Arsenal wrapped up their last pre-season friendly in the United States with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Mexican giants Chivas Guadalajara on Monday.

 

While it was not a convincing victory by any means, the Gunners did play some exciting football yet again as they brushed aside the Liga MX side in Carson, California.

Rob Holding, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Chuba Akpom got on the scoresheet for the Gunners, while Angel Zladivar pulled one goal back for Guadalajara late in the second half. TheHardTackle considers five key talking points from the Arsenal win.

Arsenal need to sort out their defence

Chivas Guadalajara forward Daniel Gonzalez (L) kicks the ball against Arsenal defender Calum Chambers (R) during their friendly soccer match at StubHub Center in Carson, California on July 31, 2016. Arsenal won 3-1. / AFP / RINGO CHIU (Photo credit should read RINGO CHIU/AFP/Getty Images)

Chivas Guadalajara forward Daniel Gonzalez (L) kicks the ball against Arsenal defender Calum Chambers (R) during their friendly soccer match at StubHub Center in Carson, California on July 31, 2016. Arsenal won 3-1. (Photo credit: RINGO CHIU/AFP/Getty Images)

The Gunners have big defensive issues to address ahead of the new season. They never really looked comfortable when the Guadalajara players ventured forward, especially on the counter-attack. While they were playing 20-year-old Rob Holding at centre-back, more experienced defenders like Calum Chambers failed to contain the Mexicans in a satisfactory manner.

With Per Mertesacker being ruled out for the start of the upcoming season due to a long term injury, the Gunners currently look very light at the back, something that could come back to haunt them as the season progresses.

Youngsters take the initiative

Arsenal forward Chuba Akpom (L) moves the ball away from Chivas Guadalajara defender Miguel Basulto (R) during their friendly soccer match at StubHub Center in Carson, California on July 31, 2016. Arsenal won 3-1. / AFP / RINGO CHIU (Photo credit should read RINGO CHIU/AFP/Getty Images)

Arsenal forward Chuba Akpom (L) moves the ball away from Chivas Guadalajara defender Miguel Basulto (R) during their friendly soccer match at StubHub Center in Carson, California on July 31, 2016. Arsenal won 3-1. (Photo credit: RINGO CHIU/AFP/Getty Images)

Arsene Wenger is a manager who is known for giving a lot of chances to the young players in his squad. Hence it was no surprise that the likes of Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and Alex Iwobi got a start in the game, while Joel Campbell and Chuba Akpom were also introduced in the second half.

What was really interesting in this game, however, was the fact that youngsters like Holding and Akpom took the initiative and scored two of the three Arsenal goals. It was Holding who opened the scoring on the half-hour mark after combining with defensive partner Chambers from a set-piece. This was Holding’s first goal in an Arsenal shirt.

Xhaka shines on his full debut

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka (R) fights for the ball against Chivas Guadalajara during their friendly soccer match at StubHub Center in Carson, California on July 31, 2016. Arsenal won 3-1. / AFP / RINGO CHIU (Photo credit should read RINGO CHIU/AFP/Getty Images)

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka (R) fights for the ball against Chivas Guadalajara during their friendly soccer match at StubHub Center in Carson, California on July 31, 2016. Arsenal won 3-1. (Photo credit: RINGO CHIU/AFP/Getty Images)

Granit Xhaka finally made his first start as an Arsenal player, and it was amply clear why Arsene Wenger agreed to pay €45 million for the Swiss international’s services. Being the midfield enforcer that he is, Xhaka gave Arsenal a lot of control in the middle of the park as they looked to dominate their opponents. The 23-year-old midfielder also played a number of dangerous through balls to the Arsenal forwards before being substituted out at half-time.

Xhaka’s presence gives Arsenal a little more depth in their squad, as Wenger can now afford to field Francis Coquelin at centre-back instead of the injured Mertesacker. Xhaka not only has the capability to play good passes, but he can also do the dirty work in front of the defence, which is Coquelin’s current role in the team.

Lots of wing-play by Arsenal

CARSON, CA - JULY 31: Theo Walcott #14 of Arsenal and Orbelin Pineda #7 of Chivas de Guadalajara fight for the ball in the first half at StubHub Center on July 31, 2016 in Carson, California. Arsenal defeated Chivas de Guadalajara 3-1. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

CARSON, CA – JULY 31: Theo Walcott #14 of Arsenal and Orbelin Pineda #7 of Chivas de Guadalajara fight for the ball in the first half at StubHub Center on July 31, 2016 in Carson, California. Arsenal defeated Chivas de Guadalajara 3-1. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Arsenal are a side that love to play possession football. However, they have often been unable to break down sturdy defensive opponents like Chelsea, Stoke City, and West Bromwich Albion, because they have been playing too narrow. This pre-season, Arsenal have been looking to stretch their opponents as much as possible.

This ploy will be extremely beneficial for the Gunners as more wing-play would mean that their centre forwards and central midfielders will be able to find more spaces in the middle of the pitch, which should eventually result in more chances being created.

Oxlade-Chamberlain to finally fulfil his potential?

CARSON, CA - JULY 31: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain #15 of Arsenal gets past Oswaldo Alanis #2 of Chivas de Guadalajara and scores a goal in the second half at StubHub Center on July 31, 2016 in Carson, California. Arsenal defeated Chivas de Guadalajara 3-1. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

CARSON, CA – JULY 31: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain #15 of Arsenal gets past Oswaldo Alanis #2 of Chivas de Guadalajara and scores a goal in the second half at StubHub Center on July 31, 2016 in Carson, California. Arsenal defeated Chivas de Guadalajara 3-1. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is one player who has always shown a lot of promise, but has failed to produce the goods on a consistent basis for Arsenal.

However, if his performance against the Liga MX side is anything to go by, Chamberlain is finally looking like he will play the kind of football that fans have always expected from him. The England international scored a special goal against Guadalajara as he cut inside with a backheel flick and unleashed an accurate shot into the bottom corner of the goal.

While Chamberlain’s goal was a special one, it will be interesting to see whether the the 22-year-old can transform this pre-season form into consistent performances once the Premier League gets underway.

Leave A Comment...

*