Four things we noticed: Real Madrid v Arsenal

Alex Lacazette

Our US tour ended in dramatic fashion with four goals, two red cards and - ultimately - a penalty shootout defeat in Washington DC.

Here are four things we noticed...


Sokratis' appearance ended before the first half did, and it's hard not to sympathise with him. He started the game like a train, heading away brilliantly as Madrid threatened in the opening moments, and saving us again with a perfectly-timed, last-ditch block. Sokratis produced another crunching tackle just before we went two up, but he fell victim to two harsh decisions in the space of two minutes. His second 'offence' looked like no more than a collision, and Sokratis reacted to his red card by drop-kicking the ball away in disgust. No wonder - it was a soft dismissal.


If Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is on the pitch he tends takes our penalties, but on this occasion the Golden Boot winner stepped aside for Alex Lacazette to do the honours. The last time that happened it was a gesture to help Laca get his confidence back with a spot-kick against Stoke, but this time it's more likely that Laca wanted to finish the work he'd started. It was Laca's attempt that Nacho handled, but our France striker did get the goal he deserved - even if he did manage to hit both posts before his penalty crossed the line. 


Joe Willock has been one of the many success stories of our US tour and he took his chance again in Washington DC. While Granit Xhaka held down the middle of the pitch, Joe had a more mobile role, drifting right and left to offer himself and get involved in the play. His touch was sure, his passing was positive and he pressed with great vigour as we dominated the first half. He was taken off at half-time as Unai Emery plugged the gap left by Sokratis' red card, but this was another accomplished display. 


The media seats at FedExField are positioned behind one of the goals, and for this game that end of the ground was filled by Real Madrid fans. So we had a perfect view of a Barcelona fan in a Lionel Messi shirt as he strolled nonchalantly into the mass of white shirts. Not a good idea. His arrival was greeted with the derision you might expect, but he was rescued in the nick of time - Madrid equalised and the fans cut short their abuse to celebrate the goal. The Messi fan probably won't do that again.

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