By Chris Harris at Ullevi Stadium
Arsenal will go into the new campaign on a high after coming from behind to win in Gothenburg, but their final pre-season game was marred by an injury to Gabriel.
Sergio Aguero converted Raheem Sterling’s cross to give Manchester City the lead but Arsene Wenger’s side created the better chances in the first half.
They made amends after the break. Alex Iwobi’s unerring finish drew Arsenal level and Theo Walcott - who set up Iwobi - darted through to collect Alexis’ pass and score a stylish second.
Alexis hit the bar with a brilliant free-kick and Walcott brought the best out of England goalkeeper Joe Hart before a defensive mix-up saw Chuba Akpom score Arsenal’s third.
Kelexhi Iheanacho headed in to give City hope and, although the Gunners held on, their victory was tainted by the sight of Gabriel being stretchered off in stoppage time.
SETTING THE SCENE
Arsenal’s pre-season journey has taken in four countries in 16 days and it ended here in Sweden at the Ullevi. Built for the 1958 World Cup, this is where John Jensen scored in the 1992 European Championship final and Britain’s Jonathan Edwards broke the world triple jump record in 1995.
With Arsenal a hop, skip and jump away from a new season, Wenger’s teamsheet could drop a hint or two about his line-up for the Premier League opener against Liverpool.
Alexis and Ramsey saw their first action since shining on the international stage this summer, the Chilean at centre forward and the Welshman in the No 10 role. Granit Xhaka, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Petr Cech were among nine changes with only Gabriel and Coquelin retained from Friday’s starting line-up in Norway.
City manager Pep Guardiola fielded new signing Nolito and perennial threat Aguero. Former Gunner Gael Clichy started and another Arsenal old boy, Bacary Sagna, was on the bench.
The Ullevi is neutral turf for these sides but the red-and-white shirts easily outnumbered the sky blue ones, vocal Arsenal fans packing out the stadium’s largest terrace.
They were rewarded with a promising start from Wenger’s side.
Alexis robbed Fernando inside the first few minutes and was hauled back by the City defender. Gabriel headed wide from Ramsey’s resulting free-kick.
Ramsey went even closer with a header of his own after Alexis picked out his run into the box, and Oxlade-Chamberlain almost reprised his Lens chip with an effort that bounced wide.
Excellent pressing from Oxlade-Chamberlain earned the next chance. The England man blocked Aleksandar Kolarov’s attempted clearance and then bypassed the stranded Willy Caballero to find Coquelin. To City’s relief, his shot was blocked.
Aguero looked City’s chief threat and he sped away from a challenge only for a deflection to take the sting out of his shot. But the Argentine made no mistake with his next chance, a first-time finish across Cech from Sterling’s precise cross.
Mohamed Elneny, Calum Chambers and Walcott came on at the break, and the latter was instrumental in Arsenal’s equaliser.
Hector Bellerin’s searching ball down the right was pursued by Walcott, and he waited before measuring a cross to Iwobi, who was lurking with intent on the edge of the box. The 20-year-old steadied himself and found the far corner.
It was no more than Arsenal deserved and they continued to play the more fluent football, almost taking the lead when a blockbuster of a free-kick from Alexis cannoned off the crossbar with Hart grasping at thin air.
The England goalkeeper kept City level moments later when a sharp exchange of passes ended with Walcott fizzing a shot towards the far corner. Hart’s fingertips denied his international colleague.
Jesus Navas forced a fine save from Cech and Bellerin’s timely block denied Sterling as City responded, but Walcott stole the show with Arsenal’s second goal.
Darting in from the right flank, he exchanged passes with Alexis before flicking the ball nonchalantly over Hart. A sure sign that Walcott’s confidence is coming back at just the right time.
Akpom gave Arsenal some breathing space with a simple finish following a defensive mix-up, but Iheanacho headed City back into the game.
A save from Cech denied Yaya Toure but the game ended on a low note for the Gunners - and especially for Gabriel.
Stay tuned for more polls soon.
Copyright 2018 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.