Arsenal’s tour of the United States, in terms of what has happened on the pitch, has been an overwhelming success. The Gunners have been able to string together a series of nice victories, which included a somewhat surprising win over Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. However, they were unable to stay unbeaten as they brought their tour to an end, losing out to Real Madrid in a thoroughly entertaining penalty shootout in Maryland.
A fun game
More than 52,000 fans were in attendance at FedExField to see the game go down, as the Gunners came out swinging against the Spanish giants. They pushed forward and forced Real into a series of challenges that they almost certainly shouldn’t have been making, and bizarrely, within nine minutes of the game getting underway, Zidane’s men had already been reduced to ten as Nacho was sent off for two bookable offenses. One of the consequences of that was a penalty for the Premier League side, which Alexandre Lacazette was able to score.
Pierre-Emerick Aubemayeng was able to make it two before the 25-minute mark, and it looked like Arsenal were going to stroll towards a really big pre-season win. However, two yellow cards in a matter of minutes from Sokratis ensured there would be a level playing field, and heading into the second leg, it felt like Real were growing in confidence.
Much needed boost
That confidence came through once again in a bizarre three minute period, in which both Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio scored for the Spaniards to level up the score. This young Arsenal team was able to hold them out all the way through until full time, and beyond that, the game actually went to penalties, with the two European giants taking different approaches to how they were going to conduct the shootout.
Real went with Bale, Isco, Varane and Vinicius, with the Welshman being the only person to actually miss. On the opposite end you had Nelson, Xhaka, Saka, Monreal and Burton, which seemed like a pretty experimental line-up from Emery. In the end, Nelson and Saka were the only ones to score, meaning that Real walked away with their hands raised from the game.
All in all, though, it certainly isn’t the worst result as they went toe to toe with one of Europe’s finest and lived to tell the tale.
What are your thoughts on Arsenal’s tour of the United States?