Arsenal got their preseason preparations underway with a 5-1 friendly win over Ipswich Town behind closed doors at London Colney.
The first taste of preseason football is upon us, and Arsenal well and truly clicked through the gears against Ipswich Town on Saturday.
A hat-trick for the club’s new number 14 in Eddie Nketiah was the main headline. Two classic poachers finishers and a well-taken effort less than a minute into the game for the 23-year-old after Sambi Lokonga intercepted a pass that allowed Nketiah to take a touch and fire home with authority. Midfielder Sambi Lokonga and Folarin Balogun added goals to complete the rout.
Highlights of all five goals from Arsenal against Ipswich Town today. (Nketiah (3), Lokonga & Balogun with the goals. pic.twitter.com/RtrERzBPl6
— TheAFCnewsroom (@TheAFCnewsroom) July 2, 2022
There were plenty of good signs from the Gunners as Thomas Partey and Benjamin White, who both dealt with injuries in the back half of last season, managed to get through unscathed.
While it is just a preseason friendly, a win is a win and the fact that these were hard to come by last preseason shows that things are trending in the right direction. Yes, the result means absolutely nothing, but winning, even over a League One outfit, is good for the mental aspect of what the players have been doing on the pitch this summer.
Thomas Partey played a delightful one-touch pass to send Nketiah through on goal before the Englishman squared it for Lokonga, who tapped home with ease.
Seeing Arsenal’s number 5 patrolling the midfield with authority was a sight for sore eyes as his absence was dearly felt last season. His ability to control games, be a key linchpin for Arsenal going forward as well as shield the back four, there is a case to be made that he is the club’s most important player. Seeing him complete 45 minutes was superb.
While they make up of the first half side resembled a Premier League XI, nearly half are not expected to be with the club when the first league matchday comes around. The likes of Hector Bellerin, Pablo Mari, Nicolas Pepe, Bernd Leno, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles all saw game time, but are expected to move on.
The second half was a chance for the younger players in the squad to get some minutes under their belt. Charlie Patino, Marcelo Flores, Omari Hutchinson, and Folarin Balogun all got game time against Ipswich, and it will be fascinating to see them more throughout the preseason tour of Germany.
All in all, it was a relatively routine win for the Gunners, and while it means nothing, at least the team is playing the kind of football that we want to see so early on in their preseason preparations.