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Arsenal secure dominant Asia Trophy triumph

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 18 Jul 2015

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There were positives aplenty for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger as his side secured a 3-1 Asia Trophy triumph over Premier League rivals Everton in Singapore.

Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil found the net in a commanding performance from the FA Cup holders, for whom former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech enjoyed a solid debut outing – despite being beaten late on by Ross Barkley’s excellent finish.

Wenger’s side looked the more accomplished from the outset and took the lead midway through the first half when Walcott and Cazorla linked for the England man to score.

Provider turned goalscorer when Cazorla coolly doubled the advantage after 58 minutes, while Ozil put the finishing touches on an excellent evening’s work for Arsenal four minutes later.

Arsenal – 4-0 winners against a Singapore Select XI in the semi-finals – forged ahead in the 22nd minute when Walcott poked past Joel Robles after racing onto Cazorla’s lofted pass.

Walcott’s pace posed a threat again 10 minutes later when he escaped down the left, only to overhit his cross beyond the reach of Olivier Giroud.

It was the London club who continued to force the issue, with Aaron Ramsey dragging a shot wide from 20 yards, while Giroud drew a smart stop from Joel.

Yet Everton could still have gone in at the break level had it not been for Cech’s fingertip save from Steven Naismith’s header, with ball coming off the crossbar and Arouna Kone’s follow-up effort – which struck Gareth Barry – being disallowed for offside. 

A frantic start to the second half saw a host of chances go begging, with Ozil glancing a header wide, Luke Garbutt forcing Cech into a full-length save, and the lively Walcott side-footing narrowly wide of the far post.

Cazorla was more precise, though, cutting onto his left foot and finding the bottom corner from the edge of the box just before the hour mark.

After Kone headed Phil Jagielka’s cross over the crossbar, the game was ended as a contest when Ozil confidently poked home from six yards after being sent clear by Cazorla.

Roberto Martinez’s men did manage to grab a consolation through Barkley’s superb 76th-minute strike into the top corner, but the trophy deservedly went to Arsenal.

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