Arsenal scored a late winner to defeat Bayern Munich in their second first-team pre-season friendly and opening match of the International Champions Cup.
Arsenal started a significantly stronger team for the match than they had against Colorado Rapids, with the likes of Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Granit Xhaka, Bernd Leno and Ainsley Maitland-Niles getting their first pre-season minutes.
In an end-to-end first half with lots of chances but no goals, Arsenal showed a lot of attacking promise but the same defensive haphazardness that’s plagued the team recently.
Nonetheless, the Gunners scored the opening goal after the break, through a Bayern mistake, with Louis Poznanski scoring an own goal. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan had done good work in the build-up to create the opportunity.
20 minutes later, Bayern were level through Robert Lewandowski, who placed a perfect header past substitute goalkeeper Emi Martinez. Lewandowski was set up by former Gunner Serge Gnabry, who was impressively denied a goal twice by Martinez.
With the game there to be won in the final minutes, Unai Emery threw on Eddie Nketiah, Tyreece John-Jules, Calum Chambers and Bukayo Saka. All four played a part in an 88th-minute winner for Nketiah, giving Arsenal their second pre-season victory.
Let’s have a look at our player ratings for the match:
- Bernd Leno 7.5 – Leno made a really nice save from Thomas Muller and another good stop not long afterwards. His mix-up with Sokratis in the box early on can thankfully be brushed over as it didn’t lead to anything.
- Ainsley Maitland-Niles 4 – Going forward Maitland-Niles looked great, but defensively Bayern were all over him, particularly Kingsley Coman. Against the big teams, it’s really starting to show that Maitland-Niles just isn’t a right-back, he’s a winger or a central midfielder.
- Sokratis Papastathopoulos 6 – Sokratis played the entire 90 minutes and mostly did pretty well, bar that one mix-up with Leno.
- Shkodran Mustafi 4 – Mustafi had a number of troubling moments, from attempting take-ons in his own box to failing to get close enough to Lewandowski for the goal. His performance wasn’t all bad, but those moments continue to crop up for him.
- Nacho Monreal 5 – Like Maitland-Niles, Monreal was caught out too often defensively, though in his case it was more because he was too far upfield than because he was beaten one-on-one. He did make some nice forward passes and runs though.
- Granit Xhaka 7 – Xhaka was one of three to complete the full 90 minutes, in his first pre-season appearance. Despite that fact, he didn’t look off the pace and passed as well as he does at his best. Along with the full-backs, perhaps he needed to provide a little more defensive cover.
- Joe Willock 8 – Willock won a number of tackles, interceptions and physical duels to impose himself well against a tough Bayern midfield. He earned Arsenal free-kicks and looked comfortable in possession for his 64 minutes on the field.
- Henrikh Mkhitaryan 5 – Mkhitaryan played a great pass in the build-up to Bayern’s own goal, but he also messed up two excellent counter-attacking opportunities to add to the lead. He remains very inconsistent for this team.
- Mesut Özil 7 – Özil showed glimpses of his best in some flowing moves and dangerous counters, but he couldn’t quite find the finishing touch. Nonetheless, a very encouraging performance.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 8 – Aubameyang looks very sharp, and his pace caused all kinds of problems for Bayern. He forced the opening goal, made a number of other chances and has been one of Arsenal’s best senior performers in pre-season so far.
- Alexandre Lacazette 5 – Lacazette, on the other hand, looks like he still needs time to get going. He only had one or two chances and neither were particularly threatening.
- Emi Martinez 7.5 – There was nothing Martinez could do about the goal, but he made two excellent stops from Serge Gnabry. One less-than-confident punch was the only blot on his copybook.
- Sead Kolasinac 5.5 – Kolasinac made one really good chance for Aubameyang and another for John-Jules, but he was as shaky defensively as Monreal before him.
- Robbie Burton 7 – Burton has put in a couple of really encouraging performances this week, and he looked very comfortable playing forward passes off either foot and holding onto the ball well when necessary. He also made a fantastic tackle on Coman immediately after Arsenal’s goal.
- Reiss Nelson 6 – Nelson had one or two nice moments in his first half-hour of pre-season, but he’ll be hoping for a start against Fiorentina to really show what he can do.
- Calum Chambers 7 – Chambers did some great work in the build-up to the goal, and helped see out the win.
- Eddie Nketiah 9 – Up against huge physical defenders, Nketiah managed to get the better of the Bayern back-four twice in his 10 minutes on the pitch. The first chance brought out an excellent save, the second found the winning goal. Impressive stuff.
- Tyreece John-Jules 8.5 – John-Jules’ link-up with Chambers and Nketiah for the second goal, as well as his effortless touch to start the move, were the highlights of his senior minutes so far. He’ll be disappointed not to have finished another good chance a minute or two later.
- Bukayo Saka 7 – Saka didn’t have to be the star this time around, after his man-of-the-match performance against Colorado, but he was still involved in a few nice moves.