Arsenal edge Chelsea on penalties after late drama
International Champions Cup, Aviva Stadium – Arsenal 1 (Lacazette 90+3’) Chelsea 1 (Rudiger 5’) – Arsenal win 6-5 on penalties
Alexandre Lacazette’s equaliser in the dying seconds of injury-time earned Arsenal a draw against Chelsea, before they took six excellent penalties to clinch victory.
Chelsea started the game very well, with Jorginho running midfield and Callum Hudson-Odoi handing Hector Bellerin a thorough going-over. On six minutes, Chelsea took the lead, Antonio Rudiger heading home Cesc Fabregas's corner.
Then, on 14 minutes, Hudson-Odoi diddled Bellerin in the box and rode the ensuing foul to win a penalty, although no one was surprised when Alvaro Morata presented Petr Cech with a relatively easy save.
After half an hour or so Arsenal improved, dominating the remainder of the game but missing various good chances to equalise - though in the closing stages, they were also foiled by the brilliance of Chelsea stopper Marcin Bulka.
But with seconds remaining, Lacazette profited from an excellent pass from Mesut Ozil and an excellent cross form Reiss Nelson to earn his team a shoot-out; both sides scored their first five, but Cech then saved from Ruben Loftus-Cheek, allowing Alex Iwobi to drive home the winner.
How are Arsenal going to improve at the back? The hope is that Unai Emery will get them organised; the problem is that the players just aren't that good. Unless Sokratis has plenty of scope for improvement - and this observer is dubious - it's going to be another frustrating season for Arsenal supporters.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea): Had Bellerin like smashed avocado on toast, or whatever it is hipsters are supposed to eat, the intelligence of his movement and passing suggested a player already ready to affect league games.
Arsenal: Cech 8, Bellerin 4, Mustafi 5, Sokratis 5, Kolasinac 5, Guendouzi 6, Elneny 5, Smith Rowe 6, Ozil 7, Mkhitaryan 5, Abameyang 5. Subs: Iwobi 6, Maitland-Niles 6, Lacazette 7, Nelson 6, Chambers 7.
Chelsea: Caballero 6, Azpilicueta 6, David Luiz 6, Rudiger 6, Alonso 6, Jorginho 7, Fabregas 7, Barkley 4, Pedro 6, Morata 4, Hudson-Odoi 8. Subs: Drinkwater 5, Zappacosta 6, Emerson 6, Moses 6, Abraham 5, Ampadu 6, Bulka 8, Bakayoko 6, Loftus-Cheek 5, Piazon 6.
5’ - CHANCE! Lovely from Hudson-Odoi, spinning and dashing in behind to receive Alonso's pass before laying back for Fabregas. He spanks a rising shot, which Cech shovels behind.
6’ - GOAL! Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea (Rudiger). Fabregas takes the corner down the right and clips it towards the near post where Rudiger, unmarked - Smith Rowe is the nearest defender, so perhaps he was Ramsey's man - heads firmly home.
Chelsea celebrateGetty Images
14’ - PENALTY CHELSEA! Alonso sticks Hudson-Odoi into space and he cuts inside, running at Bellerin, then goes outside as the slide comes in; he allows it to level him, very slowly, and that's an easy call for the ref.
15’ - PENALTY SAVED! Morata celebrates the birth of his twins by ramming a crap penalty low and close to Cech, of course he does; Cech saves easily enough.
24’ - MORATA... NOPE! Morata is hilarious. Hudson-Odoi plays him in, and zoning in from the left, he buries his shot in Cech's legs. He despises finishing.
32’ - AIR SHOT! And here come Arsenal again! They've woken up! Cech finds Smith Rowe, who finds Ozil, who runs through midfield and moves the ball right to Mkhitaryan. And what a pass he picks, a swift, low diag for Aubameyang ... all he has to do is tap home, but he loses the path of it because of how many defenders it bypasses, and kicks fresh air. It's pretty funny, I'll give him that.
84’ - FINE SAVE! Arsenal keep at it though and Chambers, again down the right, is well found by Ozil. His cross is good too, and Iwobi meets it, but though he gets good contact, he doesn't quite time his finish and Bulka pulls off a fine save.
90+3’ - GOAL! Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea (Lacazette). Arsenal have earned this. Ozil plays a luscious little oblique pass outside him for Nelson, whose low, belted cross is caressed home by Lacazette, five yards out.