Arsenal 1-2 Sevilla: Gunners lift Emirates Cup despite defeat
PUBLISHED: 18:26 30 July 2017 | UPDATED: 19:01 30 July 2017
Arsenal won the Emirates Cup despite a 2-1 loss at home to Sevilla on Sunday.
Goals from Joaquin Correa and Stephen N’Zonzi won the game for the Spainish team sandwiched by a goal by record signing Alexandre Lacazette, but it was the home team that clinched the meaningless bauble.
They used to say pre-season friendlies were watched by one man and his dog, but with another near-sell out at the Emirates on Sunday that’s simply not the case anymore – even if the week has been dominated by one player, and his dog.
Despite there being enough on-field topics to keep even the most ardent post-match pub pundits occupied until well-beyond closing time - Mohamed Elneny’s conversion to a centre-half in a back three for a start. Or the embryonic forward partnership between record signing Alexandre Lacazette and fit-again Danny Welbeck, and the encouraging wing-back pairing of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the left and the dashing Hector Bellerin on the right – but really, there was only one topic in town.
The future of the unsettled livewire striker Alexis Sanchez.
Manchester City have been hovering, no doubt encouraged by the Chilean informing the world he was enfermo – or sick – on his Instagram account.
For extra effect he wore a dark scarf , a sad look and was accompanied by his loveable dog Humber. As sick notes goes it was endearing. But no-one at Arsenal was smiling.
For they are playing a game of high stakes with the wantaway forward.
Hold him to his final year of his contract and they risk losing a hefty transfer fee. Cash in now and wave goodbye to any notions of a title bid, as well as sending a message to the footballing world that Arsenal – yet again – cannot keep hold of their biggest names.
All that is to come. For now they had silverware – of sorts – to chase.
Ahead of next week’s visit to Wembley for the Community Shield against Chelsea, Arsenal had the chance to pick up their fifth Emirates Cup at their home ground with a draw after their emphatic 5-2 dismantling of Benfica on Saturday.
Wenger opted for a 3-4-2-1 system with Elneny in the middle of back three. Oxlade-Chamberlain left-wing back and Bellerin right. Lacazette up top.
It was also good to see young starlet Joe Willock start– who acquitted himself well during Arsenal’s peripatetic wanderings this month.
On five minutes, Laurent Koscielny headed at Seville’s keeper David Soria, before the former Toulouse man Wissam Ben Yedder struck the foot of the post before the alert Willock cleared.
Wenger’s two wing-backs combined well after Oxlade-Chamberlain powered in a cross that Bellerin lifted over Soria’s bar on the half-volley on 22 mins.
Another promising combination saw good link up play between Lacazette and Welbeck with former United man pushing ball just the wrong side of Soria’s near post on the half hour.
Four minutes into the second half Sevilla opened the scoring after a great reverse ball by Ben Yedder onto the onrushing Joaquin Correa who pushed it past Cech.
Whatever your persuasion it was enjoyable to savour the good link-up play between former Toluouse man Ben Yedder and the Argentine Correa who formerly played for Sampdoria in the build up and execution of the goal.
Lacazette then sidefooted the ball to Sevilla’s keeper Soria after a cushioned touch from Ramsey. It was a good interchange but perhaps his shot could have been more forceful.
Arsenal’s Joe Willock was then replaced by Granit Xhaka as Sevilla changed Escuderio for Clement Lenglet and Ever Banega for Ganson.
The move paid dividends immediately as Oxlade-Chamberlain powered past the unfocused Leglet before squaring into the box. The slightest touch off Welbeck saw the ball fall to Lacazette who gladly swept the ball into the net to make it 1-1.
A Mexican wave then erupted around the ground. Despite the unbridled glee from grown adults taking park this correspondent for one simply cannot see the attraction of such a pointless activity when a football match is taking place.
And when Sevilla netted their second moments later many in the ground were completely unaware of the goal as they were too preoccupied with the Wave.
It might have been a stretch for many new faces here today to identify the scorer as former Blackburn and Stoke man Stephen N’Zonzi who curled the ball home for a goal that would ultimately rob Arsenal of the trophy they consider their own.
As the clock ticked down a flurry of substitutions did little to alter the scoreline and as referee Andre Marriner – who officiated with unobtrusive common sense - blew for full-time the kindest thing you could say was that at least many in the crowd enjoyed their Mexican wave.
For Wenger and his men there was no such joy as it was clear there is still huge work to be done – despite a gaudy bauble.
Arsenal (3-4-2-1) Cech; Koscielny, Elneny (Walcott), Monreal; Bellerin (Bramall), Ramsey, Willock, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Ozil, Welbeck; Lacazette (Iwobi).
Sevilla (4-3-3) Soria; Mercado, Pareja, Carriço (Pizzaro), Escudero; N’Zonzi, Krohn-Dehli, Banega; Correa (Corchia), Nolito (Montoya), Ben Yedder (Fernandez).
Referee: Andre Marriner