We eased to a comfortable victory at Stadium MK on Tuesday evening as our pre-season campaign got off to a satisfying start.
Coming just 24 days after the Emirates FA Cup final, this first friendly of the summer felt like a lightning-quick turnaround – but we wasted no time in getting going.
With just four minutes on the clock, MK Dons goalkeeper Lee Nicholls scuffed his clearance and Mo Elneny – back from his loan spell in Turkey – reacted quickest to fire the ball into the top corner from 35 yards.
It was quite the return for the Egyptian, and not long after we doubled our advantage as a flowing move saw Cedric Soares find Bukayo Saka, who cut the ball back for Eddie Nketiah to fire in.
There was much excitement on social media about the first sighting of William Saliba in Arsenal colours, but in truth he was relatively untroubled – although one rapid turn of pace to race back and win the ball in the area got pulses racing.
The Frenchman could do nothing though, to prevent the hosts pulling one back as they curled a ball in from the right and Rob Holding directed the ball past Bernd Leno and into his own goal.
Mikel Arteta made six changes at the break as he sought to get minutes into the legs of the likes of Emile Smith Rowe, Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock and we continued to drive forward.
Nketiah had a goal disallowed before being replaced as we made five more changes for the final half hour, and Mark McGuinness extended our lead with a fine header.
Nelson then added a fourth from the spot after winning a penalty, and that wrapped up the scoring on an encouraging evening for Arteta’s side.
We’re back to Wembley Stadium on Saturday for the Community Shield against champions Liverpool.
We last faced the Reds back in mid-July at Emirates Stadium, delivering a gritty performance to claim a hard-fought win thanks to goals from Alex Lacazette and Reiss Nelson.
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