Arsenal's awful pre-season goes from bad to worse

Martin Macdonald
Son Heung Min scores against Arsenal, pre-season, 2021-22

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has been hard at work preparing his squad for the 2021-22 season, safe in the knowledge that things must improve this time around.

The London side undoubtedly underachieved last season in the Premier League and will have to do much better if they hope to get fans and critics alike off their back as soon as possible.

The Premier League commences on 13 August, and between now and then Arsenal have lined up a number of friendlies.

Arsenal’s pre season friendlies

13 July v Hibs (A) - Lost 2-1

17 July v Rangers (A) - Draw 2-2

24 July v Millwall (H) - Won 4-1

1 Aug v Chelsea (H) - Lost 2-1

8 Aug v Tottenham (A) - Lost 1-0

Arsenal started their pre-season with a trip up north to face Scottish Premiership side Hibernian.

Unfortunately for Mike Arteta's side, they suffered a relatively embarrassing loss with goals from Martin Boyle and Daniel MacKay cancelling out Emile Smith Rowe's consolation as Hibs won 2-1.

The English giants then regained some of their honour north of the border, when they travelled to Ibrox and Arteta's old stomping ground to take on Rangers. Goals from Nuno Tavares and Edward Nketiah ensured a draw in a well-contested match.

Arteta's side then picked up a win on Saturday, July 24 when they welcomed Millwall to their training ground for a friendly which saw Arsenal pick up a comfortable 4-1 win thanks to goals from Calum Chambers, Alexandre Lacazette, Nicolas Pepe and Folarin Balogun.

For their final two pre-season matches they returned to London to face city rivals Chelsea on 1 August and then Tottenham on 8 August.

The fixtures against Chelsea and Spurs are part of The Mind Series - a tournament organised to promote mental health awareness.

They first of all faced Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium, but fell to a 2-1 defeat.

Kai Havertz opened the scoring in the first half with a fantastic finish from Timo Werner's pass.

But Granit Xhaka sent a signal of his importance to the club - during a summer where he has been tipped to join Roma - with a bullet header from a corner to equalise.

Granit Xhaka scores for Arsenal vs Chelsea

Granit Xhaka scores for Arsenal vs Chelsea

However, a defensive error gifted the winner to Tammy Abraham, who slipped the ball past the goalkeeper to inflict another loss on the Gunners in a difficult pre-season.

Arsenal's rather miserable pre-season continued a week later as they lost 1-0 to local rivals Spurs at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Heung Min Son scored the winner 10 minutes from time, rifling home with his left after good work on the right side from Japhet Tanganga.