Arsenal were beaten 2-0 by Manchester United in their latest pre-season friendly in the USA.
The two sides had finished second and third in last season’s Premier League, and Arsenal came into the game having beaten the MLS All Stars 5-0 earlier this week.
Bruno Fernandes opened the scoring with a speculative 20-yard effort that should perhaps have been better dealt with by Aaron Ramsdale, before Jadon Sancho made the most of a Gabriel error to race in behind the Arsenal defence before thundering past the Gunners’ number one to make it 2-0.
United changed all 10 of their outfield players at half-time while Arsenal gave their players 60-70 minutes before they made wholesale changes as both sides continue their respective pre-season preparations.
Despite Manchester United running out 2-0 winners in New Jersey, there was a rather strange penalty shootout at the end of the game, though United again ran out 5-3 winners as Fabio Vieira blazed his spot-kick over the bar to gift United victory in the shootout.
Speaking after the game, Mikel Arteta said that there was plenty of things to learn from the defeat ahead of the new season.
“Having a tough match of this level in this context gives you a lot of information, and that’s always very positive,” he said at his post-match press conference. “That information is obviously there are a lot of things we have to improve. How important the boxes are, that errors are part of football, you have to overcome them as well. And how painful it is to lose a game. Physically it’s been super, super demanding.
“Some players we want to expose a little bit more than they have done, because the way we want to build them, their physical state. Overall they had their moments when they were so efficient. We had ours, when we had more dominance and we certainly tried again in the second half, but the chances we had, we didn’t convert them, and they won the game.”
“It’s going to be more challenging [this season], more difficult,” he added. “The level and preparation of the team is excellent and we knew today, they had already played two games before this one and we knew the test was going to be really demanding, like it’s going to be on Wednesday against one of the best teams in the world.
“[I learned] That I hate to lose and we all hate to lose. That is the biggest lesson, that I don’t like losing and I don’t like the feeling that I have right now. So the boys have to train right now, in that space thinking how we are going to be better to win the next match.”
Arteta thrust two of his new signings, Declan Rice and Kai Havertz into midfield alongside club captain, Martin Odegaard, and the Spaniard said it will take time for them to gel.
“When they play 55 times together they will be better. It will flow better, they will understand each other better and will be more dominant and better. But it takes time to glide and we have to respect that.
“But I saw a lot of positive things, and things I like much more than the game we won the other day against the MLS even though the result is very different.”
Next up for the Gunners is another tough test against Spanish champions, Barcelona.