A successful tour for Arsenal
It’s just one match in pre-season. That was the message from a cautious Mikel Arteta after their 4-0 thrashing of Chelsea. Deep down, though, he’ll be delighted, and it’s been a very successful US tour.
William Saliba looks the part; he caught and denied Timo Werner and has got to be in contention to start against Crystal Palace on the opening day of the Premier League season on August 5, live on Sky Sports. I had the pleasure of walking around Universal Studios with him and enjoyed talking to him. No more loans was his message – his time at Arsenal is now.
It’s also four goals in four games for Gabriel Jesus, who could be a no-brainer option for your Fantasy Football sides. A fine example of doing your recruitment early, he’s settled and raring to go.
The 11 that started against Chelsea could well be the side that kicks off the Premier League campaign at Selhurst Park, and Arteta didn’t sound too optimistic of an opening day appearance for Kieran Tierney.
Martin Odegaard wore the armband again, and serious eyebrows will be raised if Arsenal don’t announce him as the permanent captain when they return to the UK.
Gabriel Martinelli was excellent; Arsenal have a real talent there, and keeping him fit could be crucial.
Nuno Tavares came on at the start of the second half despite being heavily linked with a season-long loan to Atalanta.
Bukayo Saka’s third looked offside, but with no VAR, the goal stood. In truth, Arteta’s side deserved the 4-0 win, and they’ll certainly enjoy their flight home. They take home the Florida Cup, but Arteta and the club are chasing much more prestigious silverware in the months to come.
Plenty to ponder for angry Tuchel
Yes, it’s only pre-season but this was a really poor night for Chelsea. I wasn’t sure if I was too critical given it’s essentially a friendly, but that was before Thomas Tuchel entered the press conference. He didn’t hold back, and in fact, I can’t remember seeing him that angry for a long time.
Highlighting the need for signings, questioning the current players commitment, and accusing some of just wanting to leave were just three of many points made.
It’s been a long tour and perhaps one game too many as they’ve done plenty of travelling but Arsenal were on a different gear throughout the game.
Tuchel told me on Friday he wants at least one new defender ahead of the new season and that desire will turn into a necessity. No update on Jules Kounde will be a concern, too.
Tuchel switched to 3-4-3 for the second half and made a number of changes. The fact Arsenal made just the one change highlighted where both clubs currently stand with just two weeks to go until the season opener.
The defence looked shaky all night; Edouard Mendy’s distribution will also be a concern, but Thiago Silva at 37, is still showing he’s a class act.
New signing Kalidou Koulibaly came on for the last 20 minutes and Tuchel said he was their best player by far. That’s one bright spot in what was a night to forget.
And maybe the best example of Tuchel and the owners still having plenty to do was the arrival of Michy Batshauyi. Remember him? No loan move for him just yet. He made an appearance on 64 minutes.
Chelsea flew home straight after the match, and there was plenty to ponder on the plane for Tuchel.