Analysis

Al-Nasr SC v Arsenal: Three things we noticed

Mesut Ozil

We concluded our training camp in Dubai on Tuesday with a 3-2 win over Al-Nasr SC, thanks to goals from Carl Jenkinson, Alexandre Lacazette and Tyreece John-Jules.

But what did we learn? Read on to find out...

FROM TRAINING GROUND TO PITCH

He might not be the most regular scorer at the club - he's claimed just one in his 69 competitive appearances so far – but Carl Jenkinson's first-half equaliser won't have come as a shock to anyone who witnessed Monday's training session in Dubai.

The right back scored a screamer in the small-sided game at the end of the session, arrowing a shot into the top corner with the outside of his right boot.

His effort against Al Nasr wasn't in that class, but he deserved it for his initial shot that crashed back off the near post after being set up neatly by Denis Suarez.

In fact it as one of several telling contributions from Suarez, who impressed throughout the training camp, especially with his two-goal showing in the first training session out here last week.

He's looked determined, direct and dynamic all week – promising signs from the on-loan midfielder as we head into the final crunch months of the season.


TYREECE TAKES HIS CHANCE

Of course this match will soon be forgotten when the team return home and refocus on the Premier League run in, but for several Arsenal youngsters it's a fixture than will live forever in the memory, especially for 18 year old Tyreece John-Jules.

It was the striker's first ever taste of first-team football at any level, and after being introduced for the final 20 minutes or so, he was soon into the action.

A bright spark for the club's youth teams since joining the academy aged eight, he has already scored 12 goals for the youth teams this season - including one very similar to his effort against Al Nasr, which was an exhibition in coolness.

Spending a week in the company of the first-team players, and Alexandre Lacazette especially, is sure to have done his confidence the world of good.

Tyreece may have stolen most of the headlines, but it was also a special night for several of the other academy products in action - notably 18-year-olds Xavier Amaechi, James Olayinka and Dominic Thompson, who also all pulled on an Arsenal shirt for the first-time in a first-team fixture.

Being only a friendly match, it won't count as a competitive debut, but it's certainly a positive step in that direction.

None of our international players were part of the training camp in Dubai, giving a chance to several young players to enjoy a week around the first-team scene. They certainly made the most of it.


OZIL'S ENDURING APPEAL

This match marked the official opening of the Al-Maktoum Stadium, and His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum – who the whole squad met on Sunday – was the guest of honour.

But as usual, the biggest cheer of the evening was reserved for Mesut Ozil. He's been the star attraction ever since we landed last Thursday – it's difficult to overstate his appeal in the country.

Fans, officials, media – they were all lining up for a selfie with the playmaker after the game – just as they were during the Royal Palace visit.

And he repaid the fans during his 70 minutes on the pitch. The highlight of which was his neat back-flick to set up Lacazette for the second goal.