Arsenal downed Lyon 3-0 in their opening match at the Dubai Super Cup. The first teamers, who played about 65 minutes, were comprehensively better than their French opponents and played with the energy, precision, and cutting edge we’ve come to expect from Arsenal this season. Fabio Vieira, Eddie Nketiah, Marquinhos, and Martin Ødegaard played particularly well for the Gunners.
Gabriel Magalhaes scored the opener for Arsenal off a corner and nearly had a second later in the first half off another. He’s a legitimate scoring threat from set pieces, not just a tall centerback who comes forward because that’s what they do. Opposing teams have to be aware and marking him, and Arsenal clearly look to free him up with picks and movement.
Eddie Nketiah scored the second, but it was the ball from Sambi Lokonga and the assist from Fabio Vieira that made the goal. Sambi put Vieira in with a 40-yard pass from outside the Arsenal area, the Portuguese midfielder carried it into the box and played it across with the outside of his foot, and Nketiah slotted home on the run, which is harder than it looks.
Fabio Vieira, played through after Alexandre Lacazette lost the ball on the edge of the Arsenal box, squares it to Eddie Nketiah, who calmly slots home to double his side’s lead over Lyon! [@TheAFCnewsroom] #afc pic.twitter.com/gU41V3VIsI— afcstuff (@afcstuff) December 8, 2022
Fabio Vieira got the Arsenal third with a wicked shot into the top corner from about 20 yards out. It was a magnificent finish to a lovely passing move by the Gunners that started from a throw around the Arsenal 18 and a backpass to Gabriel Magalhaes whose boots were basically on the goal line. His long ball found Eddie Nketiah, who held it up nicely, which allowed Arsenal to switch the field and break forward. A few passes later, it was in the back of the net.
I’d forgot how good Mikel Arteta’s tricky Reds look pic.twitter.com/ha0FIe2qHe— James Benge (@jamesbenge) December 8, 2022
The mass Hale End substitutes — 9 of them came on to join Marquinhos, who had come on at halftime, and Karl Hein in net — gave a good account of themselves. They didn’t concede in the short period where Lyon had a bunch of first-teamers still on the pitch despite being pinned back. Once Lyon brought on some younger players, the Hale Enders had the better of the action, hitting a post, forcing a good save, and creating a few more chances.
The Dubai Super Cup awards an extra point after each match on penalties, presumably to try to avoid a standings tie after all the matches have been played. Karl Hein was the star for the Gunners, saving 4 of 5 Lyon attempts. To be fair, the final attempt was a panenka right at him, but still. Marquinhos and Matt Smith converted for Arsenal to win 2-1 and pick up the extra point.