Barcelona 2-1 Arsenal: Gamper Trophy defeat for Gunners in final pre-season friendly
PUBLISHED: 10:41 05 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:41 05 August 2019
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Arsenal suffered a 2-1 defeat against Barcelona in the Joan Gamper Trophy game at the iconic Camp Nou on Sunday, but the performance will be an encouraging one for Unai Emery with the new Premier League less than a week away.
Arsenal took the lead on 36 minutes when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang smashed them ahead, but Ainsley Maitland-Niles put through his own net on 69 minutes to level the score, before Luis Suarez got the winner in the dying seconds with a well-placed finish.
Both sides were missing key players for the clash in Catalonia, with the mercurial Lionel Messi absent for Barca, while the Gunners were missing Alexandre Lacazette through injury and new club-record signing Nicolas Pepe following his excursions at the African Cup of Nations.
Arsenal did have Aubameyang though, and last season's joint Premier League top scorer put the home side to the sword on 36 minutes.
The chance was created by Mesut Ozil out on the left, cutting through Barcelona's defence with a pinpoint to find the striker, who controlled and turned away from Jordi Alba in one flowing movement before firing past Neto.
Barca thought they had levelled through new signing Antoine Griezmann when the Frenchman clipped an effort over Bernd Leno, but he had gone too early as the Gunners held their line well and the offside flag went up.
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The Blaugrana pressed forward in the second-half as they looked for a way back into the game.
Carlos Alena forced two important saves from Leno, while Joe Willock did well to clear off the line after blocking an Alba cross.
Arsenal seemed to be holding firm, but with 69 minutes played their hard work was undone by a silly error.
A Barcelona attack down the left led to nothing, and as Maitland-Niles attempted to roll a simple back pass to Leno, the two got their wires crossed and the ball trickled past the goalkeeper and into the empty net to make it 1-1.
Emery's men had their chances to win the game, with Aubameyang inches away from turning home an Alex Iwobi cross, while Brazilian youngster Gabriel Martinelli came inches away with a volley inside the area.
They were left to rue those missed chances though as Barcelona scored a late winner when Shkodran Mustafi switched off inside the area, allowing Luis Suarez to run onto a clipped pass and divert the ball past Leno on the stretch.
The result will no doubt be a frustrating one for Arsenal, but they will take positives going into Sunday's Premier League opener at Newcastle, although it's clear they still have defensive concerns.