Football: Arsenal ailing but still eke out win over battling Bayern

Top: Arsenal's Alex Iwobi, who scored the stoppage-time equaliser, scoring during the penalty shootout, which the Gunners won 3-2. Above: Bayern Munich's new Colombian recruit James Rodriguez, who arrived from Real Madrid, in action last night.
Arsenal's Alex Iwobi, who scored the stoppage-time equaliser, scoring during the penalty shootout, which the Gunners won 3-2. PHOTO: REUTERS
Top: Arsenal's Alex Iwobi, who scored the stoppage-time equaliser, scoring during the penalty shootout, which the Gunners won 3-2. Above: Bayern Munich's new Colombian recruit James Rodriguez, who arrived from Real Madrid, in action last night.
Bayern Munich's new Colombian recruit James Rodriguez, who arrived from Real Madrid, in action last night.PHOTO: REUTERS

Despite being hit by food poisoning, they beat Bayern on penalties in ICC in Shanghai

SHANGHAI • An ailing Arsenal were outplayed for long periods by Bayern Munich before salvaging a last-gasp draw and then winning 3-2 on penalties in their opening International Champions Cup (ICC) game in Shanghai yesterday.

Reserve goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was the unlikely hero for the Premier League side, saving Juan Bernat's soft spot kick after Arsenal substitute Alex Iwobi made it 1-1 right at the end of normal time.

It may only have been a friendly match and Arsenal emerged victorious, but it made for painful viewing at times for manager Arsene Wenger, whose side suffered a 10-2 aggregate drubbing by Bayern in last season's Champions League.

Robert Lewandowski needed just nine minutes to fire Bayern ahead from the penalty spot.

Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti, who was spotted having a chat with Wenger, commented after the game that the defeat did not do justice to his side's performance.

"The result doesn't reflect the course of the game unfortunately but it was a good test. We are satisfied," said the Italian.

Both sides fielded a mix of first-team regulars and reserves, with new Bayern signing James Rodriguez and new Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette starting.

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  • Penalties missed in the Bayern Munich-Arsenal shoot-out.

Arsenal were hit by food poisoning that, coupled with the severe 36 deg C heat in China, ruled several key players out, including Olivier Giroud and captain Per Mertesacker.

"I was a bit scared that tonight we could have big problems and in fact in the first half we suffered a bit," said Wenger. "(Aaron) Ramsey finished the game, but (Theo) Walcott, (Sead) Kolasinac, Mertesacker, Giroud, they all had a little food poisoning."

The Gunners will hope they can recover in time to face Chelsea in Beijing in their next warm-up game at the weekend, while Bayern play AC Milan in Shenzhen.

Following that, both Bayern and Chelsea will travel to Singapore where they will clash at the National Stadium next Tuesday.

Bayern will then play Inter Milan next Thursday, before the Italians take on Chelsea two days later.

On Tuesday, Wenger spoke again about how striker Alexis Sanchez, who has entered the final year of his contract and has made it clear he will not sign a new one, would not be allowed to leave.

Arsenal's refusal to sell Sanchez is believed to be rooted in long-term economic factors, as well as sporting ones, with the club convinced it would be more damaging to accept a large fee for him this summer than to risk losing him as a Bosman free agent next summer.

The Chile forward is a prime target for Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, with his desire being to join the former.

"The decision has been made and we will stick to that," Wenger said. "The decision is not to sell."

The club's dilemma has often been painted in black-and-white terms. Either they sell now for £50 million (S$89.2 million) or they get nothing for him next summer.

Yet there are many layers to the situation and one of the most significant concerns Champions League revenue, which Arsenal will miss out on this season.

The Champions League is worth roughly £40 million a year to the club and, with Sanchez playing alongside the new £53 million signing Lacazette, they would be hopeful of making it back into the group phase of the competition.

Without him, the probability would drop.

One player they have let go, however, is goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who completed a move to Juventus for €12.2 million (S$19.2 million).

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2017, with the headline 'Arsenal ailing but still eke out win'. Print Edition | Subscribe