Arsenal show encouraging signs in 5-1 win over PSG
Mesut Ozil scores and Matteo Guendouzi impresses
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 28/07/18 6:17pm
Arsenal eased to a 5-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the International Champions Cup in Singapore on Saturday.
Mesut Ozil - who was named captain on his first appearance under Unai Emery - scored the opening goal, before Alexandre Lacazette netted twice and Rob Holding and Eddie Nketiah also scored.
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Here's what we took from Arsenal's win over an under-strength PSG…
Ozil makes his mark
It's been a turbulent summer for Ozil as Germany failed to make it out of the group stage of the World Cup and he then announced his retirement from international football and accused German FA (DFB) officials of racism.
However, after saying in the week that he wanted to make him feel "at home", Emery made it clear that Ozil has his full support by making him captain against PSG.
And, after signing a yellow card for the referee in the tunnel, Ozil got his name on the scoresheet in the 13th minute when he finished from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's cross.
Ozil has been criticised in the past for neglecting defensive duties, but in a 4-2-3-1 he played in a more advanced role and was often getting the ball in and around the box rather than in midfield.
"We want to give him and our players the best position they feel most comfortable in on the pitch," explained Emery afterwards.
"When we do have the ball, we can press with the striker and a No 10 almost like a 4-4-2 in a press. But It depends because Mesut can also play on the right and go inside, driving in to open up space for the right back.
We want to give him and our players the best position they feel most comfortable in on the pitch
Unai Emery on Mesut Ozil
"We want to find a space for him and the other players where they can use their qualities through good positioning."
It is only pre-season, and this was weak opposition, but France U20 international Matteo Guendouzi caught the eye with his performance.
Playing alongside Mohamed Elneny in midfield, the 19-year-old dropped deep, broke up play, looked assured in possession and showed a good range of passing.
One pass, in particular, stood out when he pinged the ball over the top of the defence to set up a scoring chance for Aubameyang.
If Guendouzi continues to impress then Arsenal will have plenty of competition for places in midfield.
Aaron Ramsey, who was on the bench against PSG and is entering the final year of his contract, is expected to be a regular starter, but then there is new signing Lucas Torreira, Elneny, Granit Xhaka and Guendouzi to compete for maybe one or two places.
Aubameyang looks fresh
Arsenal might not have any 2018 World Cup winners in their squad, but that might give them an edge on some of their Premier League rivals.
While Manchester City and Manchester United wait for key players to return from post-World Cup holidays, Emery already has most of his squad to work with.
Aubameyang might be one player who benefits from a full summer off and a full pre-season, having only been able to play in the Premier League last season as he was cup-tied in the Europa League after joining in January.
The Gabon striker looked sharp against PSG, regularly breaking the offside trap and running into spaces, as he did to set up Ozil for the opener.
He probably should have scored himself, but otherwise it was a promising display from Aubameyang.
Defensive work to do
"I am here to show I am first a defender and after that comes everything else."
New signing Sokratis Papastathopoulos didn't exactly stay true to his word against PSG as he was caught out a few times by the running of Timothy Weah.
Twice Weah beat Sokratis to low balls into the box before the Arsenal defender was left hopefully looking at the assistant for an offside flag when Weah broke past him.
There is still time for Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi to work on their understanding - and they won't face forwards as quick as Weah every week - but there does appear to be some work to be done on the training ground.
Or Emery may decide that, with Laurent Koscielny out injured, there could be a place for Nacho Monreal in the centre of the defence.
Arsenal's strong finish
While most of PSG's young players struggled to make an impact in the absence of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and co, that was not the case with Arsenal.
Often pre-season games can drift away when teams make raft of substitutions in the second half, but Arsenal's level seemed to improve in the final 25 minutes.
Emile Smith Rowe, 18, added an assist to his goal against Atletico Madrid, Reiss Nelson was denied by a good save and Eddie Nketiah scored late on with a crisp low finish.
"The young players gave us the pressing back," said Emery afterwards.
It will be fascinating to see how many of the young players get chances under Emery this season, having only really played in cup competitions under Arsene Wenger.
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