Arsenal’s fine pre-season form continued as The Gunners narrowly came out on top over Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich in the International Champions Cup opener. Young striker Eddie Nketiah netted the winner two minutes from time to hand Unai Emery’s side the victory. An error from Bayern defender Louis Poznanski gave the North London side the lead early in the second half before Robert Lewandowski’s header evened things up after a cross from ex-Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry. Here’s three things we learned from the overnight match:
Mesut Ozil showed a glimpse of life
Mesut Ozil did well. Very well. Which is why some fans are always so frustrated with him – he needs to do it week in, week out when it counts. His new blonde-silvery hairdo was enough to draw attention as it blended in with their new away kit but his performance was actually fantastic. He was a lively figure in the middle of the park, keeping the ball moving and he even could have scored a goal. Ozil has never really fit in the style of football that Emery wants his team to play but because of his absurd wages and lack of interest from other clubs it means they have to force it to work. If he continues to work hard, showing regularly he can meet the effort level required then just maybe Arsenal will have the Ozil of old next season – which would only benefit everyone going forward.
Joe Willock looks a ready-Ramsay replacement
The exit of Aaron Ramsay was sure to leave behind huge gaping hole in Arsenal’s midfield but I wonder if their replacement is primed to go in Joe Willock. The 19-year-old was immense, holding his own amongst the international pedigree of Corentin Tolisso and Thomas Muller. Partnering potential new captain Granit Xhaka in midfield, Willock was probably the best player in a yellow shirt. His application, energy and tenacity are all attributes Emery will love. If he keeps it up then maybe a first-team starting berth is on the horizon this season.
The need for a new CB must be top-priority
There were moments during the match which had some Arsenal fans quaking in their boots. Bernd Leno and Sokratis got in each other’s way almost resulting in a calamitous own-goal. Pantomime villain Shkodran Mustafi was booed the other night and was the reason Lewandowski was able to score – he looked pretty abysmal at the back, certainly nowhere near good enough if The Gunners are going to stop leaking goals next season. Valencia must be laughing at the £35m they received for the German defender. They’ve been linked to both Kieran Tierney and William Saliba in this transfer window – maybe Emery is begging the Arsenal hierarchy to push through those deals as quickly as possible after witnessing his defence against Bayern.
Next up for Emery’s men as they embark back across to the East Coast of the United States is a test against Fiorentina in Charlotte on Saturday before finishing the International Champions Cup in Washington against La Liga giants Real Madrid.