Emirates Cup report- Iwobi scores as Arsenal are kings of Lyon

Fresh from winning the Barclays Asia Trophy, Arsenal closed in on further pre-season silverware as they thrashed Lyon 6-0 in their opening Emirates Cup fixture this afternoon.

The headline event from a youth perspective was the performance of Alex Iwobi, with the Hale End product joining Olivier Giroud, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla on the scoresheet, whilst also demonstrating some neat link-up play and having another effort ruled out for offside.

Chuba Akpom, on as a substitute, came perilously close to finding the net himself, with the youngster’s effort hitting the outside of the post. There were further positives, too, with French prospect Jeff Reine-Adelaide being introduced, along with Isaac Hayden, who made a welcome return to first-team action after his injury problems.




Oxlade Chamberlain-Ozil-Iwobi


Subs: Arteta, Cazorla, Akpom, Walcott, Hayden, Reine-Adelaide. Not used: Cech, Bellerin, Gabriel, Chambers, Monreal. 

It was an excellent performance from Arsenal, and one that called to mind their triumph over Benfica this time last year, but both sides were a little slow to get going in the opening exchanges.

Iwobi, stationed on the left flank, looked bright early on, but the first opportunity of note fell to Lyon, with Clinton Njie forcing a save from Emiliano Martinez.

It wasn’t long, though, until Arsenal started to get into their groove, with Ramsey and Giroud both having chances before Lyon suffered a major disappointment when Clement Grenier had to be substituted because of injury.

Grenier’s withdrawal certainly had an adverse effect on the French side, with Arsenal proceeding to dominate thereafter. The Gunners nearly took the lead when Ramsey’s long pass found Ozil, but the German was unable to find the net.

Shortly afterwards, however, Ozil created the first goal of the game as his free-kick was headed in by Olivier Giroud, who opened the scoring.

From there Lyon were simply unable to withstand the waves of Arsenal pressure. The second goal was an excellent free-flowing team move, with Ramsey and Giroud combining to find Oxlade-Chamberlain, who finished adroitly.

Arsenal were determined to inflict as much damage upon Lyon as possible and the third goal followed very quickly. Ramsey was again involved in the build-up, with Iwobi this time providing the finishing touch and doing his first-team prospects no harm at all.

Iwobi then had the ball in the net again and it seemed almost too good to be true. Indeed it was, with the youngster’s effort being correctly ruled out for offside, but his earlier goal had clearly provided the 19-year-old with a huge confidence boost.

Arsenal continued to dominate, with Ozil playing a clever pass through to Ramsey, who made it 4-0.

At the other end Martinez then had to make a rare save to deny the much talked about Alexandre Lacazette. You could say that there was certainly a lack of zest about Lyon’s performance today.

Somewhat inevitably, the intensity levels dropped a little after the interval, but Oxlade-Chamberlain was still lively and the England international had a shot deflected wide.

Giroud and Debuchy then came close to scoring, with the fifth goal eventually being scored by Ozil, who applied the finishing touch to another intricate move involving Ramsey and Giroud.

Arsenal then made a triple substitution, with Akpom, Mikel Arteta and Cazorla all being introduced. Akpom, deployed on the left flank, was eager to make an impression, but failed to get his shot away properly following a good run.

As the game wore on Arsene Wenger made further changes, with Reine-Adelaide, Theo Walcott and eventually Hayden all being brought on. Reine-Adelaide made the biggest impression of the trio with some neat skill, but it was one of the more experienced players, Cazorla, who concluded the scoring with a clever free-kick that was sent underneath the jumping wall.

There was still time for Akpom to strike the outside of the post at the conclusion of a highly eventful game, but this was a hugely positive outing for Arsenal as they won their third pre-season fixture in succession.

They will aim to continue this momentum against Wolfsburg tomorrow, with Wenger set to make numerous changes to his side.

To reflect on today’s proceedings, Iwobi will be delighted with his first appearance at Emirates Stadium for the first-team, whilst Reine-Adelaide, on this evidence, could be set for involvement in the Capital One Cup this season.



