Coming off a scintillating performance even with star signing Alexis Sanchez sitting on the bench, Arsenal next faces Monaco in the final Emirates Cup match Sunday.
Gunners striker Yaya Sanogo fired off four goals, completing a hat trick before the end of the first half, and Arsenal claimed a 5-1 victory over Benfica in Saturday’s main event. Striker Joel Campbell also managed to score his first goal while wearing an Arsenal shirt, following his stellar performance in the World Cup for Costa Rica.
Manager Arsene Wenger was expected to show off his latest transfer acquisitions, including Sanchez, and French full-back Mathieu Debuchy.. However that group was relegated to the bench to afford Campbell, defender Hector Bellerin and £16 million purchase Calum Chambers some time on the pitch.
Sanogo, who came aboard last season after a free transfer from Auxerre but also suffered a back problem, made his case for regular pitch time come the start of Premier League. And the same goes for the 22-year-old Campbell after following his volley goal in the 40 th minute, with Bellerin assisting with a chipped cross.
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Wenger might be allowing Sanchez more time to adjust, but its likely he sees the pitch at some point against the Red and Whites.
Monaco wound up drawing with Valencia 2-2 in its earlier match Saturday, but the real intrigue surrounded the return of talisman Radamel Falcao, who’s missed the last six months and Colombia’s run in the World Cup following a devastating knee injury.
With the match knotted at its final score, Falcao entered in the 72nd minute for Dimitar Berbatov and had little to no impact, but it was an important step in the Colombian’s return. Now that James Rodriguez has moved on to Real Madrid, Leonardo Jardim’s side will need Falcao in top form in order to maintain their status in Ligue 1. And for now they’ll have to ignore any speculation that links Falcao to a reunion with Rodriguez in Spain.
How much time Falcao will see against Arsenal is unclear, but Jardim will continue to work him back slowly.
The friendly was plagued by some sloppy play early, even though Valencia looked far more balanced and prepared than Monaco.
Monaco would take the early lead after Valencia defender Ruben Vezo’s own goal in the 30th minute, a result largely attributable to excellent set piece work off Joao Moutinho’s deft cross and Aymen Abdennour’s ball causing enough panic on Valencia’s backline. But seven minutes later Red and Whites defender Ricardo Carvalho committed an own goal off a valiant sliding effort that still careened the ball into the net.
Valencia would then take its only lead of the match in the 69th minute, thanks to forward Paco Alcacer converting Aly Cissokho’s deep run and assist. They could have padded the lead and held on if it weren’t for Monaco keeper Danijel Subasic denying midfielder Carles Gil a breakaway goal minutes later.
Subasic would immediately play his clearance to 20-year-old winger Lucas Ocampo, the player could benefit from Rodriguez’s departure maybe more than anyone, who then struck the equalizer from long range in the 80th minute.
Where to watch: The Emirates Cup match will kick off from the Emirates Stadium at 11:15 a.m. ET. A live stream will be provided by ESPN3 and Watch ESPN.