Arsenal maintained their unbeaten pre-season record yesterday with a penalty shoot-out victory against Bayern Munich on a hot and humid night in Shanghai.
In testing conditions, the Germans settled first and went close through James Rodriguez before they were awarded a penalty when Ainsley Maitland-Niles was adjudged to have fouled Juan Bernat in the area.
Robert Lewandowski made no mistake from the spot, but we responded brightly and came close to equalising when Mesut Ozil saw his shot saved after a raking move up the length of the pitch.
It may have been nearly eight o’clock at night, but with the temperature still touching 30 degrees, the players understandably took every chance to take on more fluids.
After one such interval, we restarted brightly and Alexandre Lacazette had a golden opportunity to equalise when played clean through – only to see his shot saved.
Bayern were always going to be a big step up in terms of pre-season opponents, and so they proved, twice going close through Rodriguez and again through Thomas Muller before the interval.
Petr Cech was the busier of the goalkeepers in the first half, and he was called into action once again at the start of the second period to deny James and then David Alaba.
Substitute Theo Walcott would go close in the closing stages with a curling effort that was well held, and it looked as though we were heading for our first defeat of pre-season… before a late twist.
Our injury-time equaliser came as the ball was slipped to Ramsey on the left, and he clipped the ball into the area to the onrushing Alex Iwobi who placed his header in to spark wild celebrations among our Chinese fanbase.
That was the last act of normal time, so the match went to penalties – with Emi Martinez the hero as he saved from David Alaba and Juan Bernat to secure us the victory.
The victory saw Arsenal lift a trophy at the first opportunity of the season. Although we are unsure what trophy it was. Probably one for being best dressed team as we wore our dazzling pink strip, customized with the sponsors name in Chinese.
Up next for the Gunners is Chelsea at the Bird’s Nest Stadium on Saturday. The game will be live on ITV, as Arsenal will look to win their second trophy of the season – as long as Vic Akers remembered to pack it.
Win Saturday and Arsenal will have a chance of completing a historic pre-season as they enter the highly competitive Emirates Cup – a competition Arsenal have had a lot of success in recently; winning 4 of the last 8.
All of this is good news in Arsenal’s attempt to keep Alexis Sanchez, who is reportedly motivated by trophies, not money. Whilst he missed out on the chance to lift the trophy last night, he will realise success breads success, and a pre-season treble, and even an unbeaten pre season, matching the Invincible’s of 2003/04, will be a sign of good things to come for the club.
Obviously this article is in jest. pre season is mainly about fitness, not winning. I imagine there are some idiots out there who will take this article seriously and say look at that AKB Keenos celebrating a pre season trophy. Well the jokes on you lads.