Arsenal’s preparations for the return of English and European football began in the best possible way, with the Premier League leaders sweeping Ligue 1 club Lyon aside in the first half, before edging them in a post-game penalty shoot out to secure an extra point in the Dubai Super Cup friendly tournament.
The Gunners were on the front foot from the first minute, and despite fielding a team that was far from first-choice when compared to Lyon, Arteta’s men made the cliche “men vs. boys” appear all too literal as they went 3-0 up in 39 first-half minutes.
Gabriel Magalhaes came close with an early header but made his second effort count with a bullet header that put Arsenal ahead.
This only gave the Gunners more confidence, and they soon doubled their lead through Eddie Nketiah. A rare Lyon attack was easily cut out, and Arsenal flooded forward on the counter, with Fabio Vieira racing into open space before setting up Nketiah to slot the ball home.
Vieira was involved again six minutes later, as the Gunners played some beautiful football to move the ball into the box. With options closed off the Portuguese did the rest, smashing a peach of a shot into the top corner and giving Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes absolutely no chance.
The second half began similarly, with Arsenal not being nearly as clinical, but as the half went, both teams emptied their benches, with Arsenal in particular fielding a side unrecognizable to those who do not follow the club’s junior squad.
As Lyon tried for a consolation, opportunities began to flow at both ends, but they were unable to produce one, and Arsenal rounded out a straightforward triumph that had already been clinched.
Off to a good start in Dubai ✊ pic.twitter.com/BZQ5zHHCrr— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 8, 2022
We weren’t quite done though, as in this mid-season friendly tournament, the Dubai Super Cup, teams play out a post-match penalty shoot-out regardless of the result over 90 minutes, with the winners gaining an extra point in the four-team table.
The shoot-out resembled the latter stages of the game though, and although Arsenal scored their first two spot-kicks, some woeful misses and easy saves saw only three scored in total.
Lyon’s lone goal came from 12 yards, while Arsenal goalkeeper Karl Hein produced two outstanding saves. In actuality, it was the most he’d had to do all day, and the penalties summed up Lyon’s lethargic efforts for much of the game.
Arsenal were excellent at times, particularly in the first half, and Mikel Arteta will be pleased with his team’s performance as the regular season approaches.