Arsenal produced a very unconvincing display in a 1-1 draw with Emirates cup winners New York Redbulls. In a game where Arsenal legend Thierry Henry was cheered with every touch, the Gunners let slip a 1-nil lead despite dominating proceedings, and leaving the pitch to boo’s from the North London faithful. Van Persie put the home side ahead after nodding in Rosicky’s cross, however NYRB responded late in the game through a dangerous cross that youngster Kyle Bartley turned into his own net. The draw was enough for Henry’s side to clinch the Emirates Cup, begging questions of Arsenal’s squad and whether it will suffice for the season ahead.
The game started sourly for the Gunners with Wilshire being withdrawn just minutes with a knock to the ankle that will keep him sidelined for a week.
Arsenal enjoyed early possession, however it was NYRB that produced the earliest opportunity with Henry just drawing a low shot wide.
Arsenal’s closest chance came from a defensive error in the 15 minute, however Ramsey was unable to find a way past the ‘keeper.
Ramsey was at it again when he broke through the offside trap after a lovely piece of football from the Gunners, however he was wrongfully adjudged offside by the linesman.
Henry then produced a fine save from Szczesny in the 23rd, with the Polish ‘keeper launching himself across goal to parry away the Frenchman’s dangerous free kick.
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Van Persie produced some cunning skill to eventually set up Ramsey to blast over form just 6 yards out. Just after, Arsenal had something to seriously shout about when Gervinho was felled in the penalty box after a crafty break, however the referee waved play on.
The breakthrough for the Gunners came in the 41st minute from a sumptuous free-kick from Rosicky delivering perfectly into the box for Van Persie to header home. Rosicky was at it again moments later sending Gervinho clear, however NYRB goalkeeper (name) saved well.
After the break, the Gunners understandably enjoyed much of the possession with no clear cut chances until Van Persie sent through Gervinho, however the NYRB ‘keeper again had the better of the Ivorian and saving well. That was to be Van Perie and Gervinho’s last contribution with Chamakah and Vela making their way onto the pitch.
Wenger then used his final allotted 6 substitutions in the 74th minute bringing on the likes of Arshavin, Eboue and youngster Kyle Bartley.
New York Redbulls then had the equaliser they were craving in the 84th minute with an unfortunate own goal from Bartley, after Henry sent Roy Miller clear whose cutback was then steered into the Gunners net by a sliced clearance from Bartley.
At the final whistle, Henry’s Redbulls were crowned Emirates cup champions, clinching it from underneath Arsenal’s nose, and Henry lifted the cup to a respectful standing ovation from the home crowd.
In a game that lacked the much needed bite, Arsenal dominated possession with Ramsey pulling the strings in the midfield, despite Arsenal making some promising runs out wide, they lacked the final finish even with a near full-strength side. Defensively they were more solid than their previous Emirates Cup match (aside from the own goal), but Red Bulls were hardly a dangerous opponent and there will need to be some much needed improvements ahead of the season opener away at Newcastle.
Next up Benefica in the last pre-season friendly.
“It was a bit frustrating that it was only forwards against defence. They played very deep and didn’t come out. But it’s part of the game. I felt we looked quite stable as long as we were not making any disturbances in our organisation. The final 20 minutes were a bit like yesterday, you could see the continuity in our game went. Overall, I am very happy with the two days because we were confronted with two teams who were very committed, very physical and very strong defensively. We were tested. On both days, we played very well for an hour. We have nothing more to offer at the moment. Hopefully that will change in the next two weeks.”