#EmiratesCup: Three things we noticed


Despite a promising first-half performance with a clinical finish from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, we were beaten 2-1 in the Emirates Cup on Sunday, following two second-half strikes from Moussa Dembélé. 

Here are the three things we noticed... 


Anyone who followed our USA Tour will already be aware of the positive impact Joe Willock has been making in midfield in recent weeks, and he shone again today in front of the Emirates Stadium faithful.

Having been talked up in glowing terms by Zinedine Zidane after our most recent friendly against Real Madrid, the Hale End graduate continued his promising pre-season with a fine all-round showing, especially in the first half.

Playing in an advanced position ahead of Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi in a 4-2-3-1 formation, he saw plenty of the ball in the opening half, breaking into the area to get on the end of some nice moves, and only being let down by his finishing.

Willock, who turns 20 later this month, moved into central midfield in a 4-4-2 after the break, and set up a great chance for Eddie Nketiah with a right-wing cross.

He made his Premier League debut away to Newcastle back in April 2018, and the teenager has already staked a strong claim to be involved there again when we kick off the new season away to Newcastle in two weeks' time.



The game was flipped on its head inside two second-half minutes.

There were 20 minutes remaining when Unai Emery introduced Dani Ceballos and Gabriel Martinelli for their first Emirates Stadium outing, and within moments, the latter had the ball in the net.

While the Brazilian teenager was celebrating with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang though, referee Jon Moss disallowed the goal, apparently for handball.

Lyon wasted no time in springing forward themselves, and with Shkodran Mustafi - who had also just entered the pitch - appealing for offside, Moussa Dembele tucked the ball past Bernd Leno to make it 2-1.

We were never able to recover from that position, though both Martinelli and Dani showed some nice touches, as we continued to push for the equaliser that would have taken the game to penalties. 



He's netted 26 goals at Emirates in the past year and a half, and it was like he had never been away as last year's Golden Boot winner netted again back at home during the first half.

Starting from a left-wing position, he was moved to centre forward early on after Alexandre Lacazette was taken off with an ankle injury, and his positioning was perfect to superbly finish Henrikh Mkhitaryan's right wing cross and put us ahead.

The cross was fired in at pace at waist height near the penalty spot, and Aubameyang adjusted his body to divert the ball, right-footed, past Anthony Lopes and into the far corner. 

It was the Gabon striker's second goal in pre-season, following his strike against Real Madrid last week - it looks like he's slipping into gear nicely as the new season approaches.

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