Akpom scores and Willock impresses as Arsenal beat MLS All-Stars


Arsenal registered their first victory of pre-season, with Chuba Akpom scoring the decisive goal in a 2-1 win over MLS All-Stars.

Joel Campbell gave Arsenal an early lead from the penalty spot, but the Gunners’ old nemesis Didier Drogba pounced upon an error from Krystian Bielik to make it 1-1. 

Akpom, however, was alert to finish from close range late on following good work from Chris Willock and Nacho Monreal as Arsenal’s preparations for the new campaign stepped up a gear.

Willock, one of several youngsters who played a part in the second-half, was particularly impressive, with the winger showcasing his excellent close control and his ability to take players on. The England youth international has also improved physically and should make his competitive debut for the Arsenal first-team at some point this season.

Akpom, meanwhile, will be delighted to have found the net again in a friendly, with the youngster enhancing his cause for first-team involvement, especially with Theo Walcott having again flattered to deceive.

As far as the club’s other youngsters are concerned, Zelalem, a United States youth international, was extremely composed on the ball and played some slick passes, whilst Reine-Adelaide, who has officially been promoted to the first-team squad, showed glimpses of his potential even if he did tend to overcomplicate play at times.

Bielik, meanwhile, may have made that aforementioned error, but that was out of keeping with the rest of the Poland youth international’s display in the first-half. Deployed at centre-back alongside new signing Rob Holding, Bielik read the game well and made some timely interventions. His mistake was seized upon, however, and the 18-year-old will have learnt a valuable lesson about the importance of concentration in first-team football.

Holding was impressive on his first outing for the Gunners, although Calum Chambers, who played alongside him in the second-half, looked out of sorts again.

Some of the senior players who featured caught the eye, including Granit Xhaka, who showcased his range of long and short passes. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Campbell and Mohamed Elneny also impressed and at this point in time it would be difficult to predict Arsene Wenger’s starting line-up for the Liverpool game, with several players in contention for inclusion, particularly in midfield.

The likes of Willock, Akpom, Zelalem, Reine-Adelaide and Bielik, as well as Alex Iwobi, should have another opportunity to prove their credentials when Arsenal face Chivas in their next friendly.




    1. Yes he has made several mistakes and I think he’s better in midfield. Last night, however, his performance was very good until that error.

      On Friday, 29 July 2016, Jeorge Bird's Arsenal Youth wrote:


      1. Oh I see mr bird some people make regular mistakes but it is ok they are not error prone, because they cost 2.5 million and can make as many mistakes as they want and still get your full support.like l have pointed out to you before, write what you see and not what you feel.we the public want true reflections.

  1. the youngsters really impressed me with their performances, before our final four changes of Jeff, akpom, willock n zelalem it was like the all stars had taken control of the game and i was like hope they wont overpower these kids and win this game because arsenal playing tempo had dropped but when they came in they gave good account of themselves and the team turn the game back and controlled it, the only player whom failed to impress me is walcot throughout the whole game, instead of him to improve his game as he grows old, the opposite is what he is doing. willock gat good feet n control but he needs 2 do a lot of weights in order 2 muscle his way past defenders, there was a time he tried powering the all star’s right back and all that happened was him hitting the wall, bounced back and fall then the defender laughed because their statures were in opposite directions. zelalem keeps it simple, akpom waited for his chance and took it, jeff somtimes overdo things but he is promising, holding held the back well n dat was a good debut for him n xhaka, martinez was up to task when called upon, bielik tried apart from the mistake that led to the goal, chambers did owkay but wasn’t at his best, the whole team team tried but they need to be sharper when the league commences….

  2. Great to see the youngsters doing g well although I agree with those above Bielik is very prone to mistakes at CB and looks a very much more composed player in midfield, maybe he is due a lian spell

  3. Jeorge what do you think will happen with Ainsley Maitland Niles next season? I take it he’s missing the pre season games due to his involvement with England u-19’s which is a shame as it would’ve been great to see him with the first team squad. You reckon he’ll go out on loan again?

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