Arsenal maintained their unblemished pre-season record with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Orlando City.
Mikel Arteta’s team was forced to delay the start of the latest leg of their US trip by an hour due to inclement weather.
But then, the Gunners wasted no time in getting up to speed, with Gabriel Martinelli’s deflected shot opening the score only five minutes into a fast-paced first half.
Orlando, on the other hand, seized control and could have equalised when Benji Michel sprinted through clean – only for Aaron Ramsdale to save wonderfully.
But, only minutes later, Facundo Torres arrowed a shot into the bottom corner, leaving England’s goalkeeper to pluck the ball out of the net.
Throughout the second half, Arsenal relied on their big guns, and the improved quality was evident as they dominated in terms of possession and opportunities. And Eddie Nketiah’s domination paid off when his striking partner Gabriel Jesus was tackled in the box.
Reiss Nelson then came off the bench to score a well-taken third goal, and that’s how the game concluded, with one more game in the United States this weekend against Chelsea.
Jesus looks more than ready
It’s rather astonishing that Jesus has only made three appearances for Arsenal since joining from Manchester City.
He has already seized the position as the focal point of the attack and the driving force behind the new-look squad at that period.
His presence on the field caused a noticeable rise in tempo and belief. His mobility away from the ball allowed others to shine, and his quality when he had it was too much for Orlando.
There was also a lovely moment when Nketiah found the net when both forwards performed the Jesus-inspired celebration. His younger colleague clearly admires him, and his influence on Nketiah should not be disregarded moving forward!
If this is Gabriel Jesus a few weeks in, the long-term results could be truly transformative.
Arteta has been merciless in demolishing and rebuilding the Arsenal squad in his own image. The Spaniard has had a lot of support during the summer, but there are still some obvious areas where he has to improve beyond the first XI.
Zinchenko’s flexibility and ability to play in a variety of roles will instantly offer depth to the team. The first-half back four was especially vulnerable, and the prospect of playing a competitive game with Pablo Mari and Nuno Tavares on the same side is unsettling.
The disparity in talent between Arsenal’s starting lineup and the men waiting in the wings was palpable in Florida.
That will need to be addressed as they continue their development as an upwardly mobile team.