More bad news for Arsenal as Liverpool lose to Chelsea?
Cesc Fabregas is sent off as Blues beat Reds in the US, while a former Arsenal trainee steals the show
Chelsea drew first blood, literally and metaphorically, ahead of the new season when they beat Liverpool 1-0 in their International Champions Cup clash at the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles.
The victory came courtesy of a Gary Cahill header in the tenth minute, but the biggest talking points were a red card for Cesc Fabregas after a studs up challenge on Liverpool new boy Ragnar Klavan, and an injury to another of the Reds' summer signings, Marko Grujic, who was taken to hospital with concussion after a collision with Bertrand Traore.
Cahill and five Liverpool players were also booked during what the Daily Telegraph describes as a "feisty" encounter between the two Premier League heavyweights.
Afterwards Fabregas apologised to the Liverpool player, who recovered from the challenge and should be fit for Liverpool's next game against AC Milan, although it is thought that Fabregas will be banned from playing against Real Madrid.
A lack of match fitness was blamed for the rash of late and mistimed challenges that led to so many bookings, and Jurgen Klopp said his main concern was the health of Grujic, who he said could not remember the game.
But there were positives for both sides, says The Times, although there could be an unexpected sting in the tail for Arsenal who are enduring yet another miserable summer.
"Liverpool included three summer signings – Loris Karius, in goal, Klavan and [Sadio] Mane – but it was [Ovie] Ejaria, the teenager, who stole the show," says Gary Jacob of the paper. "The former academy midfielder continued his fine form in pre-season with a composed and measured display in a holding position. Ejaria joined the academy two years ago after nine years at Arsenal and could soon be another stick with which Arsene Wenger is beaten."
As for Chelsea, the impact made by its new manager Antonio Conte is clear. The Italian "has introduced an intense training regime in pre-season and his players looked as fit as they were midway through last season", says Jacob. "The Italian said being in good physical condition is the essential base if they are to achieve anything this season. A year ago, Jose Mourinho gave his Chelsea players too much slack and they returned unfit."