rice was missing? He wasn’t in the squad from what I can tell.


Minor calf strain. He’ll be fine for the Monaco match.

Gunnar Elí

Viera… Take a bow


That was a serious cracker by him. Anyone who says they don’t see the talent with him is obviously an idiot, for me the only question with him is does he have the mental makeup to show it with consistency, deal with adversity and pressure and so on.


‘An idiot’ is very strong. Being able to strike a football nicely does not necessarily make a good player.
I think you’re inflating his ability- I think it’s as much about his physicality as it is his mentality. He just gets bullied in English games sadly.
I hope he proves people wrong, but he’s a long way off the standard we need right now.


Don’t like leaving only negative comments when things are so positive, so would just like to add- Saka is looking scary right now. He seems to have got more decisive on the ball, stronger, and faster. I would not wanna be a left back in the Prem this year.
ESR really staking a claim to that number 8 spot too IMO. Can’t wait to see these battles play out.

Norwegian Wood

Vieira did more in 11 minutes than Emile did in 45. Stop being biased. Staking which claim?

He couldn’t even keep in a ball that was begging to be kept in from going over for a goal kick.

I hope they both do well, as we need as deep a squad as possible, but y’all tend to be biased about certain favorites here.


Bias, perhaps. Unwarranted, no.
Smith-Rowe was arguably the driving force behind the beginning of our renaissance under Arteta- even moreso than Saka season before last. Obviously most people will favour him over a newer signing.
I disagree with you saying Vieria did more than him in the game against Barca though. Thought Smith-Rowe’s general play was better, even if Vieria got a nice goal.


“It’s as much about physicality as it is his mentality”

Physicality is a mental feature too. So many players of his stature have done incredibly in England, hell many of them have played for us and still do. You don’t need to be a brawny little bugger either like Shaqiri or late period Messi, it’s more about being fearless and getting up when you’ve been knocked down, both literally and figuratively. That’s what Vieira was missing for me last season.


Yeah you’re right, there’s definitely a mental aspect to physicality, but I do think there’s a way to learn how to use your size effectively, even if you’re small- even if that’s just ‘avoid contact’. Most of the smaller players who’ve been successful for us have been very good at this- and Vieria certainly isn’t yet.
I’m just yet to be convinced, despite him having the odd good moment. I’ll still cheer him like mad whenever he plays at the Emirates mind.

Daniel Wynne

im just glad he didnt strike it with that kind of force when an errant ball of his hit me last season


Plenty of players take time to adjust to the EPL. It’s even harder to make the change, develop and establish any degree of consistency when first team game time is limited. He’s often played when the 11 is made up of several other 2nd string players so the team lacks the cohesion & fluidity of the regular first team. Added pressure also when every time he gets to play he has to deliver. He’s also competing with & being compared to some young extremely gifted young players who are automatics when the first 11 is picked. It’s a really tough… Read more »


Yea!! What a strike Fabio!!! I didn’t clock who it was at first, so rewound the clip, and was very surprised it was FV. I’m gonna cut that man some slack this season. I was too quick to jump on his throat but he’s clearly capable of the sublime….. Good luck to you this season bro. What a time to be a gooner!!!!!


Arsenal has goals in the team. If defence is tight, there is a chance to go for title this season

daniel stevens

Great performance in general. Trossard running the show, Timber looking good from the left, Havertz scoring again with good off-ball movement, Vieira scoring a top corner blitzer and Jesus doing some crazy stuff only he can do. Obviously not great to let in 3, but other than that, just what the doctor ordered.

Also Ronald Araujo should have seen multiple red cards, especially for his flying tackle on Gabriel Jesus’s knee where he didnt even try to go for the ball. Honestly check this assault out:


I have no idea how that was not a straight red, but to be fair, I have no idea how that incompetent joke of a referee made any of his other decisions either.

Emi Rates

5-3 against Barcelona OMG we’re going to win the CL!!!


And looks like the PL is alredy in MU’s hand.


Those wankers couldn’t beat Wrexham. I just hope their new ‘ball-playing’ keeper runs into midfield everytime the ball crosses the halfway line and lets in lots of goals in the process, but I reckon that doesn’t need to happen before they let in the 7-nils.

Emi Rates

Having not seen MU vs Wrexham but I assume Wrexham kicked them harder than they kicked Wrexham and thus they buckled for the fucking awful lot they are. I bet they’re going to be this season’s most annoying opponent as they foul and dive their way through this season. A load of pundits will praise them for “runnin arahnd a lot”, “meaty challenges” and other shite. The narrative will be that it’s like the SAF days again, how order has been restored, McTominay is the Roy Keane of our generation, Ten Hag is a genius (it’s all down to the… Read more »


Fuck u Man U. U suck.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

To be fair it was United’s Under 21 team + Johnny Evans.

