By Isaac Moore at Kenilworth Road
An Arsenal XI finished their pre-season campaign with a heavy defeat to Blue Square Premier side Luton Town.
Steve Gatting’s side conceded four goals in a difficult first half that saw the non-league side score three goals in the space of 12 minutes before a further three goals in the second half completed the rout.
With Chuks Aneke completing his loan move to Crewe and Chuba Akpom being promoted to the first team for the Emirates Cup, Gatting was forced to make three changes to the side that begun the 4-4 draw with Leyton Orient on Tuesday. Julio Pleguezuelo and Alex Iwobi came into the team and Hector Bellerin replaced Leander Siemann at right-back.
After their encouraging comeback against Leyton Orient in midweek, the visitors made a bright start to the game with Isaac Hayden shooting inches wide in the second minute after linking up with Thomas Eisfeld. The German then went close but could only shoot straight at Elliot Justham in the seventh minute.
The Hatters then took the lead in the 19th minute when Jake Howells was played in and his shot rebounded off Deyan Illiev’s legs into the path of Mark Cullen who made no mistake with the goal gaping.
Gatting's team struggled to get a foothold after going behind and were two down on the half-hour mark. The Gunners failed to clear a long ball before the ball was eventually deflected into Cullen’s path and the forward slammed a left-footed shot past the helpless Iliev.
It got worse for the visitors three minutes later when Shaun Whalley was tripped in the box giving the referee no choice but to point to the spot. Whalley duly picked himself up and lifted a deft chip over Iliev.
Luton’s fourth came from a corner after Iliev had brilliant tipped over a dipping free-kick from Solomon Taiwo. The resulting set-piece was swung into the near post by Dave Martin and was met by Jake Howells to nod home in a crowded six-yard box.
The hosts began the second-half as they ended the first putting the Gunners under pressure with a mixture of long balls and good build-up play and they added a fifth in the 52nd minute. Arsenal failed to clear a long ball and Howells was first to latch onto it before lobbing his second over Iliev.
Luton were now in total charge and substitute Andre Gray made it six after Howells dispossessed Nico Yennaris before setting up the substitute to shoot under through Iliev’s legs.
The introductions of Dan Crowley and Anthony Jeffrey did little to change things. Iwobi had the visitors’ best effort with 12 minutes to go when he fizzed a shot just over after a good run from Eisfeld.
Gray then completed a miserable afternoon for Arsenal with two minutes to go, sliding past Iliev after being put clean through.
Copyright 2022 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.