Arsenal 2-1 Bayern Munich: Nketiah Scores Late Winner Off The Bench As Arsenal Edge Bayern In ICC Opener

A late goal from Eddie Nketiah saw Arsenal beat Bayern Munich 2-1 in their International Champions Cup opener in Los Angeles.

Robert Lewandowski looked to have handed Bayern a point after cancelling out an own goal from Louis Poznanski, but Gunners sub Nketiah netted in the 87th minute to hand Arsenal a morale-boosting victory over the German champions.

Donning the new ‘bruised banana’ away kit for the first time, Arsenal looked sharp as they pressed from the front in what will surely have been an encouraging performance for Emery – despite a few missed chances.

Having got their pre-season campaign off to the perfect start with a routine 3-0 victory over Colorado Rapids on Tuesday, Emery named a completely different starting XI in LA.

The Spanish coach opted for an experienced lineup at Dignity Health Sports Park, with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in attack.

The Gunners pressed Bayern early on, with Aubameyang almost forcing a calamitous error from Manuel Neuer: the Bayern goalkeeper attempted to dribble past the forward on the edge of his six-yard box, lost possession, but then smothered the danger.
At the other end, Bernd Leno had to be alert with two fine stops from Thomas Muller and Daniels Ontuzans.

Arsenal’s best chance came with a lightning-quick breakaway from Aubameyang, who raced from the edge of his own penalty box to tee up Ozil; the German playmaker dallied, however, and could only find Neuer with a fierce drive.

The teams went into the break goalless, with Bayern duly changing their whole lineup for the second half – and it was one of Niko Kovac’s men who got on the scoresheet first.

 

The trouble for Bayern was that it came at the wrong end, with 18-year-old Louis Poznanski turning the ball into his own net after a teasing cross from Aubameyang.

The Gabon striker had a golden chance to make it two for Arsenal, but inexplicably missed the ball when Sead Kolasinac had put it on a plate with a low driven delivery along the six-yard box.

Reiss Nelson then missed another fine chance straight after with a heavy touch in the Bayern box, and the German champions duly made the Gunners pay for their profligacy as Lewandowski rose unchallenged to place a fine header into the top left-hand corner of Leno’s net.

It looked as though the missed chances were going to cost Arsenal dear, while substitute Nketiah saw another late effort blocked out – but he was not to be denied.

Fellow sub Tyreece John-Jules showed strength and vision at the byline to tee up Nketiah for a toe-poked finish with three minutes to spare, and the scoreline would have been more flattering for Arsenal had John-Jules not managed to sky a simple chance from six yards following another fine Kolasinac cross.

While it is easy to put too much weight on early pre-season results, Emery will have been heartened to see that his first-choice XI already look fit and lively, while younger squad members also showed they are ready to step up and make vital contributions.

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