Emi Rates

While my comment used exaggeration for comedic effect I’ve just read about the game and it turns out one Man U lad suffered a punctured lung after a Wrexham challenge. Fucking hell!


It was the other way round


While all the three goals weren’t really his fault this time, Ramsdale needs a wake up call. Perhaps a little benching in favor of Turner to get him out of the comfort zone. Saka was imperious as usual though he needs to up his confidence on the spot. If that penalty was a decider there would have been serious boos and groans. Hopefully the injury to Trossard doesn’t turn out serious, he’s turning out to be a great false nine and might take the goal slack from Odegaard’s new positioning. Kai is a poacher like Nketiah but role still undefined.… Read more »


Loved seeing Tierney come on and help with a cracking assist. An entertaining game all round.


Fair play to KT….if he keeps fit & keeps working hard, fingers crossed he might get a start in the league Cup in October….

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Come on mate…. the League Cup Third Round is in September.


Not bad for a *checks notes* 5th choice left back.


Trossard is some player, that turn in the first half – oh bieeeeeen!


Are they just taking it slow with Martinelli because his injury or is that something to worry about?


Either way, it doesn’t look like a problem. I mean, Trossard is banging ’em and will continue to do so. Man is top quality.


The season hasn’t started but I already love how unpredictable we look with selections and positions. Trossard and ESR could be on the team sheet and oppositions would have no idea where they’d fit. Same for others in the team. I’m predicting our back four will give other teams a lot of headache and I’m fucking here for it. I expect to see some burst bald heads (Not you Andrews, but ETH and Pep).


It amazes me that in both matches, given the quality of the teams involved and the number of fans, they have not been able to prepare a decent pitch or find a proper referee.


I’m more frustrated with the lack of a proper referee. I don’t think a temporary pitch is ever going to be up to standard. And the locations with a proper football pitch are too small for these kinds of friendlies. The home grounds of New York Red Bulls as well as the two Los Angeles clubs are all sub 30K in capacity.


More of this less of shit and we are good to go. Special recognition goes to Leandro Trossand and ESR, their partnership on that left channel was World class…they interchanged positions seamlessly


Love that Saka got his penalty redemption story and everything, but am I the only one that doesn’t really rate him as a penalty taker? Never really seen him take one of those emphatic penalties that there’s no way the goalie is gonna stop. Anyhow great result for the boys, first cup final coming up against Monaco on Wednesday!


Would be interesting to see penalties taken / conversion rate for our squad.


I’m happy with Saka but haven’t felt 100% secure about our taker since Santi left


Need to see more of the Jorginho shuffle!

Heavenly Chapecoense

Tbf, that absolute emphatic peno taker is Kane but he let go a big opportunity for national team the day he decided to shoot differently. Saka should stop overthinking about it.


I think Jorginho should take them


Looks like Trossy’s been quietly watching us bring in players for 65m and 105m and saying to himself “cool… but you know, I’m pretty good too”

It’s getting harder to make a case that he shouldn’t start ahead of some of these players…

The Beast

From what I’ve seen of preseason he’s probably impressed me the most. Could just be he’s further along in terms of fitness but whatever it is I hope it carries on into the season.


Best part is there is lots of top level footy for all of them this season!


Trossard & ESR vs Havertz & Martinelli…That’s gonna be a key battle to watch out for on the left channel.


Good showing buy the men. Man U beat us and thought the will win the league only for them to lose to Wexham and Madrid and we also beat Madrid’s fierce rivals Barca 5-3 could have been 6 if Saka scored the pen. UTA


ESR & Trossard vs Havertz & Martinelli for the left channel is gonna be an interesting one


Nice to beat that lot. I liked what I saw from ESR and Fabio Vieira. I think they have the most room to improve from last season which I believe will take us one spot higher to EPL champions.


Please, please, please play Trossard more often. What a talent!


Looked to me like Ramsdale was upset with Ødegaard, not the referee. MØ turned as the ball hit him; if he hadn’t, the ball may have deflected off target. Ramsdale at least seems to have thought so.

Red Arrow

I think Trossard goes under the radar with all the other players we have but he is a fantastic player. Makes an impact each time he plays.


I really hope Trossard and ESR will get plenty of opportunities this year as both can be real difference makers. Trossard will get plenty of starts, but hope Arteta can find a way to have Trossard and Martinelli in together. No reason he shouldn’t be able to play on the right side too when Saka needs a break. I do hope we hang onto Tierney as well as he can be a great alternative on the left when Timber is playing on the right side.


Brilliant. Kai starts out left, scores a goal. Starts as an 8. Scores a goal.

Not bad.


“were killed” not “we’re killed”

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