Arsenal 2 Napoli 2 match report: Oliver Giroud overhead kick sparks Gunners fightback in Emirates Cup clash
Late Laurent Koscielny equaliser sends Arsenal fans home content with the result but crying out for Arsene Wenger to make signings
Saturday 03 August 2013
Arsenal came from two goals behind to draw with Napoli in the opening match of the Emirates Cup.
The Gunners have yet to bring in a marquee summer signing, despite manager Arsene Wenger having a bumper transfer war chest - with Liverpool maintaining Luis Suarez is not for sale after a bid of £40million plus £1 was rejected.
Wenger's faith in his current squad looked questionable after some poor first-half defending allowed Lorenzo Insigne and Goran Pandev to put the Italians in command.
However, an acrobatic goal by France striker Olivier Giroud with 18 minutes left sparked a fightback, with Laurent Koscielny heading in a dramatic late equaliser.
Wenger's side will face Galatasaray tomorrow afternoon, before a final pre-season friendly against Manchester City in Helsinki next weekend.
Fit-again England midfielder Jack Wilshere, who missed the end of season friendly against Brazil because of an ankle injury which needed surgery, was in the starting XI, with Per Mertesacker captain as Thomas Vermaelen continues his recovery from a back problem.
Jose Reina was in goal for the Serie A runners-up after his summer move from Liverpool, while Gonzalo Higuain - a transfer target for Arsenal before he left Real Madrid - was named on the bench by Rafael Benitez, the former Chelsea interim manager.
Arsenal, playing in their new yellow away strip, started brightly and German youngster Serge Gnarby curled his shot wide after a break down the left.
However, it was the Italians took the lead on seven minutes after Carl Jenkinson failed to clear a high pass into the penalty area, his header dropping to Insigne, who swept the loose ball past Lukasz Fabianski.
Reina was almost embarrassed when his poor clearance fell straight to Gnarby, but the midfielder's chip floated over.
After 18 minutes, Arsenal were awarded a penalty when former West Ham full-back Valon Behrami was adjudged by referee Kevin Friend to have tripped Kieran Gibbs.
Lukas Podolski's low spot-kick was, though, saved by Reina.
Napoli doubled their lead after 28 minutes when Macedonia striker Pandev collected a pass into the right side of the Arsenal penalty area before rounding Fabianski and cutting back to drill the ball into the empty net.
Arsenal did rally before the break, with Mertesacker's point-blank header knocked off the line before boos rang out as the players went off down the tunnel.
Argentina forward Higuain replaced Pandev for the second half, handing the home fans a glimpse of what might have been.
There was at least more urgency from Arsenal after the restart, with Wilshere dragging an angled shot across goal.
Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mikel Arteta were all sent on to freshen up the team.
Giroud netted a deflected bicycle kick from Walcott's corner to reduce the arrears with 18 minutes left, and there was a dramatic finale as Koscielny headed in after 86 minutes when Mertesacker's bullet header was saved by Reina.
Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity
Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94
Sites using the popular Gigya comment platform were attacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA)
Latest in Sport
Phil Hughes injury: Cricket world reels as Australian opener 'fights for his life'
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund player ratings: Who was the star man at the Emirates? Alexis Sanchez? Santi Cazorla? Or Yaya Sanogo?
Phil Hughes: A swashbuckling, raw and talented batsman who had the world at his feet
Phil Hughes dead: List of players who have tragically died on the cricket pitch
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund report: Yaya Sanogo and Alexis Sanchez are on target as Gunners secure impressive victory
- 1 Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler following death of batsman Phil Hughes
- 2 Ridley Scott on Exodus, Gods and Kings casting: 'I'm not going to get it financed if my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such'
- 3 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 4 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'