Arsenal lined up with quite a strong team against the side that beat us in last year’s Europa League semifinal, but the game started quite evenly. In the first half Arsenal had by far the best chances with Lacazette and Aubameyang getting close a few times, but Jan Oblak kept them out.
Smith-Rowe and Guendouzi were looking lively, and Kolasinac flying down the wing at times. with 15 minutes to go Arsenal kept up the pressure with both Auba and Lacca getting extremely close again, but then BAM, Atletico take the lead with their first shot on target! Well it was a great header by Vietto in actual fact and it didn’t look like Leno could do much about it. Arsenal had had two thirds of the possession but were losing. Sounds familiar!
So we went in 1-0 down and Emery swapped Cech for Leno, and Atletico swapped Oblak for Adan. We started extremely well after the break and straight away a brilliant goal from Smith-Rowe put him in the frame for more first team starts, and we went right in for the killer goal but Atletico managed to keep us out well.
After the Spaniards survived the 15 minute onslaught they decided to go up and gear and attacked Cech’s goal with intent. The big Number One pulled off a brilliant double save to deny the Spaniards and the Gunners kept soaking up the pressure until the hour mark, when Emery decided to make his wholesale changes and eight Gunners left the pitch. The replacements were also possible first team starters except for Nketiah and Osei-Tutu, and Willock came on ten mins later when Atletico also made 7 changes. It all went a bit limp after that, although Maitland-Niles nearly put Kolasinac through, and Nketiah got in place for a free shot but miskicked…
So it limped to the 90 minutes and my verdict would be that we saw some fight in the team, but the humidity is not exactly good for fast football. We probably deserved more from the game (don’t we always against Atletico?) but our oppents defended well and a draw could be the fair result for a pre-season friendly…
1 Cech saves Mhkitaryan saved 0-0
2 Cech had no chance! Willock saved 0-1
3 Cech saves Maitland-Niles brave chip! 1-1
4 Cech beaten Nketia gets saved 1-2
5 ADAN Scores well and Arsenal lose! One penalty scored out of four????