Arsenal secured a hard-fought 3-2 win over Arabian Gulf League strugglers Al Nasr – going 1-0 down before surging back in the second half.
Arsenal, second best throughout the opening 45 minutes, fell behind to a sumptuous strike. Brazilian Junior Dutra flew down the right and had the awareness to look up and pick out Chilean Ronnie Fernandez. He curled an effort beyond the despairing Bernd Leno which went in off the inside of the post.
The Gunners fired back via Denis Suarez’s exquisite vision. He picked out Carl Jenkinson’s run and after the much-maligned right-back’s first effort cannoned off the upright, he thumped home the rebound.
Unai Emery’s side gained far more of a foothold in the second half and went 2-1 ahead within minutes of the restart – Mesut Ozil’s impish flick set up Alexandre Lacazette who had the simplest of finishes.
They scored a killer third late on through an astute and calm finish from teenager Tyreece John-Jules, before Nasr earned a consolation through Khalid Jalal’s penalty.
Here is how we rated the Arsenal players:
Bernd Leno 7: Was a lot busier than perhaps he would have expected to be. Called upon numerous times and was sharp and alert. Could do nothing about Fernandez’s fantastic effort.
Carl Jenkinson 6: Struggled with attacks down his side. But thumped home the equaliser having hit the woodwork with his initial effort.
Shkodran Mustafi 5: Easy in the second half following a wave of Blue Wave substitutions. Struggled badly with Nasr’s pace and Alvaro Negredo’s brutish presence in the first half though.
Dinos Mavropanos 4: Simply could not compete with Negredo. Was outmuscled in nearly every duel. Easier second half but that belied a below par showing.
Zech Medley 7: Had work cut out with Blue Wave surging forward, but was diligent and got forward too. A real athlete with pace to burn.
Charlie Gilmour 6: Showed good poise on the ball and distribution was impressive. But he and young colleague Sheaf were badly exposed and sliced through regularly.
Ben Sheaf 5: Overawed a little and was perhaps feeling the heat. Struggled in the first half but looked more at ease as Arsenal turned it on in the second half.
Xavier Amaechi 6: The box of tricks always looked dangerous with the ball at his feet. Couldn’t quite conjure any magic.
Mesut Ozil 7: Can see why he frustrates fans. Eminently brilliant and capable of the extraordinary. But is too often ordinary. Gorgeous back heel put chance on a plate for Lacazette.
Denis Suarez 8: Always capable of lighting the fuse. Pristine vision slipped in Jenkinson, who scored at the second attempt. Could play a big part in remainder of the season.
Alexandre Lacazette 7: Kept the Nasr backline honest as he foraged for chances, but largely fed on scraps as his side were pegged back. Always alive after the break, took chance well, could have had more.
Petr Cech 6: Little to do bar a routine few saves here and there.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles 7: Promising player continued his development, sparking the move that led to Arsenal’s second minutes after coming on.
Julio Pleguezuelo 4: Seemed to commit a blatant, reckless foul on Omar, but the referee thought otherwise. Busy. Clumsily then conceded a needless penalty.
Jordi Osei-Tutu 6: Came on and looked bright without getting involved too much.
Tyreece John-Jules 7: A lot of people are excited about the 18-year-old, and this was a glimpse into why. He broke free and calmly rounded Essa before firing past two defenders on the line.
James Olayinka N/A
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