A successful tour for Arsenal

It’s just one match in pre-season. That was the message from a cautious Mikel Arteta after their 4-0 thrashing of Chelsea. Deep down, though, he’ll be delighted, and it’s been a very successful US tour.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Mikel Arteta says his Arsenal side should not get carried away after thrashing Chelsea 4-0 in the pre-season Florida Cup

William Saliba looks the part; he caught and denied Timo Werner and has got to be in contention to start against Crystal Palace on the opening day of the Premier League season on August 5, live on Sky Sports. I had the pleasure of walking around Universal Studios with him and enjoyed talking to him. No more loans was his message – his time at Arsenal is now.

It’s also four goals in four games for Gabriel Jesus, who could be a no-brainer option for your Fantasy Football sides. A fine example of doing your recruitment early, he’s settled and raring to go.

ORLANDO, FL - JULY 23: Arsenal forward Gabriel Jesus (9) celebrates after scoring a goal during the game between Chelsea and Arsenal on July 23, 2022 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)
Image:
New summer signing Gabriel Jesus scored in Arsenal’s 4-0 win over Chelsea

The 11 that started against Chelsea could well be the side that kicks off the Premier League campaign at Selhurst Park, and Arteta didn’t sound too optimistic of an opening day appearance for Kieran Tierney.

Martin Odegaard wore the armband again, and serious eyebrows will be raised if Arsenal don’t announce him as the permanent captain when they return to the UK.

Gabriel Martinelli was excellent; Arsenal have a real talent there, and keeping him fit could be crucial.

Nuno Tavares came on at the start of the second half despite being heavily linked with a season-long loan to Atalanta.

Bukayo Saka’s third looked offside, but with no VAR, the goal stood. In truth, Arteta’s side deserved the 4-0 win, and they’ll certainly enjoy their flight home. They take home the Florida Cup, but Arteta and the club are chasing much more prestigious silverware in the months to come.

Plenty to ponder for angry Tuchel

Yes, it’s only pre-season but this was a really poor night for Chelsea. I wasn’t sure if I was too critical given it’s essentially a friendly, but that was before Thomas Tuchel entered the press conference. He didn’t hold back, and in fact, I can’t remember seeing him that angry for a long time.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel cannot hide his anger after his side were beaten 4-0 by Arsenal in the pre-season Florida Cup

Highlighting the need for signings, questioning the current players commitment, and accusing some of just wanting to leave were just three of many points made.

It’s been a long tour and perhaps one game too many as they’ve done plenty of travelling but Arsenal were on a different gear throughout the game.

Tuchel told me on Friday he wants at least one new defender ahead of the new season and that desire will turn into a necessity. No update on Jules Kounde will be a concern, too.

Tuchel switched to 3-4-3 for the second half and made a number of changes. The fact Arsenal made just the one change highlighted where both clubs currently stand with just two weeks to go until the season opener.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel speaks to his players during thier pre-season friendly match against Arsenal at Camping World Stadium on July 23, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Image:
Chelsea boss Tuchel was unhappy at the defeat in Orlando

The defence looked shaky all night; Edouard Mendy’s distribution will also be a concern, but Thiago Silva at 37, is still showing he’s a class act.

New signing Kalidou Koulibaly came on for the last 20 minutes and Tuchel said he was their best player by far. That’s one bright spot in what was a night to forget.

And maybe the best example of Tuchel and the owners still having plenty to do was the arrival of Michy Batshauyi. Remember him? No loan move for him just yet. He made an appearance on 64 minutes.

Chelsea flew home straight after the match, and there was plenty to ponder on the plane for Tuchel.