Two goals from Eddie Nketiah and another from Joe Willock gave Arsenal a 3-0 win over Fiorentina in their International Champions Cup game.
Arsenal started on the back foot and were regularly opened up by their opponents, with the defence a problem throughout. As underwhelming as Fiorentina had been in Serie A last season, Arsenal’s back three found it almost impossible to track their markers throughout the first half.
Nonetheless they took the lead when Nketiah span neatly on the penalty spot after 15 minutes and fired in a cool finish, but this was an inexperienced team, and it showed.
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In the second half, Unai Emery allowed some experienced players like Bernd Leno, Alexandre Lacazette and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to get some minutes on the pitch, but the thrust of the game quickly evaporated.
Nketiah then made it two after Lacazette and Mkhitaryan combined to set him up for another close-range chance, and made a point to his manager that he is worthy of regular minutes - if not with Arsenal, then elsewhere this season. Joe Willock added a late third after a string of subs.
Emery will be content with the showing from his forward line, but unless Laurent Koscielny returns or is replaced, defensive weaknesses look set to continue.
Eddie Nketiah looks ready to step up. He does not appear able to dislodge the excellent pairing of Alexander Lacazette or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but his ability in the box and technical skill means that he could easily replace the outgoing Danny Welbeck.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal): In a friendly, many senior players will use the matches as a means to gain fitness but they rarely show an exceptional commitment to the result. Younger players can take it more seriously to force their way into the plans of their manager. Nketiah’s ruthlessness in front of goal set him apart.
Fiorentina: Dragowski 5, Venuti 5, Ceccherini 5, Ranieri 6,Terzic 6, Castrovilli 5, Cristoforo 5, Benassi 6, Sottil 7, Saponara 6, Vlahovic 7. Subs: Zurkowski 6, Terracciano 6, Eysseric 6, Simeone 6, Baez 6, Hancko 6, Milenkovic 6, Hristov 6, Koffi 6, Medja 6.
Arsenal: Martinez 6, Monreal 5, Mustafi 5, Chambers 7, Kolasinac 7, Burton 7, Olayinka 6, Jenkinson 6, Saka 6, Nketiah 8, Nelson 6. Subs: Leno 7, Lacazette 7, Mkhitaryan 7, Willock 7, Sokratis 6, Thompson 6, Xhaka 6, Ozil 6, Maitland-Niles 6, Martinelli 6, Medley 6.
15’ - GOAL! Arsenal 1-0 Fiorentina. Nketiah scores - Kolasinac squares the ball, Nketiah receives it, spins right to make room on the penalty spot, and fizzes in a fierce shot.
45’ - MARTINEZ SAVE - Sottil is released behind the defence again, and Martinez slaps away a rising shot at the near post - this defence is awful
45+3’ - VLAHOVIC CHANCE - One-touch play outside the Fiorentina box sets up Vlahovic to roll the ball around Martinez and just wide of the post. That's half time - see you in 15 minutes.
50’ - LENO SAVE - Leno leaps to his right after Benassi's fierce rising shot to the top near corner.
66’ - GOAL! Arsenal 2-0 Fiorentina. Nketiah scores - A cross from Mkhitaryan comes into Lacazette, who slips a pass inside for Nketiah, and he sweeps his finish back in the direction it came.
89’ - GOAL! Arsenal 3-0 Fiorentina. Willock scores - Slipped in on the edge of the box, he kills the ball, and blasts a shot over the 'keeper and into the roof of the net.
Nketiah scored his third ICC goal of the tournament.
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