Arsenal drew their opening pre-season friendly against Watford on Saturday, with the game taking place behind closed doors at London Colney.

Ben White playing against Watford in pre-season (Photo via
Ben White playing against Watford in pre-season (Photo via

The bulk of the Arsenal squad returned to first-team training at London Colney this week, and Mikel Arteta took the opportunity to organise a friendly against training-ground neighbours Watford this weekend.

Arsenal’s internationals only returned to training at the weekend, so the likes of new signing Kai Havertz and Martin Odegaard weren’t involved in the contest.

But there were still a number of senior players in the starting lineup, including Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes, Rob Holding, Cedric Soares, Leandro Trossard, Reiss Nelson, Gabriel Jesus, and Eddie Nketiah.

Those first-team stars were complemented by academy players, with Arthur Okonkwo, Myles Lewis-Skelly, and Mauro Bandeira also making the starting lineup, and nine other academy players coming on in the second half.

Based on that lineup, it seems White was playing at right-back, with Gabriel and Holding at centre-back, and Cedric at left-back. Trossard seemingly dropped back into midfield alongside Lewis-Skelly and Bandeira, with Jesus, Nelson, and Nketiah in attack.

Match details

Nketiah had Arsenal’s best chances of the first half, with a late covering challenge and another block preventing the striker getting on the scoresheet.

Instead, Watford took the lead just before the half-time break, with Ismael Kone scoring.

Arsenal eventually equalised through returning loanee Marquinhos, turning home a rebound after an initial shot from youngster Amario Cozier-Duberry.

Mika Biereth also had a shot saved in the second half, but neither side managed to find a winning second goal.

The Gunners will now head off to Germany, with the returning internationals likely to get some minutes against Nurnberg. The squad should then be at its full complement by the time they travel to the USA later in the month.

Arsenal starting lineup vs Watford

Arthur Okonkwo, Ben White, Gabriel, Rob Holding, Cedric, Myles Lewis-Skelly, Leandro Trossard, Reiss Nelson, Mauro Bandeira, Gabriel Jesus, Eddie Nketiah


James Hillson, Marquinhos, Mika Biereth, Amario Cozier-Duberry, Jimi Gower, Jack Henry-Francis, Alex Kirk, Brooke Norton-Cuffy, Ethan Nwaneri, Ismail Ouland-M’hand, Charles Sagoe Jr, Lino Sousa, Reuell Walters

Arsenal’s Pre-Season Fixtures and Results

Marquinhos after scoring against Watford in pre-season (Photo via
Marquinhos after scoring against Watford in pre-season (Photo via
  1. Saturday, July 8th – Arsenal 1-1 Watford (Behind closed doors)
  2. Thursday, July 13th, 18:00 – FC Nurnberg vs Arsenal
  3. Thursday, July 20th, 01:30 – MLS All-Stars vs Arsenal
  4. Saturday, July 22nd, 22:00 – Arsenal vs Manchester United
  5. Thursday, July 27th, 03:30 – Arsenal vs Barcelona
  6. Wednesday, August 2nd, 18:00 – Arsenal vs Monaco
  7. Sunday, August 6th, 16:00 – Arsenal vs Manchester City

Times in BST