Feature

Arsenal v Lazio: Five things we noticed

We finished our pre-season campaign with a 2-0 win against Lazio on Saturday evening.

You can watch then highlights above, then check out the five things you should know from the game in Stockholm.

Torreira is more than a fighter

Lucas Torreira’s biting tackle on Marco Parolo in Stockholm left the Lazio man yelping in pain on the touchline. But our new signing showed that he is more than just a scrapper in his first appearance for the club. Torreira fills midfield holes quickly and efficiently and screens the centre backs, but his touch is sure and he uses the ball well. This was a steady start for the Uruguayan.

Lucas Torreira

Lucas Torreira


Nelson eases off on the ‘handbrake’

Reiss Nelson isn’t even 19 until December but he looks more and more at home in the first team. He lost the ball a few times here but, more often than not, he drifted effortlessly past challenges, made things happen and even sniffed out a goal. Reiss made a solid but cautious start to his first-team career last season, and he looks ready to remove the ‘handbrake’ when he gets opportunities in 2018/19.


Ainsley can solve left-back issue

Sead Kolasinac is out for eight to 10 weeks and Nacho Monreal hasn’t featured in pre-season, so it looks like Ainsley Maitland-Niles will get the nod against Manchester City. That shouldn’t worry anyone - Ainsley showed again in Stockholm that he has pace and calmness in abundance. He’ll need both to contain Riyad Mahrez and Leroy Sane, who will switch flanks at the Emirates.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Ainsley Maitland-Niles


Guendouzi has the human touch

The 19-year-old has been one of the standout players in pre-season but his popularity extends beyond the pitch. Matteo was at the heart of the fun and games when the players went through a ‘rondo’ drill in the pre-match warm-up, at one point lying down at full stretch to try and retrieve the ball with his hands. And at half-time he made a point of going over to his teammates as they came off the pitch, to praise and encourage them.

Matteo Guendouzi

Matteo Guendouzi


Emery experiments

We started with a front two of Lacazette and Nketiah with Nelson and Iwobi wide and Torreira and Xhaka in the centre of midfield - a 4-2-2-2 which looked more like a 4-4-2 when we didn’t have the ball. But that changed at half-time when Aubameyang replaced Nketiah. Auba went to the left, Iwobi moved to the right and Lacazette stayed central. Unai Emery has used every opportunity he can to try out different formations and partnerships.

Unai Emery

Unai Emery