Arsenal V Chelsea FC in the 2018 International Champions Cup at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on 1 August.
A raucous Dublin crowd welcomed Premier League powerhouses Arsenal and Chelsea to the Aviva Stadium for a hotly anticipated International Champions Cup encounter, and they were not left disappointed.
The intriguing, close-fought tie looked like conjuring only a single goal, headed home in the early exchanges by Chelsea’s German centre-back Antonio Rüdiger. But a dramatic stoppage-time equaliser from Alexandre Lacazette send the game to penalties.
And the Gunners prevailed in the shootout, snatching a sudden-death victory after both sides converted their first five attempts.
Although Arsenal ultimately came out on top, the London pair will both be satisfied with their night’s work, having demonstrated a quick assimilation to the tactical demands of their respective new coaches.
It was a rematch of last season’s Community Shield, English football’s traditional curtain-raiser, but much has changed at both clubs since they met at Wembley a year ago, with Unai Emery succeeding long-time Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger and Maurizio Sarri taking over from compatriot Antonio Conte at Chelsea.
And both managers looked to lay down a marker in Dublin, naming strong line-ups. Arsenal included star attackers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Özil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in their XI, while Chelsea started with new signing Jorginho orchestrating in central midfield, with David Luiz, Pedro and Álvaro Morata all present.
But it was a 17-year-old rookie who caught the eye. England youth international Callum Hudson-Odoi started on the left of Chelsea’s front three and dazzled throughout with his speed, poise and thrilling dribbling skills.
Indeed, it was Hudon-Odoi’s thrust and tee-up for Cesc Fàbregas’s deflected shot which led to the corner Chelsea opened the scoring from, as Rüdiger rose highest to head home in just the fifth minute.
The teenager was in the thick of the action less than less than ten minutes later, too, bursting into the box and winning a penalty for his side. Morata took the spot kick and saw saved his effort well saved by Petr Čech.
Hudson-Odoi was a menace throughout, but Arsenal weren’t without success of their own. The Gunners dominated possession and carved first-half openings through slick interchanges involving Özil, Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan; the finishing touch, however, remained elusive.
In the second period, Arsenal again saw more of the ball than their opponents, but the first clear-cut chance fell to a blue shirt, goal-scorer Rüdiger heading wide from a corner.
Arsenal’s best chance arrived in the 76th minute, when substitute Alexandre Lacazette expertly cut in from the left, before firing inches wide from 12 yards out.
A late, presentable chance to fell Arsenal’s way, but replacement goalkeeper Marcin Bulka produced an incredible point-blank save to keep out Alex Iwobi.
But the Gunners were not to be denied. Lacazette atoned for his earlier miss by converting Reiss Nelson’s drived cross from close range with virtually the last kick of the game.
And it was redemption from 12 yards for Arsenal, who lost a shootout to Atlético de Madrid in their first International Champions Cup 2018 game. Here, Emery’s men bagged six from six, with Iwobi converting the decisive sudden-death kick after Čech saved Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s effort.
Arsenal (4-3-3): Čech; Belleín (Chambers 79), Mustafi, Sokratis, Kolašinac (Maitland-Niles 70); Guendouzi, Elneny, Smith Rowe (Iwobi 63); Mkhitaryan (Nelson 72), Aubameyang (Lacazette 72), Özil.
Goals: Lacazette 90+3.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Caballero (Bulka 78); Azpilicueta (Zappacosta 63), Rüdiger (Ampadu 63), Luiz (Christensen 46), Alonso (Emerson 63); Barkley (Bakayoko 78), Jorginho (Loftus-Cheek 78), Fàbregas (Drinkwater 46); Pedro (Moses 63), Morata (Abraham 63), Hudson-Odoi (Piazon 85).
Goals: Rüdiger 5.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin.
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin.
Text Credits: International Champions Cup
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