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Mesut Ozil scored on his return to Arsenal action as the Gunners beat Paris Saint-Germain 5-1 at Singapore’s National Stadium in the 2018 International Champions Cup on Saturday.
The German was named captain as Arsenal head coach Unai Emery took on his former club, and Ozil opened the scoring in the 13th minute of an entertaining clash.
The impressive Christopher Nkunku equalised from the spot for Thomas Tuchel’s side on the hour, but a quick-fire double from substitute Alexandre Lacazette put Arsenal firmly in control.
Rob Holding’s 16-yard lopping header and Eddie Nketiah’s pinpoint drive put the icing on the cake as Arsenal ran riot late on.
Signs Good for Ozil After World Cup Criticism
Ozil was made something of a scapegoat for Germany’s group-stage exit at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and then called time on his international career in acrimonious circumstances earlier this week.
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He opted to return earlier than he needed from his post-World Cup holiday and was given the captain’s armband by Emery for Saturday’s clash.
PSG started the sharper of the two sides, but as soon as Arsenal got their first chance in the 13th minute, Ozil was on hand to finish it.
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Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang was found in acres of space on the right by new signing Matteo Guendouzi, and he squared for the No. 10 to stab home from six yards.
Arsenal fans and Emery should be delighted that Ozil was heavily involved with much of the Gunners’ best play before he was taken off to a rapturous reception in the 64th minute.
Lacazette, Aubameyang Excite Ahead of Premier League Start
Arsenal have spent over £100 million on two strikers in the last year, and they both showed on Saturday that they could be lethal next term after a full pre-season with the Gunners.
Aubameyang did not get on the scoresheet before he was hooked midway through the second half. But he set up Ozil’s opener and was only denied by a fine Gianluigi Buffon save in the opening half.
He also caused PSG’s defence all kinds of trouble with his pace and will be a handful for Premier League back lines next term.
Lacazette’s two goals were purely down to terrific positioning; he flicked home from the near post for his first before being quickest to the ball in a goalmouth scramble for the second.
The big question going into the Premier League season is whether Emery can find a way to get the best out of Lacazette and Aubameyang when they are playing together.
Tuchel’s Youngsters Have a Part to Play in 2018-19
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The major caveat to Saturday’s result is that Tuchel fielded an inexperienced side with only three notable senior players in Buffon, Lassana Diarra and Adrien Rabiot.
PSG are currently without a number of their first-team players, including Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani, who are all on holiday following the World Cup.
Their impressive replacement front line was made up of teenage duo Timothy Weah and Azzeddine Toufiqui, along with 20-year-old Nkunku.
All three caused Arsenal’s defence problems in the opening stages of the first half, when PSG were on top, and it was Weah who outpaced Sead Kolasinac on the right to draw the penalty from which Nkunku equalised.
It is no huge surprise Tuchel’s young side faded toward the end of the contest, but for 60 minutes they went toe-to-toe with a strong Arsenal group, and PSG’s new manager will surely be buoyed that he has exciting alternative options in his squad.
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