Football: Gunners lean on safe Seaman: Ian Ridley at Highbury sees Arsenal and Napoli progress to today's Makita final

THE STRIP has changed - for the better - but Arsenal remain a tease when it comes to eking out results. One-nil to the Arsenal? That was exaggerating it a bit.

In fact, it was 0-0 to Arsenal. After a goalless 90 minutes, they had to come through another of the penalty shoot-out abominations, beating a weak Atletico Madrid 3-2, thanks to three excellent saves from David Seaman, to reach the final of the Makita Tournament they are hosting this weekend.

In today's final they play Napoli, who beat the holders, Chelsea, 2-0 in an ill-tempered match that saw the Italians' new signing from Marseille, the promising young Frenchman, Alain Boghossian, sent off.

For a while it looked as if it might be their customary 1-0 in Arsenal's shoot-out as Lee Dixon scored and Seaman saved from De La Sagra, Kosecki and Esteban. David Hillier and Arsenal's new signing for pounds 1.8m from Benfica, the Swede Stefan Schwarz, also missed. Manolo and Benitez's goals made a competition of it but Paul Merson and then, fittingly, Ian Wright converted to end a scrappy contest. Excitement and the mood of the World Cup is clearly to be found elsewhere in north London, at this time of year at least.

After years of betrayal, the new, simplified Arsenal kit they displayed recalls their heritage, the hooped socks adding a touch of class. In their play, however, they lacked just that, apart from Wright. Their only other figure capable of ingenuity, Merson, looks as forlorn as he had at the end of last season. Kevin Campbell, meanwhile, again indulged by George Graham at the start of the season, had little in common with Wright apart from a shaven head.

Atletico Madrid had come from a match the previous day in Spain against Aston Villa and rested their World Cup players: Jose Luis Caminero, Argentina's Diego Simeone and Mexico's Luis Garcia. Only when Manolo came on in the second half was Seaman troubled, twice saving well from the Spanish international striker.

At least there was encouragement for them in the competent Schwarz, who fits fully the Graham cut-out-and-keep midfield player, embodying neatness and industry. He provided, however, only occasional creativity, and neither does he look likely to take any of the scoring burden from Wright.

The first two minutes saw Schwarz's game exemplified. From Lee Dixon's long throw, Tony Adams headed on to Schwarz, who missed his kick in front of goal. Moments later, though, Schwarz was back in defence with a saving tackle that pleased the customers.

But it was Wright who was at the centre of everything of value that Arsenal assembled in attack. It was he who sent Nigel Winterburn clear on the left, only for the full-back's low drive across the goal to rebound off the far post. It would have been appropriate had Wright won the game nine minutes from the end of regulation play after being put through by Merson, instead of allowing Diego to save.

The Arsenal defence looked as niggardly as it had during the winning of last season's European Cup-winners' Cup, the first lesson of the afternoon for Chelsea. The second came from Napoli, who provided expertly mean-spirited opposition. Boghossian laid on a tap-in goal for the Colombian international, Freddy Rincon, after only nine minutes, before being sent off after 27 for slapping Dennis Wise, complaining as he left that the Chelsea captain had back-headed his face.

Thereafter, amid the kicks at Wise and two bouts of players from each side squaring up, Chelsea created chances they could not take in the absence of the injured Mark Stein. Eddie Newton chipped just over, as did the pounds 2.3m signing Paul Furlong, a potentially lively leader of the line. Giuseppe Taglialatela also saved with feet from Gavin Peacock.

Finally, Massimo Agostini drove home four minutes from time and Chelsea looked less like the bright orange, more like the grey, in their own new fetching little outfit.

Arsenal (4-4-2): Seaman; Dixon, Adams, Bould, Winterburn; McGoldrick (Smith, 75), Jensen (Hillier, 75), Schwarz, Merson; Wright, Campbell.

Atletico Madrid (4-4-2): Diego; Esteban, Lopez, Ferreira, Alejandro; Ruano (Manolo, h-t), Alfaro (Solazabal, h-t), De La Sagra, Valle; Enrique (Kosecki, h-t), Benitez.

Referee: D Gallagher (Banbury).

Chelsea (4-5-1): Kharin; Clarke, Kjeldbjerg, Johnsen, Myers; Newton, Peacock, Spackman, Wise, Barnard (Hoddle, 60); Furlong.

Napoli (4-4-2): Taglialatela; Matrecano, Cannavaro, Cruz (Grossi, 79), Policano; Bordin, Boghassian, Pecchia, Rincon (Pari, 55); Agostini, Carbone (Buso, 64).

Referee: P Durkin (Portland, Dorset).

Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor