Ox equalises to earn Gunners draw with FC Lens
Ox equalises to earn Gunners draw with FC Lens

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, a second half substitute, netted in the 82nd minute to earn Arsenal a 1-1 draw with FC Lens in France this evening.

The Gunners first pre-season match of the season provided a good workout against the Ligue 2 team.

Arsenal started with an experienced defence ahead of Emi Martinez, with Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker, Calum Chambers and Nacho Monreal all in the starting line-up.

Youngsters Alex Iwobi, Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Chuba Akpom were also given a start. Alongside the more experienced Francis Coquelin, Moahamed Elneny and Theo Walcott.

Akpom and Iwobi both went close for the Gunners in the first half,

But Lens, who are further advanced in their pre-season preparations, always looked dangerous against an at times hesitant Arsenal rearguard. Mathieu Debuchy characterised this hesitancy picking up a booking for two rash tackles.

Young keeper Matt Macey was introduced at half-time and made one superb save to keep out Bourigeaud’s 25-yard strike, as were Krystian Bielik and Serge Gnabry, before Gedion Zelalem and Chris Willock were brought on later in the second half.

Reine-Adelaide again gave glimpses of his potential in his 45-minute outing, showing more of the form he showed in last year’s pre-season Emirates Cup.

Lens took the lead in the 37th minute through Mathias Autret’s strike from inside the box. The chance followed a poor defensive header from Calum Chambers. Zoubir raced onto a loose pass and his shot was parried by Martinez with Autret on hand to put the loose ball into the net.

Second half substitute Oxlade-Chamberlain equalised in the 82nd minute, running onto a delightful through ball from Gnabry, chipping the ball over the goalkeeper and into the far corner.

The goal capped an encouraging return for Oxlade-Chamberlain who was making his first appearance since being injured in a tackle with Barcelona’s Javier Mascherano during a Champions League last-16 game in February

Arsenal will continue their pre-season preparations in the United States, with matches in California against the MLS All Stars on Friday 29th July and Chivas de Guadalajara on Monday 1st August.

Arsenal: Martinez (Macey), Debuchy (Bielik), Mertesacker, Chambers, Monreal (Gibbs), Elneny (Gnabry), Coquelin, Walcott (Willock), Iwobi (Zelalem), Reine-Adelaide (Oxlade-Chamberlain), Akpom (Campbell)