Nketiah and Tavares saves Arsenal’s blushes and denies Rangers victory

Arsenal trailed twice during today’s friendly match at the Ibrox but Eddie Nketiah equalised late on to deny Rangers as they played out a 2-2 draw.

We started the match positively, looking to get ourselves up the field in numbers, and that left us open for the counter-attack.

Cedric Soares put in a malicious tackle on the attacker who tried to run at pace into our half, and picked up an early yellow card, but they turned that free-kick into a corner, before scoring with Leon Balogun losing Mo Elneny to head past Arthur Okonkwo.

It didn’t take long before our side was well on top and in control, and it was Nuno Tavares who levelled the scores around 10 minutes after the the setback.

Going into the break, and I’m shaking my head in disbelief that we are not ahead. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had two relatively easy finishes to put us ahead, with his second effort being teed up by Emile Smith Rowe, who left the Gabon international with a tap-in, only for a defender to get a last gasp foot in to block his effort.

We rang the changes at half-time, with the likes of Kieran Tierney making his first appearance since returning from international duty with Scotland at Euro 2020, and while we did look to play positively, our rivals were enjoying hitting us on the break.

Those counters were not how they scored either goal however, with both of their efforts having come from corner kicks.

Eddie Nketiah’s effort was a delight to see, and in fact he was deserving of the goal, as I had only been saying moments before his goal that he was looking sharp this evening.

The team is certainly not as sharp as they could be as of yet, and we are still lacking a senior goalkeeper from the playing squad, but there was certainly more positives to take from today’s clash.

Patrick

Tags Rangers

43 Comments

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  1. Declan says:

    It was Mari booked not Cedric.

  2. HironsGaming says:

    VERY concerned with our striker situation

    1. Johnze says:

      We have super Aubameyang. That we pay 25% more than Harry Kane. In wages…. We have to be confident LOL

    2. Johnze says:

      Auba and laca. 0.43 million per week for the tandem.. we overpay players for quite some time… This is concerning because it drains so much money. Then, no mistake we have to sell some players with the mistakes that comes with it like Martinez…

    3. Angus says:

      We are in the market for one don’t worry.

  3. Sean Williams says:

    Having watched the match I would say we need to keep Joe Willock. We have few midfielders and he gives everything.

    1. Johnze says:

      Willock and AMN. These homegrown arsenal products need to be trusted. They have some room of improvement. Both. If we sell them to play more William or elneny that’s a disgrace….

      1. instrooments says:

        Not totally fair on El neny, the guy works hard for his place in that team…even the commentators were impressed with how he,partey and ESR dictated play….for today our strikers let us down

        1. Johnze says:

          You are right i agree. I wrote too fast. Elneny is a strong squad player with experience too. And a happy guy in the dressing room. But if we are also to have a project and willing to compete for the 3, r4 first rank in the PL we won’t do it only by buying players (and even more homegrown ones that are so costly). We need to develop some. And IMO, Maitland Niles has some room of improvements and check all boxes (homegrown, arsenal product, room to improve, at least more than elneny). I just meant that it would be sad (even maybe a mistake) that we sacrifice AMN to keep Elneny. Hopefully it is not a choice between them after Partey and lokonga

  4. Sue says:

    I still can’t believe Auba didn’t walk away with the match ball!!!

    OT.. Tickets are on sale for our friendly against the Chavs on August 1st…

  5. Highbury Hero says:

    Tavares looks like he will give Tierney a run for LB spot. That is good for both. No player should be comfortable in their position. I hope what we saw today is only a taste of things to come.

    1. instrooments says:

      I feel he owns that shirt already for arteta to throw him in straight away,he must have shone the same quality in training as seen today on the pitch….I hope he manages Tierney well to avoid game time issues for the lad as he did with saka/pepe

      1. Dan kit says:

        For me saka and Tierney and if TIerney is injured then saka Martinelli our are best left sided pairing .
        Tierney for me is more direct and takes his man on ,what I saw of Tavares he likes to cut back in and slow play down which for me his not as productive .
        As much as Tavares looked very impressive he looks like he could play multiple positions even going into the middle but I agree he looked very good both defensively and offensively .

  6. Durand says:

    Only preseason, not concerned too much.

    December should be the time to decide where the club stands, and the direction we should go.

    1. By then possibly 10 players or more hand-picked by Arteta

    2. Final say on who stays and plays and who is sold, loaned, or benched.

    3. 2 years by then; style and philosophy should be apparent to everyone, even my neighbor’s cat.

    4. No more excuses about Wenger or Emery, “cliques” of players, or anything else to cover possibly further regression.

    It’s time to have clear and stated goals, some type of standards to determine success.

    The club needs strong leadership; not only from the manager, but the board and ownership. Time for results, not more excuses and lip service.

    1. SueP says:

      I couldn’t agree more Durand and I couldn’t watch the game – just picking up on the general vibes from posts

      He will have to show he has what it takes because by then he’ll have had enough time to show us REAL progress.

      You know I’ve stuck up for Arteta and now in the weeks ahead it is the time to start delivering otherwise it’s tatty bye time from me

      1. Davi says:

        I don’t think it was was the game itself that concerns people, Rangers are a decent side and we dominated for the most part. Both sides definitely rusty, as you’d expect, and it’s a friendly. We let in some awful set piece goals and they had one big chance, but we had several more.
        The frustrating part (I think for most) is that the player selections make you wonder what Arteta is thinking, as we are expecting many of them to leave.

      2. Durand says:

        SueP
        Always a voice of reason, and your open-minded opinions have often caused me to pause, reflect, and reconsider.

