Eddie Nketiah’s brace helps Arsenal past Fiorentina 3-0

Arsenal took care of Italian side AC Fiorentina 3-0 Saturday night at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC. The International Champions Cup clash took place in front of 34,902 fans.

Both teams started with a mix of experience and youth players.  Arsenal rested some key players in the first half including Özil, Leno, Aubameyang, and Lacazette to name a few. The game started out with the typical pre-season feel.  Arsenal from the start looked to continue their possession game while trying to get the ball to the wide areas quickly. Both were looking to play and keep the ball.

Arsenal looked livelier up front and out wide which resulted in Kolasinac breaking down the flank and crossing it into Nketiah who took a touch to create space to finish. He was very active in the first 15 mins and rightfully scored the opener.

Fiorentina’s best chance came in the 27th minute through Benassi but Mustafi forced him to shoot wide of the post. The first half continued to improve with both teams taking more risks which resulted in the game opening up and more chances being created.

Lacazette and Leno started the second half for Arsenal as Fiorentina made two substitutions of their own. Fiorentina looked the more dangerous at the start of the half forcing a fine save in the 50th minute which required Leno to tip the ball over the bar. The ensuing corner resulted in another half change with a tame bicycle kick which Leno had no problem picking up.

Arsenal was forced to speed up their play as Fiorentina began to press and create chances. Lacazette was playing more of a second striker role and started to see a lot of the ball. Arsenal’s first 1/2 chance came in the 52nd minute when Nelson attacked down the left side. He spun his defender only to shoot right at the goalkeeper.  Arsenal continued to try and find Lacazette who drew a foul from the goalkeeper who went over his back on the edge of the 18-yard box.  The resulting free-kick was taken by the Frenchman but went slightly over the bar.

Arsenal continued to look in control of the game as they introduced Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Sokatris. Mkhitaryan and Lacazette quickly showed their class by exchanging passes down the right flank which saw the ball being served on a platter to Lacazette who was very unselfish and found an open Nketiah for his brace. Fiorentina players were furious as they thought the linesman should have given them a foul.

In the 71st minute, both teams started to look to their benches with Fiorentina making seven substitutions, most notably Giovani Simeone. Seven minutes later, Arsenal made eight changes, most notable among them Mezut Ozil, the World Cup winner.

Fiorentina continued to press which resulted in Riccardo Sottil driving down the left side but was fouled before being able to get his shot off. The resulting free-kick deflected off the wall for a corner. Fiorentina continued to press and Simeone had a brilliant chance but scuffed his shot wide from six yards out.

Arsenal had a great chance in the 88th minute when Martinelli was played in on goal but put his shot just outside the far post.  Arsenal wasn’t done there with Lacazette laying the maker role again by dismissing his defender and laying it on a platter for Willock who made no mistake in making it 3-0. Three minutes were added and both teams started to take their foot off the gas. The match was pretty even but Arsenal created and took their chances.

See the schedule for the remainder of the International Champions Cup HERE

 

-Mike Brown

Photo: Arsenal Social Media

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