Arsenal Defeat Anderlecht 1-0 in Markus Liebherr Memorial Cup Opener
Henri Lansbury got the winner as Arsenal kicked off their participation in Saturday's Markus Liebherr Memorial Cup with a 1-0 victory over Anderlecht.
Arsenal's official website, on hand at St. Mary's Stadium to live-tweet the proceedings, described the match as a "tight affair."
The three-team tournament, which also includes hosts Southampton, is comprised of three 45-minute matches, separated by some 30 minutes of downtime.
According to The Daily Echo, Arsenal had initially been scheduled to play Glasgow Rangers in their opening match. However, the 2011-12 Belgian champions were preferred to the Scots "due to the well-publicized circumstances surrounding (Rangers)," Southampton revealed in a June 26 message on their official website.
The decision "had not been made lightly," according to the newly-promoted Premiership side, and had been reached "with the integrity of the competition in mind."
Anderlecht came into their match against the Gunners having just defeated the Saints 1-0 in the tournament opener.
While Southampton had promoted the July 14 fixtures by promising "an extremely competitive experience with both Arsenal and Anderlecht bringing along a first team squad," the Arsenal side that faced Anderlecht wasn't exactly brimming with players one expects to see in Premiership matches.
That was partly due to the attrition forced by the European Championships—the number of Arsenal players who participated in Poland and Ukraine have yet to join up with the club, which began its preseason training last week.
So Damien Martinez started in goal, with Daniel Boateng, Ignasi Miquel, Nico Yennaris, Kieran Gibbs (who captained the side), Craig Eastmond, Thomas Eisfeld, Henri Lansbury, Sanchez Watt, Carl Jenkinson and Marouane Chamakh rounding out the starting XI.
Vito Mannone, Andre Santos, Martin Angha, Kristoffer Olsson (keep an eye on the Swedish talent), Johan Djourou and Sead Hajrovic were named to the substitutes list.
Arsenal.com reported that Anderlecht started off the stronger side in the match, and through 12 minutes had already seen a goal ruled out for offside.
Arsenal fired back and saw their first real goal-scoring chance come by way of a Chamakh shot, which was well-saved by Silvio Proto after Miquel had sent the Moroccan striker in on goal with a through ball in the 23rd minute.
Miquel would again be called into action on the other end of the pitch just seven minutes later (30') when he blocked Reynaldo's shot off the goal line. Martinez was being kept busy, according to Arsenal's tweets, but in the 34th minute the Gunners finally grabbed a goal.
After some excellent work from Jenkinson down the flank culminated in a cross, Lansbury fired home at the near post with what Arsenal described as "a lovely finish."
Considering how Lansbury is making a habit out of scoring at the Riverside, Wenger might do well to pick him when the Gunners head to St. Mary's in the upcoming Premier League season.
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