News

Arsenal 3-1 Chivas - Match report

Rob Holding celebrates

By Josh James at StubHub Center

Summary

Rob Holding scored his first goal for the club as Arsenal rounded off the week in America in winning style.

Read more from our tour to the US:

The centre back, who only signed from Bolton nine days ago, broke the deadlock late in the first half. He was in the right place to convert Calum Chambers' knockback from a deep free-kick.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain doubled the lead with a wonderful solo goal early in the second half and Chuba Akpom - the match-winner against MLS All-Stars on Friday - made it three.

ADVERT

Chivas pulled one back from the penalty spot through Angel Zaldivar, and they continued to raise the intensity in the latter stages.

But Arsenal, wearing the striking new third kit of dark blue and neon yellow, were not pulling out of any tackles. Mathieu Debuchy, Francis Coquelin and Granit Xhaka in particular showed their feisty side in a competitive match in front of 24,000 fans.

Setting the Scene

LA Galaxy's StubHub Center was bathed in glorious Californian sunshine for Arsenal's second and final game of the USA tour.

Santi Cazorla made his first appearance of pre-season, captaining the side, while Xhaka was also in the starting line-up after playing the second half of the win over MLS All-Stars.

Theo Walcott continued up front while Holding also retained his place after playing 90 minutes against the All-Stars. David Ospina started in goal after missing out on Friday.

This game marked the middle of Arsenal's pre-season schedule, but fitness shouldn't be a problem for Chivas - they are already three games into their Mexican league campaign.

Their entire squad consisted solely of Mexican players, including former Fulham defender Carlos Salcido.

First Half

The Arsenal support far outnumbered the Mexicans, and both teams responded to the vociferous fans in a high-tempo first ten minutes.

Cazorla showed his usual nifty footwork a couple of times early on and Walcott so nearly got in behind the last man just past the halfway line, but both goalkeepers remained untested during the opening half hour.

Cazorla was at the heart of the most of the attacking play. He combined well with Francis Coquelin and Xhaka to create a chance for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but he was just beaten to the ball as he bore down on goal.

The opening goal came from a set piece. Cazorla swung in a deep free-kick to Chambers at the far post, who cut the ball back for his England Under-21 team-mate Holding to tuck into the empty net.

 

Rob Holding celebrates

Rob Holding celebrates

 

It was Holding's first goal for the club, and it came just five minutes after he had given the ball away in a dangerous area at the other end. Ospina saved his blushes with a good low save.

Walcott went close just after the goal, having his shot saved at point-black range after Nacho Monreal fired in a low cross.

Oxlade-Chamberlain couldn't find a finish to match his mazy run, and Cazorla saw his cross cut out as the Gunners ended the half well on top.

Second half

Arsenal picked up where they left off and doubled the lead with a fine goal five minutes after the interval.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was the scorer, tricking his way past two players before curling a low left footed effort into the bottom corner.

 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in action against Chivas

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in action against Chivas

 

Half-time substitute Akpom was next to get on the scoresheet. He had scuffed an earlier chance, but made no mistake when Mathieu Debuchy cut the ball back from the right wing. The Frenchman's delivery was perfect and Akpom stuck out his boot to turn the ball in.

The centre forward shot just wide after being played in by the marauding Holding, who ate up 60 yards before slipping through the ball through.

Debuchy fired wide with the goal seemingly at his mercy, then conceded a penalty after tripping Alejandro Zendejas in the box. Zaldivar smacked home from 12 yards.

It gave the Mexicans a new lease of life, and the match threatened to overboil at times, with the referee dishing out several bookings and sending off a Chivas official in the closing stages.

But it was job done for Arsenal, and the unbeaten pre-season schedule extended to three games.