Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw in an eventful start to pre-season against a Nurnberg side that finished 14th in 2.Bundesliga last season and have spent eight of the last nine years out of the top flight in Germany.
The game began in difficult circumstances for the Gunners, who have been training in Germany at adidas HQ, when Martin Odegaard was forced to pull out of the starting lineup just moments before kick-off due to an minor injury suffered in the warm-up.
Even so, Bukayo Saka gave Arsenal an early lead in a first half that saw Mikel Arteta’s side in general control. It was a goal mostly of the England winger’s own making, latching onto a long pass down the right and cutting inside to find a low finish into the net.
Saka even had the opportunity to double Arsenal’s lead midway through the half, but Christian Mathenia was equal to his low shot in the home side’s goal.
Nurnberg created little of note going the other way in the opening 45 minutes, with Kwadwo Duah dragging a shot wide from a decent position.
Half-time didn’t see wholesale changes from Arteta, but the boss did add £65m signing Kai Havertz into the mix for his unofficial debut. The additional arrivals of Gabriel Jesus, Jorginho, Cedric Soares and Kieran Tierney at the break also ensured there would be some experience still on the pitch.
Jesus couldn’t get an effort on target when he went through on goal from a relatively narrow angle, while Fabio Vieira also narrowly missed with a snap shot inside the box. Substitute Folarin Balogun then struck the post after taking the ball past the Nurnberg goalkeeper, which proved to be a costly miss given that the hosts equalised on their very next attack.
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