With less than two weeks until the new season, Arsenal faced Chelsea in the Florida Cup very early on Sunday morning (UK time).
The Gunners started with a very strong 11 and were in full flow in the first half, dominating the ball and playing some brilliant transition football from back to front. William Saliba and new signing Zinchenko straight into the back four and raising that technical ability in the side. Ramsdale’s distribution was also back to its best.
The Gunners first major chance came when Martinelli’s runaway break saw him find Saka who probably should’ve scored.
Arsenal were pressing hard from the front and won the ball back well to set up the opening goal. Xhaka slotted it through for Jesus who had timed his run excellently, the Brazilian then calmly clipped it over the keeper to give Arsenal a deserved lead.
Arsenal continued to take the game to Chelsea with any attack from the blues being snuffed out by Gabriel, White, Saliba or Partey.
35 minutes in Arsenal’s consistent pressure told again. This time Partey picking up the loose ball before finding Martinelli, the Brazilian beautifully fed Odegaard who then slotted past Mendy and made it 2.
On the stroke of halftime, Chelsea had their first real chance. Mason Mount’s sweeping effort tipped onto the post by Aaron Ramsdale.
In the second half Chelsea moved back to a back five formation and with that, they managed to regain more of the possession but didn’t really create any chances of note. As both sides began to ring the changes, the rhythm and pace of the game were disturbed.
Chelsea were making their subs earlier whilst Arteta was obviously keen to get more minutes into the legs of his preferred XI.
65 minutes in Arsenal accelerated the pace of the game once more with Saka storming through the Chelsea defence, Mendy parried shots from Martinelli and Xhaka before it fell back to Saka to tap in and make it 3-0.
In the 70th minute Arsenal finally made wholesale changes. With the huge amount of changes the quality fell from both sides.
Gabriel and Saliba, Arsenal’s defensive duo on the night, were the only two players to play 90 minutes for Arsenal and they were both very impressive.
The game was fading away but with seconds left, Cedric swung a cross into the box and Lokonga was there to head into the net. Arsenal end the game with a convincing 4-0 win over their London rivals.