Arsenal drew 1-1 with Chelsea in their third International Champions Cup match on Wednesday night. Here are three players who impressed during the contest.
It was interesting to see the new Unai Emery Arsenal play a Premier League rival in Chelsea also going through managerial change, Maurizio Sarri replacing Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge. The game was played at a high tempo with a good entertainment value. Chelsea were much the better side early on, but their London rivals grew into the game and eventually scored the equaliser they deserved with the final kick of the game.
Here are three players who impressed from the 1-1 draw. (Special mention for Petr Cech who saved two penalties, one in normal time and one in a shootout, and made a series of excellent saves during the 90 minutes. I didn’t include him as I wanted to focus on the outfield players, but this was Cech at his very best).
3. Alexandre Lacazette
The reason I didn’t include Cech is that I wanted to especially highlight the impact of Alexandre Lacazette when he was introduced midway through the second half. The Frenchman came on for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, immediately provided a greater focal point as the lone centre-forward with a strong first touch and astute hold-up play and scored the crucial goal in stoppage time.
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He also could have scored two others, cleverly creating space for himself on both occasions with two nice touches to cut inside and swerve outside the respective Chelsea defender, only to see both efforts brilliantly saved. But it was his overall influence that was so encouraging to see, and should give Emery food for thought for the season ahead.
It remains to be seen whether Emery wants to play Aubameyang as a striker with Lacazette on the bench or with Lacazette through the middle and Aubameyang out wide. I think we saw here, again, that Lacazette offers a greater hold-up ability in the striking role, can score goals with his sharp movement in and around the penalty area, and provides a partner for Aubameyang who was largely isolated for the period he was on the pitch.