Arsenal 5 Barcelona 3: Gunners show off firepower with Bukayo Saka and Leandro Trossard starring in LA kicking match | The Sun

Arsenal 5 Barcelona 3: Gunners show off firepower with Bukayo Saka and Leandro Trossard starring in LA kicking match | The Sun

July 27, 2023

ARSENAL and Barcelona went to war in a pre-season match that was about as friendly as a smack in the mouth.

Mikel Arteta had insisted on the eve of this game that his team could be "more physical than you would believe".

And they certainly lived up to that boast as they went toe to toe with the Spanish giants in a Los Angeles kicking match.

On a pig of a pitch in Stan Kroenke’s state-of-the-art SoFi Stadium, Arteta was probably the most relieved man in the US that he decided not to risk £105million Declan Rice after he complained of a stiff calf.

Because there were a staggering 24 fouls and four yellow cards in the first half alone as the hopeless American ref struggled to keep control.

Quite how Barca center-half Ronald Araujo managed to stay on the pitch after committing three brutal fouls as well as conceding a penalty area handball in the first half-hour was a mystery.


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And it was only when Barcelona boss Xavi decided to change his entire team at half-time that some semblance of order was restored.

No one suffered more than Bukayo Saka, who was once again kicked from pillar to post as he tormented Marcos Alonso down the wing.

But the England star kept coming back for more and had the last laugh with a goal and an assist to twice cancel out goals from Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha.

First, he capitalised on a dreadful first touch by former Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen to hammer a 13th-minute shot past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

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And on the stroke of half-time, his electrifying pace took him to the byline to lift the ball into the box for Kai Havertz to finish off Martin Odegaard’s header.

But it wasn’t all plain sailing for Arsenal’s Player of the Year, who dragged a 21st-minute penalty wide and volleyed a glorious chance over when he really should have hit the target.

Yet that miss was quickly forgotten when Leandro Trossard fired Arsenal ahead for the first time in the game with a lovely 56th-minute step over and shot inside the far post.

The £21million Belgian made sure of victory when he applied another impressive finish to Kieran Tierney’s 78th-minute cross.

Ferran Torres briefly threatened to force a penalty shoot-out that absolutely no one wanted when he pounced on Rob Holding’s slip to reduce the arrears.

But Fabio Vieira ended those concerns with a 90th-minute screamer into the top corner to finish off Arsenal’s US adventure.

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