Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Gunners end Asia tour with draw

Theo Walcott netted Arsenal's first equaliser

Theo Walcott and Thomas Eisfeld were on target as the Gunners twice came from behind to salvage a 2-2 draw in Sunday's friendly against Hong Kong champions Kitchee.

The Gunners fell behind to goals from Yago and Dani Cancela but battled back on each occasion as their three-match Asia tour brought a win, a defeat and a draw.

Ignasi Miquel's error gifted the opening goal to Yago in the eighth minute, but Walcott levelled midway through the first half. Abou Diaby was the provider, dispossessing Huang Yang in midfield and picking out the England winger, who slotted past goalkeeper Wang Zhenpeng.

Kitchee almost retook the lead with an audacious free-kick routine two minutes later, when Jordi Tarres chipped the ball over the wall and Dani Cancela was just off target with an overhead kick.

However, more poor defending handed them a second goal in the 29th minute as Yago was allowed to set up Cheng Siu Waii. His acrobatic effort was saved by Wojciech Szczesny but Dani Cancela followed in to score.

Arsenal's young forward Benik Afobe had chances either side of half-time, but hit the post with his first effort and then put a header over the bar from a good position.

But the equaliser came in the 77th minute when Gervinho surged down the left and cut the ball back to the penalty spot, where Eisfeld arrived to stroke home his second goal of pre-season. Gervinho almost grabbed a late winner, but his backheeled flick was saved by the legs of Wang.

After the match Arsene Wenger admitted that his side looked weak at the back and demanded an improvement.

"I think defensively we looked fragile, especially in the first half," he said. "In the second half not so much because we were not challenged. Defensively we have a lot of work to do as a unit to do much better.

"We let everybody play today and some players are not yet at the level of the Premier League. It is a learning process. If you don't do it in pre-season then you never do it - you give them a chance to see what is requested at the top level."