        For myself, I choose to hold off on my personal judgements until December.

        I will support and back Arteta as the season starts; I feel he will need it with the crowds at the Emirates.

        Come December, after 2 years of his sole decision making, if it’s more of the same negative, sloppy, inarticulate football then his time has to end.

        1. SueP says:

          Yes Durand
          Our frustration leads us into unknown territory at times. I guess he has an inkling that a lot more is expected

      3. jon fox says:

        My thoughts PRECISELY Sue P! And I have thought the same right from his start, as it is only fair to give everyone time to either prove themselves or prove a failure.

    2. Angus says:

      This I agree with.

    3. guy says:

      Good comments Durand – agree with all of them. As someone who has pleaded for MA to have time, that time is approaching. No more patience from me (but I still don’t put any importance on the Scottish games, and I wouldn’t even if we won them both 4-0).

    4. jon fox says:

      Durand, YES , the two year landmark as our manager in Dec next will be the first time to seriously and honestly judge MA’s time here so far.

      In his favour, he has won the FA CUP (and a Community Shield, IF you wish to count that – I do not personally) and got rid of many sub par players. And improved our defence even with many “nothing special” players there.

      Against him, he has made many selection and shape mistakes and brought in WILLIAN, a huge minus, plus he’s still got both Bellerin and Xhaka here, which astounds and annoys me a lot.

      But I will accept that he must be judged finally in Dec, though not before.

  7. Johnson says:

    Auba needs to figure out his finishing the shadow that followed him throughout last season is still afterhim he needs to work hard

  8. ToluCOYG says:

    Partey looks heavy. ESR should be tied to a new contract by all means. Tavares would need to build his energy tank for quicker adaption. Auba is just lazy and distracted, he needs to get focused and serious. Willian wouldn’t add anything to this team. Pepe needs more work and luck to shine. AMN isn’t ready. Willock will definitely come good, one more season on loan. Balogun isn’t ready too. Nketia, we should cash out on him now. MOTM is Bellerin’s moustache, makes me laugh. Good run out for the lads.

    1. Mickmematethemasterfarter says:

      Watched the game mari holding William my lord were doomed doomed I say

    2. Sue says:

      Are you sure it wasn’t Willian who looks heavy?! 😄

      1. Ozziegunner says:

        Thomas Partey looked fit and sharp.

  9. Davi says:

    I’ve said before that I think Auba is done, not the player he used to be, and he’s still doing nothing to convince otherwise – and that’s very worrying because we need a source of goals and it’s hard to see where that comes from if he doesn’t turn it around.
    Also, his selection suggests to me that Arteta is still trying to play him back into form (which makes me think we’re almost relying on him turning his form around) – sad to say I don’t think it will happen.

    1. Angus says:

      Preseason. One bad season. Wait and see. Might be true might not. He had a lot of good seasons prior to that bad one so benefit of the doubt?

  10. GunneRay says:

    If we start and finish the season with Willian, Xhaka, Kolasinac, Mari Elneni, and Bellerin you can guarantee we will not be in Europe next year too! Our goal scoring opportunities are still far and few between. Nothing will change until MA does what we all know needs to be done!

  11. Sean M says:

    A few thoughts on performances of individuals:

    AMN has impressed me in the last two games. He’s adapted very well to the more deep-lying position, his passing has been very tidy and footwork superb. Hopefully we get to see more of him in CM over the next few friendlies but he could be a good option.

    Tavares. Excellent first game and took his goal fantastically. Decision making wasn’t always the best but his energy, strength and pace were very encouraging.

    Laca and Auba. One should be cashed in. New blood needed.

    Balogun. Seems like he’s trying too hard to impress at the moment. First touch poor and finishing not up to his own high standards. Great to see him starting and he’ll get his chances this season.

    Pepe. Great to see he’s picking up where he left off. Always looks extremely dangerous albeit his shooting has been a bit off.

    Nelson. Such quick feet. Final ball has improved but still has a way to go.

    Holding and Mari. Not convinced. Be interesting to see White paired with Gabriel.

    ESR. So so excited about this kid. Oozes class. This is going to be his season.

    Agree with others. Strikers notwithstanding, performance was solid. Hoping that Man City coach can sort our set piece defending out though. Yikes.

    1. SueP says:

      I really enjoyed your resume until the poke at Arteta.

      1. Sean M says:

        No poke. We recently signed a set pieces coach from Man City.

        1. SueP says:

          Fair enough and my mistake- apologies

          1. Sean M says:

            🙂

    2. guy says:

      Good post Sean

    3. Ozziegunner says:

      Zonal marking at set pieces must go!

  12. Herbz says:

    Tavarez I believe will eventually displace Tierney from that leftback position. Rest assured.

    1. Ozziegunner says:

      Tavares, although his left foot is predominant, has a strong right foot. Being young and adaptable I can see him being converted to RB, where he has played in Portugal.

  13. Kev82 says:

    We need a new strike force not convinced by any of them!

    1. guy says:

      I don’t think any of us were Kev! How could Auba miss THREE sitters?!!!!!!!
      As previously stated, Balogun was nervous and tried too hard. Hopefully he can relax into it.
      Pepe still showed flar but his finishing is dropping off.
      Laca – not sure what to say. I still love the guy, but at the end of the day strikers are there to score goals.
      Nketiah? Meh. Never done it for me and never will at this level.
      Still – there’s always Martinelli…

      1. Ozziegunner says:

        Aubameyang appears totally out of sorts.

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