Arsenal lose to Sevilla, but win the Emirates Cup
Alexandre Lacazette scores for the Gunners, but Steven N'Zonzi produces a moment of magic
Arsenal 1 Sevilla 2
If ever more proof were needed as to the absurdity of the pre-season cups that have been foisted upon football fans in recent seasons it was provided at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. Arsenal failed to repeat their exploits of the previous day - when they thrashed Benfica 5-2 - and were beaten 2-1 by Spanish side Sevilla.
The La Liga outfit has also enjoyed a victory on Saturday, in their case a 1-0 win over German club Leipzig, but despite being the only one of the four clubs to win both their games Sevilla weren't afforded the honour of lifting the Emirates Cup. That accolade went to Arsenal for, despite losing their second game, the Gunners scored most goals over the weekend and in the crazy world of the Emirates Cup goals trump victories with with a point awarded for each goal.
Not that anyone probably cared at the end of an afternoon when Arsenal's record £52.7m signing Alexandre Lacazette scored his first Emirates goal for his new club. Alas, for the Arsenal faithful, the Spaniards found the net through Joaquin Correa and Steven N’Zonzi in a defeat that brings to an end the Gunners' pre-season preparations.
Next weekend Arsenal face Chelsea in the Community Shield and then on Friday week they begin their Premier League campaign by welcoming Leicester City to north London.
They'll have to have sharpened their defence by then because Sevilla found too much space and created too many opportunities on Sunday. And it was from one such lapse in concentration that the visitors took the lead early in the second half with Wissam Ben Yedder combining with Joaquin Correa as the Gunners defence took too long to react.
Lacazette then levelled for Arsenal just after the hour mark, sidefooting into the net after excellent work from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but seven minutes later Sevilla were back in front when N’Zonzi lobbed Petr Cech from 25 yards with a goal that was worth the gate admission alone.
Wenger described Lacazette's performance as "encouraging" and said: "He suffered a bit from the fact when we were a bit flat. When he was involved he was intelligent, he protected the ball well and he got his goal...scoring goals is about being in the right place when the cross comes in, and Lacazette has that quality."
Asked if the Gunners were ready for the season after an extensive pre-season that included matches in Australia and China, Wenger replied: "I’m sure we have done the work. Last year we went into the season with some players having not enough minutes after the Euros. We have more players ready [now] and had tougher games in pre-season."