Post-Match Report

Report: Arsenal 2-1 AC Milan

Martin Odegaard celebrates scoring against AC Milan

AC Milan -

Al Maktoum Stadium
Dubai Super Cup
Dubai Super Cup
  Arsenal
      
                  Odegaard (21)
                   Nelson (41)
            
   crest
Arsenal
Odegaard (21)
Nelson (41)
2 1
  AC Milan
      
              F.Tomori (78)
          
   crest
AC Milan
F.Tomori (78)
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Martin Odegaard’s wonderful free-kick and Reiss Nelson’s deflected shot were enough to give us back-to-back wins in our mid-season training camp, and secure the Dubai Super Cup in the process.
 
In a keenly-contested friendly, we came under pressure for spells against Milan, but our two first-half goals were enough for the victory, despite the Italians scoring late on.
 
It means we maintained our winning form, ahead of the Premier League restart in less than two weeks’ time.

06:00

Highlights | Arsenal 2-1 AC Milan bitesize highlights.


Under early pressure

This game marked the culmination of a week-long warm weather break in Dubai, and we came into it buoyed by an excellent performance in the 3-0 win over Lyon in the same stadium last week.

Thomas Partey and Ben White were both named in the starting line-up for the first time after returning from the World Cup in Qatar, as our return to Premier League action on December 26 hovered into view. The two saw plenty of the ball in the opening 45 minutes before being replaced at the interval.
 
But it was the Italian giants, currently sitting second in Serie A, who looked more dangerous in the early exchanges. The closest either side came in the opening 10 minutes was when former Liverpool striker Divock Origi turned Rob Holding on the edge of the box, before curling his shot against the top of the crossbar.
 
Holding was in the right place at the right time shortly afterwards though, heading away at the far post after Milan won several corners in quick succession.

Martin’s magic

After soaking up the pressure, we opened the scoring in fine style. Eddie Nketiah was tripped just outside the box, and up stepped Odegaard who arced his left-footed strike over the wall and beyond the despairing keeper.
 
Odegaard was lurking for his second shortly afterwards, but Kieran Tierney’s cutback was just beyond him, and at the other end Origi headed wide from an excellent position right in front of Karl Hein’s goal.
 
Shortly before half-time we doubled our advantage. Fabio Vieira won the ball high up the pitch, burst into the box and laid it off to Nelson. The winger, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Saturday, calmly took a touch, then dispatched his shot home, via a deflection from Odegaard’s boot. But the initial shot was on target, and Nelson was certainly claiming it.
 
It had been a fairly even half in fairness, but we had certainly been more efficient in front of goal, and we continued to create chances after the restart. Mohamed Elneny sent a long-range shot just over before Vieira was also just off target when set up by Nelson.

A close finish

Just as last week’s game against Lyon, this friendly was played with plenty of commitment by both sides. Indeed Nketiah and Elneny both picked up yellow cards in the second half.
 
Milan pulled one back with a simple header as the game entered the last 15 minutes. They won a free-kick near the byline and England defender Fikayo Tomori was left unmarked in front of goal to head home.
 
Nathan Butler-Oyedeji, Amario Cozier-Duberry, Lino Sousa, Matt Smith and Ethan Nwaneri came on for the last few minutes, as we held on to take three points from our final group game.

Penalties

As with every game in this four-team Dubai Super Cup, we concluded with a penalty shootout to see which team earned a bonus point.
 
Karl Hein made four saves out of five in the first shootout, and made another here to deny Brahim Diaz as we triumphed 4-3.
 
Here’s how the shootout unfolded:
 
Cedric – Scored – 1-0
Bennacer – Scored - 1-1
Gabriel – Scored - 2-1
Diaz – Saved – 2-1
Marquinhos – Scored – 3-1
Tonali – Scored 3-2
Elneny – Scored – 4-2
Lazetic – Scored – 4-3
Smith – Saved – 4-3
Krunic – Missed – 4-3

What it means

We have won the Dubai Super Cup, with one game of the competition still to play.
 
We will definitely top the group with eight points, before AC Milan face Liverpool in the final match at the Al-Maktoum Stadium on Friday

What’s next

Our final mid-season friendly before the restart is against Juventus at the Emirates on Saturday, December 17 at 6pm (UK time) - get your tickets 
 
Then the Premier League resumes at last, on December 26, when we host West Ham United in an 8pm (UK time) kick-off.

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