By Chris Harris in Beijing
Our summer tour ended with a defeat as Chelsea punished us for a tired first-half performance in the Bird’s Nest.
Two goals in two minutes did most of the damage.
First, Willian got away from Per Mertesacker and cut inside Nacho Monreal to find the bottom corner. Then N’Golo Kante stole possession on the halfway line and fed Michy Batshuayi, who beat David Ospina in style.
Ospina had proved hard to beat until then, denying Victor Moses and then tipping over brilliantly from the same man seconds after saving from Willian.
Ospina could do nothing about Chelsea’s third, a sumptuous finish from Batshuayi after Marco Alonso had beaten Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the left.
That came early in the second half, a half that saw a marked improvement from us.
Before the break our best - and perhaps only - opportunities had fallen to Aaron Ramsey. He fired wide after Alex Iwobi snatched possession and found Mesut Ozil, and later forced Thibault Courtois into action.
After the break the chances flowed more freely. Ramsey almost picked out Olivier Giroud with a cross, and Francis Coquelin fired inches over after Giroud’s blocked free-kick was recycled.
Giroud saw another effort fly wide and, with Coquelin biting into tackles, we looked a lot more threatening.
Reiss Nelson once again injected pace and trickery on the right and he set up Donyell Malen for a shot that hit the outside of the post.
But the goals would not come.
One of the features of this tour has been the emergence of a few notable young talents - and they got another chance in the Bird’s Nest.
This time last year Cohen Bramall was preparing for a new season with non-league Hednesford Town. What a step up this is.
He was mainly on the defensive against Moses with Chelsea in the ascendancy, but one or two bursts down the flank demonstrated that Bramall has the athleticism to prosper at wing-back.
Bramall did get caught out for Chelsea’s second though as Kante seized possession and found Batshuayi.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles has played in both wing-back positions and in midfield for us… and now he’s played centre back. He was stationed to the right of Per Mertesacker and was kept incredibly busy.
Maitland-Niles’ pace came in handy, two bursts allowing him to get back and stop Pedro and then Jeremie Boga.
Willian did get away from the Arsenal youngster to go through on goal - but he screwed his shot wide.
The second half saw further opportunities for Nelson - once again on the right - and Malen. They combined well in the final third and Malen went as close as anyone to a consolation goal after a brilliant burst from Nelson.
AS IT HAPPENED
That’s it for this summer’s tour, but our pre-season schedule continues apace on our return to London.
The Emirates Cup returns to Emirates Stadium next weekend with games against Benfica on Saturday and Sevilla on Sunday. RB Leipzig complete the line-up.
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