Three things we noticed v Barca

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

We slipped to a late defeat in our final match of pre-season against Barcelona - and here are three things we noticed in Catalonia:

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's goal, near the end of the first half, was trademark Auba. The two quick touches on the turn to shift the ball on     to his right foot inside the area were followed by a shot that flashed past Neto, before he could react.
This was the keeper's first appearance at the Nou Camp, after signing from Valencia in the summer. In fact he must be sick of the sight of Auba - the striker fired a hat-trick past him at the Mestalla in the Europa League semi-final back in May.
The move leading to the goal was well worked too, starting in our own penalty area and passing through five players before Aubameyang rattled home.
The home crowd was stunned, and responded with chants of 'Messi, Messi' but for once it wasn't the Argentine taking centre stage at the Nou Camp.

The boys celebrate Auba's goal

The boys celebrate Auba's goal


Coming up against the likes of Ousmane Dembele, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann on his debut – at their home ground – is as good a defensive test as you can face in pre-season. 

For the most part, the starting back four of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Calum Chambers, Sokratis and Nacho Monreal were equal to what the hosts could throw at them.
At times it was all hands to the pump, especially when Joe Willock demonstrated his awareness to make a last-gasp defensive clearance off the line.
We weren't afraid to play out from the back as well, keeping the ball well under pressure and regularly taking risks in our own box as the Barcelona forwards pressed high up the pitch.
A lapse of concentration from Maitland-Niles proved to be the turning point, though. His own goal allowed Barcelona back in the game, just at a time when the crowd were becoming restless.
It allowed Suarez to show his class with a late winner, and leave us empty-handed on a night that had promised so much.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

The Joan Gamper Trophy is Barcelona's equivalent of the Emirates Cup, which has been held annually since 1966. The Spanish giants have won every edition since 2012, and this was their 42nd triumph overall.
It was our first appearance in the showpiece game, which the hosts also use as a presentation ahead of the new season. Before kick-off each member of the squad was individually introduced to the near sell-out crowd, and captain Lionel Messi addressed the fans, though he wasn't included in the matchday squad.
He received the biggest cheer of course, but new signings Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie De Jong also raised the roof when they were welcomed on to the pitch. Both were named in the starting XI.
The La Liga season kicks off just a week after the Premier League, so this was a vital part of the hosts' preparations too. And the game was played with an intensity befitting the occasion and venue.
A thorough workout just seven days before the Premier League season kicks off was just what Unai Emery ordered, and result apart, he will be pleased with a productive night's work.

The Nou Camp

The Nou Camp









Premier League
The Emirates FA Cup