Arsenal Clinches Thrilling 5-3 Win Over Barcelona in Preseason Friendly

Xavier Roger
Kai Havertz celebrates after scoring Arsenal's second goal in their win over Barcelona.

Arsenal concluded their preseason tour of the United States in style with a scintillating 5-3 victory over Barcelona in a feisty friendly clash held at SoFi Stadium.

The La Liga side struck first in the seventh minute when Robert Lewandowski found the back of the net. However, Bukayo Saka swiftly equalized for Arsenal, setting the stage for an intense first half marked by numerous robust challenges.

Saka had a chance to give the Gunners the lead from the penalty spot, but his effort missed the target. Instead, Barcelona capitalized as Raphinha’s deflected free-kick beat Aaron Ramsdale, putting the Spanish giants ahead.

Kai Havertz then displayed his finishing prowess with a close-range goal, before Leandro Trossard’s brace further extended Arsenal’s lead to 4-2. Barcelona’s Ferran Torres managed to pull one back, but Fabio Vieira sealed the victory for Mikel Arteta’s side with a well-curled shot from outside the box.

Despite midfielder Declan Rice’s precautionary absence due to a minor calf issue, new-signing Jurrien Timber started at left-back, while Ben White held the opposite flank, and Kai Havertz featured in midfield.

The friendly atmosphere quickly dissipated as defender Ronald Araujo launched into two heavy tackles on Gabriel Jesus within the opening five minutes. Both teams fielded strong lineups, with Barcelona naming Pedri, Lewandowski, and recent signing Ilkay Gundogan from the start.

The Gunners responded swiftly to Barcelona’s early goal as Saka capitalized on a loose touch from Andreas Christensen in the box to equalize. However, his subsequent penalty miss kept the score level.

Araujo’s aggression earned him a booking for another late tackle on Havertz. Nevertheless, Arsenal continued to push forward and found success just before halftime, as Saka once again played a pivotal role in setting up Havertz’s goal.

In the second half, Arsenal introduced Emile Smith Rowe, while Barcelona made wholesale changes to their lineup, introducing Ousmane Dembele, Frenkie de Jong, and Ansu Fati.

Saka continued to shine and nearly added to Arsenal’s lead, but it was Trossard who eventually put the Gunners ahead with a well-executed shot after Ramsdale’s long delivery found him in the box.

Barcelona mounted a late surge, with Dembele hitting the post, but Trossard struck again, this time capitalizing on Kieran Tierney’s cross. Torres managed to pull another goal back for Barcelona, but it was not enough to deny Arsenal’s victory.

The Gunners now look forward to the Emirates Cup, where they will face Monaco next week. Meanwhile, Xavi Hernandez’s Barcelona will aim to bounce back against Real Madrid in Texas on Saturday.

Arsenal’s impressive performance against Barcelona showcased their attacking prowess and tactical adaptability, leaving fans eager to see their form as the new season approaches.

Source : ESPN

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