1-0 Walcott 40'
1-1 Drogba (pen) 78'
1-2 Drogba 87'
Arsenal finished out the Emirates Cup with a loss to Galatasaray, after the Turkish side scored two late goals. The first half performance was pretty good, the second half was a bit less so, and then Didier Drogba showed up and did Didier Drogba things for a while. So Galatasaray wins the Emirates Cup, with Porto second, Arsenal third, and Napoli last.
The game started well for Arsenal, with the team looking much better than they did in yesterday's first half against Napoli. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Yaya Sanogo were particularly involved early offensively, and Bacary Sagna performed well in an appearance at center back. There were several half-chances, and a few real ones. The biggest came in the 19th minute, when Aaron Ramsey played a long ball into the box for Theo Walcott, whose first touch was perfect. He brought the ball down with his foot and immediately clipped a shot, but it went inches wide of the post. The miss was disappointing, but the play was overall very good.
When Arsenal finally scored, it was kind of a joke goal. They forced a corner, and the initial take by Walcott was cleared but not fully. The initial clearance found its way back to Theo on the left flank, and he attempted to cross the ball in to Per Mertesacker. It was a perfectly good cross, but it didn't get to Mertesacker. It also didn't get to a defender, nor the goalkeeper Fernando Muslera. It did, however, get to the back of the net; Walcott celebrated a bit sheepishly, but he looked like he'd enjoyed it.
At halftime, things were looking good. Arsenal were leading, and they had played well to get there. The lead should probably have been larger than it was - but it was there.
But, much as Arsenal did yesterday, Gala made substitutions that changed the game. Wesley Sneijder came on, as did Your Favorite Person, Didier Drogba. If you're new to this, Drogba has always been sort of a blood enemy to Arsenal. He was one of the top strikers in the league with Chelsea, and always seemed to perform against Arsenal - whether through his prodigious talent, or just by falling over in the penalty box. And lo, Drogba reared his head in a big way.
In the 73rd minute Galatasaray nearly equalized, when Sneijder boomed a curling shot on frame from the left flank. Perhaps inspired by Walcott earlier, but Sneijder didn't have Theo's luck. Wojciech Szczesny - who, overall, performed better than Lukasz Fabianski yesterday and looked more like Good Woj than the player we saw much of last year - dove to his right to save.
But shortly thereafter the equalizer came. Ignasi Miquel had come on to spell Kieran Gibbs at left back, and had an uneven game. This was one of his low points: Drogba was in front of goal, and Miquel tried to pressure him slightly. He put an arm on Drogba's back, and with Didier being Didier, he went down like a sack of flour. The Emirates Cup from start to finish was marred (as much as a preseason friendly tournament can be "marred" by anything) by dodgy penalties, and it continued here; Drogba's innovative interpretation of physics was rewarded. Arsene Wenger was displeased.
Honestly the penalty was very, very, very, very, very, very soft! It was classic Drogba.
Yeah. Drogba took the penalty himself and scored.
Drogba and Gala's second was more well-earned. A ball was played into the box to him as he created space from Mertesacker, and his first touch brought the ball to the inside unexpectedly to the defender. He'd gone the other way and had to act quickly to cover, but before he could the ball was in the net. It wasn't great from the German, but even after everything, he's still Didier Drogba, and he's pretty good at this.
Since this is still preseason, I'm not too fussed over the result. The performance was better than yesterday's for the most part, and really we didn't learn anything today that we didn't already know in a big picture sense. We have a pretty good team, there are some depth issues, and we could use a few new players. Luckily there's about a month left to do that. We'll see what happens.