Match Report: Chivas 1-3 Arsenal

chambers and holding

Arsenal rounded off their US tour in style by hitting three goals past Chivas de Guadalajara in what turned out to be a rather fiesty affair in Los Angeles on Sunday evening.

A surprise goal from newcomer Rob Holding, a wonderful solo effort from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and an opportunistic finish from Chuba Akpom all sealed the victory for the Gunners, whilst Angel Valdivar’s effort from the spot proved to be little more than a consolation for the Liga MX outfit.

Wearing their newly-released third kit, Arsenal went into this game fresh off of an entertaining win against the MLS All-Stars in San Jose on Thursday evening and will have been delighted to have made it two wins from two for their games played in the US. The club are still undefeated in pre-season, having also drawn against RC Lens in France before jetting out across the Atlantic.

The game marked the return of Santi Cazorla and David Ospina to the Arsenal team for the first time this pre-season, with the former captaining the side in the injured Per Mertesacker’s absence, whilst new signings Granit Xhaka and Rob Holding were given further chances to impress in the centre of midfield and defence.

Much like the game against the All-Stars three days prior, the match started in a very open fashion with Chivas making a number of long-range efforts that didn’t come close to troubling Ospina in the Arsenal goal. However, after a clumsy pass from Holding left the Arsenal defenders in a two-vs.-two situation, Ospina was called upon to make a smart if relatively routine save down to his right from Daniel Gonzalez’s effort.

Arsenal soon responded with a chance of their own as Xhaka played a perfectly-timed through ball behind the defence and into the path of Theo Walcott, with the speedy Englishman hitting an outside-of-the-boot effort to force a save from Antonio Rodriguez in the Chivas goal.

The opening goal arrived soon after for the travelling side and it came from an unlikely source, with new boy Holding the man who tapped home. After Cazorla hit a deep free-kick to the back post, it was Chambers who met it and played an accurate ball back across the goalmouth to leave Rodriguez stranded and Holding with the easiest of finishes. It’s been a dream start for the boy from Bolton with a goal in his second game for the club.

Arsenal could, and probably should have doubled their lead soon after, with Walcott somehow conspiring to miss from a couple of yards out after meeting Nacho Monreal’s cross. It was Xhaka who made another great ball to find Monreal down the left, but after his ball was played inside into Walcott’s path, the shot was hit right down the goalkeeper’s throat who managed to then hit it away.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain cut in to shoot with his left foot to ensure that Arsenal finished the half on top, and after a plethora of changes at the half-time interval, Oxlade-Chamberlain against attempted to cut-in and score – although this time he pulled it off. After receiving Alex Iwobi’s pass on the right-wing, the Oxlade-Chamberlain beat his man to reach the byline before then hitting the ball inside and behind the defender with heel. Before anyone could get near him he found himself with the time and space to shoot low and hard into the far corner of the net, and in doing so scoring a goal even better than his chip against Lens.

The Gunners were in full flow now and they made it 3-0 minutes later, with substitutes Mathieu Debuchy and Chuba Akpom linking up to wrap the win up for Arsenal. Francis Coquelin spotted Debuchy’s run down the right and found him with ease, meaning all the Frenchman had to do was pull it back for Akpom to poke home after getting ahead of his man.

Both Debuchy and Akpom came close to scoring again in the time that followed with Chivas’ left side frequently looking exposed, but despite mounting pressure Debuchy went from hero to villain as a clumsy tackle in his own area brought down the onrushing Alejando Zendejas to give the home side a penalty.

Valdivar struck his penalty right high and central leaving Emiliano Martinez in the Arsenal goal with no chance, and suddenly Chivas felt they had a chance to earn a draw from the game. Mohamed Elneny nearly scored from a long-range effort but shortly after the Mexican side where incensed when they claimed that they should have had another penalty after the ball struck Holding’s hand, but the referee waved away their protests.

A heated interaction involving Joel Campbell saw the Costa Rican booked along with his opponent, but in the end Arsenal’s defence held firm to seal the 3-1 win despite a spirited comeback from Chivas.

The Arsenal squad will now return home before jetting out to play Viking and Manchester City in Norway and Sweden respectively.

Player Ratings: Chivas 1-3 Arsenal



Callum Perritt

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