Advertisements
Youngster Reiss Nelson scored the equaliser for Arsenal against Angers as they drew 1-1
Advertisements

Arsenal won on penalties after being held to a 1-1 draw in their penultimate pre-season friendly against Angers as Unai Emery continued to give chances to the club’s emerging talent.

The Gunners went behind in the 13th minute after Farid El Melami got in behind the defence before dribbling around Emiliano Martinez and slotting home. 

But Reiss Nelson was on hand early on in the second half to tap home to earn a draw. The game was then decided by penalties, with Arsenal winning 4-3 in the shootout.

Here, Sportsmail’s JONATHAN SPENCER is on hand to run the rule over what was learned during Arsenal’s friendly against the Ligue 1 outfit…

Advertisements

Youngster Reiss Nelson scored the equaliser for Arsenal against Angers as they drew 1-1

Youngster Reiss Nelson scored the equaliser for Arsenal against Angers as they drew 1-1

PEPE’S ARRIVAL CAN’T COME QUICKLY ENOUGH

We can’t read too much into friendlies but the last couple of seasons (and on Wednesday) have highlighted Arsenal’s desperate need for a lightning-quick and direct winger. While much has been made about signing a centre-back as a priority, fans would argue this position is just as important.

Away from home in recent times, the Gunners’ form has been dreadful and this is partly due to their lack of threat going forward. Once they are under the pump, they hide into their shell and struggle for creativity and drive in midfield, setting up in a way where Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are deprived of service.

Advertisements

The imminent arrival of £72million man Nicolas Pepe, who will get fans off their feet, can be that man to turn defence into attack at a rapid pace – bringing the ball out from deep under pressure and instead putting the opposition defence on the back foot.

Ivory Coast international Nicolas Pepe could be a game-changer on the road for the Gunners

Ivory Coast international Nicolas Pepe could be a game-changer on the road for the Gunners

Ivory Coast international Nicolas Pepe could be a game-changer on the road for the Gunners

MARTINELLI STANDS TALL ON A TOUGH EVENING

While it was a tough evening for the youngsters, one kid in particular stood out more than others – and that was Brazilian starlet Gabriel Martinelli, who joined the north London outfit this summer for £6m.

Advertisements

Martinelli, who models his game on Cristiano Ronaldo, is viewed as one of the most promising talents in his homeland and recently earned a call-up to Brazil’s training squad before the Copa America. And on Wednesday we saw a snippet of just why Arsenal and so many others were interested in his signature.

The 18-year-old – who had a fantastic work-rate – showed a couple of moments of great intelligence, looking composed and not afraid to get at the opposition. He was nearly rewarded just before half-time with an equaliser but his clever first-time header from a cross drifted just past the right post.

Gabriel Martinelli stood tall, showing fantastic work-rate and composure during the friendly

Gabriel Martinelli stood tall, showing fantastic work-rate and composure during the friendly

Gabriel Martinelli stood tall, showing fantastic work-rate and composure during the friendly

LJUNGBERG’S FIRST-TEAM PROMOTION PAYING OFF

Advertisements

It will go under the radar but Freddie Ljungberg’s promotion might just work wonders for the Gunners as they look to re-build after three consecutive seasons in the Europa League.

Since he assumed his role as assistant coach after his spell as Under-23s manager, Emery has given plenty of chances to the club’s exciting talent with Ljungberg acting as a welcome link between the academy and the first-team.

The likes of Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah and Tyreece-John Jules have impressed throughout pre-season and the youngsters were again given the opportunity to shine on Wednesday. And it paid off as Nelson, tipped for a bright future, slotted home the equaliser after being in the right place at the right time.

There have been first-team opportunities aplenty for the kids this summer and the fans will hope that continues during the season as the club balance the Premier League, Europa League and cup competitions. 

Freddie Ljungberg's promotion to first-team assistant seems to be paying off at the moment

Freddie Ljungberg's promotion to first-team assistant seems to be paying off at the moment

Advertisements

Freddie Ljungberg’s promotion to first-team assistant seems to be paying off at the moment

CHAMBERS DESERVES HIS CENTRE-BACK CHANCE

Shkodran Mustafi’s Arsenal future is hanging by a thread with more mistakes creeping into his game as the weeks go on. This was the perfect game to give Calum Chambers more game-time in the heart of defence to prove his worth under Emery.

Chambers, who impressed on loan at Fulham last term – winning Player of the Season, will be looking to force his way into first-team contention and capitalise on the lack of bodies at the back.

While his defending can still be raw at times, the talent is still there and he would fancy his chances of competing with the likes of Rob Holding and Sokratis. He will only improve in the heart of defence with regular game-time. But frustratingly he was deployed at right-back against Angers while Mustafi was preferred at centre-back. An opportunity missed by the Gunners.

Calum Chambers was deployed at right-back by Unai Emery as they took on the Ligue 1 outfit
Advertisements

Calum Chambers was deployed at right-back by Unai Emery as they took on the Ligue 1 outfit

Calum Chambers was deployed at right-back by Unai Emery as they took on the Ligue 1 outfit

REINE-ADELAIDE STRUGGLES TO PROVE HIS POINT

After breaking onto the scene with a lively performance in the Emirates Cup for Arsenal against Lyon in 2015, there was huge excitement they may have found their next big thing.

But wind the clock forward three years and he was sold to Angers on a permanent deal following a brief loan spell after being surplus to requirements under then new manager Emery in 2018.

Advertisements

And on Wednesday, Reine-Adelaide had the chance to show Emery his worth but other than a couple of threatening moments early on in the second half, the French midfielder failed to put his former team to the sword. Then to make matters worse, his missed penalty in the shoot-out ensured Arsenal ran out narrow winners.

Jeff Reine-Adelaide couldn't provide the magic for Angers against his former club

Jeff Reine-Adelaide couldn't provide the magic for Angers against his former club

Jeff Reine-Adelaide couldn’t provide the magic for Angers against his former club