Arsenal beat Lyon 3-0 in a friendly in Dubai on Thursday as those players not involved in the World Cup in Qatar kicked off their preparations for the return of the Premier League later this month.
All thee goals at the Al Maktoum Stadium came in the first half. Gabriel began the scoring in the 19th minute with a header from a corner before Eddie Nketiah and Fabio Vieira added quickfire efforts in the 33rd and 39th minutes.
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Despite being without 10 players who have been in action with their national teams in Qatar, Mikel Arteta fielded his strongest possible lineup from those players remaining. Captain Martin Odegaard, winger Reiss Nelson and midfielders Mohamed Elneny and Sambi Lokonga also started in front of a back four of Cedric, Gabriel, Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney.
Lyon’s lineup under former France coach Laurent Blanc featured ex-Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette but the 31-year-old failed to find the net against his former employers before being taken off in the second half.
Both teams made wholesale changes in the second half, with Arteta calling on several members of Arsenal’s under-21 side, though there were not further goals.
As part of the Dubai Super Cup, a penalty shootout took place after full-time, with Arsenal winning 2-1 thanks to three saves from goalkeeper Karl Hein to pick up an extra point.
Arsenal will conclude their participation in the exhibition tournament when facing Serie A champions AC Milan on Tuesday. Liverpool are the fourth team in the competition.
Arteta’s side, who went into the World Cup break with a five point lead over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table, will resume their league campaign against West Ham on Boxing Day.