  1. What is now clear is that Akpom need to keep his feet on the ground. He showed his immaturity.
    He tried too much to score his own goal to the detriment of the team. Whenever he had opportunities to pass to a better placed teammate, but always selfishly tried and failed to score. To me, that shows that He is not ready for the first team.
    On the other hand, Alex Iwobi showed composure and maturity beyond his age. He grew in the game. He was getting tired toward the end, however most of his play lead to think that he is going to make it at Arsenal.
    Same thing about Adelaide. Quick feet and intelligent passing augurs well for his career at Arsenal.
    Talking about intelligent passing, Coquelin really impressed me. His long passes seem to always find a partner. His quick switch of play created a lot of dangerous situation. With better control and more accurate shooting by his teammates, he could have had two assists.
    Isaac Hayden may be the reason why no defensive midfield had been purchased. However after all the time wasted by injuries, I think that it would be better for him to go on loan and play first team football. The problem is that DM is such a crucial position, only desperate teams or short of number teams will play a young loaned there. At the beginning of the season teams are not there yet. So deciding where to go could decide the rest of his career. After what Charlton has done for Alex Song and Francis Coquelin, getting there may be the safest option.

    1. A bit harsh the comparison of iwobi and akpom, it was 2 different phases of the match. Akpom trying to score wad not to the detriment of the team, at that stage we were like 6-0 up, his miss was hardly crucial. If he done that at 1-1 with a better option available then fair enough.

      Have to say attacking wise, we appear to be blessed, right through the squad. I agree about the Dm role though, if flamini goes, coquelin gets injured, we are faced with no legs arteta or untried kids. I still think in arteta, rosicky and flamini we have 2 old injury prone players too many if not 3.

      1. Not that harsh, because every time I have seen played he does the same thing.
        In Singapore, because he scored people forget that his overall game was poor. He could not hold the ball up. His link up play was abysmal. He got away with bad first touch on his physical attribute. In the premier league or even the Championship he will be facing players physically as strong and as quick as him but with better tactical awareness. There is a reason why all his loans had not been successful.
        Today he ran into blind alleys and considered passing only after he had been blocked. He blew a 4v1 opportunity because he could not lift his head. The recent history of Arsenal Academy is listed with youth team players with brilliant prowess but never made the grade at Arsenal because they could not understand that they are part of a team. Their interaction with the team is what make them special. Remember Quincy Owusu-Abeye, quick, strong but same infuriating tendency of wanting to take the entire opposite team on his own.
        Yesterday Arsène Wenger in his interview praised Alex Iwobi for his movement and his selfishness. He enthused on Jeff Reine-Adelaïde calling him a special talent. No comment on Akpom.
        Today Compare Akpom’s performance with that of Jeff Reine-Adelaide. Knowing that Adelaïde had spent less than 2 weeks training with the first team: a week before Asia trip and a week since their return.
        Both Alex Iwobi and Jeff Reine-Adelaïde will spend the season at Arsenal, no such promises were made regarding Akpom. The issue is not of technical ability but of temperament and maturity.
        Since Bendtner (and look at how that turn out), not a single striker has made the grade or even looking like making the grade at Arsenal.
        That is what Akpom has to beat. No point in over hyping him, before Arsène jettison him out of AFC.

    2. Akpom’s an out and out striker and has that goal greed. He’s much less effective in other positions but still a good lad.
      Iwobi is a winger with an eye for goal.

  2. We have strength in depth in the midfield areas. At DM, both Ramsey and Wilshere can cover in the absence of Coquelin.

    It would be a shame that this may mean limiting the prospects of players like, not just Hayden, but also Bielik, Zelalem and Crowley to play alongside the Seniors.

    Anyway, a great performance from the Arsenal. We can afford to play a totally different team against Wolfsburg! Hope Gnabry has a game too.

  3. I would like to see Crowley bin given a chance too, as for Akpom. maybe b cos he didn’t play in his favorite position but for iwobi & Adelaide Arsenal has gotten a brighter future more so Bielik should also be given a run out. PLEASE what’s d score of the under 18s friendly match played on Friday?

  4. Akpom did what Alexis does most of the time in the same positions, Arsenal fans constantly complain that we try to walk the ball into the net too much and yet when some one has a shot they complain he should have passed it.

    1. I haven’t heard anyone say that in ages maybe even years. The fact is when there is someone else clearly open Alexis will pass and he creates chances as is. Chuba doesn’t have the goal scoring reputation of Alexis…yet and doesn’t create chances which would allow people to forgive him.

  5. Jeorge, the Arsenal XI match against Boreham Wood, meant to be played last Friday, was it cancelled altogether or postponed to a new date? Thanks

      1. Thanks Jeorge. We look forward to hear more news on this tournament in South Africa as it played out.

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