The International Champions Cup witnessed an exciting game on the 26th of July between Arsenal and Atletico Madrid. Although Atletico managed to win on penalties(3-1), the pre-season game portrayed the capabilities of the relatively young pool of talented players.
— NTV Kenya (@ntvkenya) July 27, 2018
Guendouzi, Smith-Rowe, Nelson: new talent, new hope
19-year old Matteo Guendouzi was given the role to support the defense by staying in the midfield in order to keep check on attacks by Correa, Gameiro and even Vietto. The youngster made sure to fall back at whenever the need arose, giving everything to gain possession of the ball.
Playing as an attacking midfielder position, Smith-Rowe showed supreme class by thundering his strike while running off-balance. It impressed many fans and could be a jump start to his career.
Even the 18-year old Reiss Nelson played important crosses into the box while Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang displayed sparks of form, by controlling and directing such crosses.
Positive from Arsenal Vs Athletico Madrid
Cech saved penalties. ??? pic.twitter.com/hlMkFwH1rq
— biodun yusuf (@bideyy) July 26, 2018
Bernd Leno or Petr Cech?
While new arrival Bernd Leno was given the opportunity to represent and start for Arsenal in his first official match, he didn’t have the much time to prove himself as he was replaced by Petr Cech at half time. Might have been a tactical approach by Unai Emery but watching Leno hardly touch the ball during the first half has raised concerns about his role in the upcoming season of the most competitive league in the world.
Ramsey as Captain
Aaron Ramsey was chosen to lead his army of Gunners in the match because of his leadership and experience, which could be a deciding factor in many games. This could an indication of Ramsey signing a fresh deal with the club.
“He’s [Ramsey] been at this club for 10 years and it seems he’s become a symbol for the club,” Henrikh Mkhitaryan said [via Sky Sports].
“I’ll be very happy for him if he signs a new contract because he’s [part of the] history of Arsenal already & I hope he can become a legend.”
Lacazette and Aubameyang shine
Lacazette had a good number of shots on target with many chances. As this match being a pre-season friendly, the former Lyon man has showed his worth by adding flavor to the attempts on goal by proving himself to be moving throughout the pitch during the match.
If we play good and loose then there is nothing more we can do, I don't mind matches being lost when we play well, end of the day it was penalties that beat us
— Ben Sweeney (@Eldabbo86) July 27, 2018
Unai Emery – A boon or a bane?
It is hard for a manager to lose the first official game against a big club since taking charge.
However, Emery let this match slip through his fingers on penalties but has proved his existence to be a crucial factor for his side’s performance. Due to the not-so-stringent laws of the ICC, the Spaniard has managed to bring out the spice of this fresh, energised and enthusiastic squad. Hopefully, the gaffer can bring out a blend of results this season by ensuring a berth in the Champions League and also producing gifted butterflies by nurturing their cocoons.