Arsenal secured a winning start to the 2017 Emirates Cup on Saturday, beating Benfica 5-2 in front of a home crowd in north London.
The two teams served up an entertaining first half filled with horrendous defending and subsequent goals. Franco Cervi grabbed the first before a quick double from Theo Walcott, and Eduardo Salvio put the 2-2 half-time score on the board.
A Lisandro Lopez own-goal made it 3-2 early in the second half, and Giroud all but secured the win shortly after. Alex Iwobi made it 5-2, completing a wonderful afternoon at the Emirates Stadium.
Here's a look at the teamsheet, per the Gunners' official Twitter account:
Arsenal FC @Arsenal
It's almost time - here's the teamsheet for #AFCvBEN https://t.co/2liGckl9uN2017-7-29 15:08:17
The Gunners had the brighter start, with Giroud testing goalkeeper Julio Cesar with an early header. Benfica shocked the hosts with their first chance of the match, however, as Jonas laid the ball off to Cervi, who blasted a volley through the legs of Per Mertesacker.
James McNicholas of Bleacher Report blamed the goal on rust:
1-0 to Benfica. It’s Cervi who fires in after some very rusty defending. Plenty of Benfica fans at the Emirates to celebrate it.2017-7-29 15:32:58
Arsenal's 3-4-2-1 formation showed plenty of promise in attack, with Sead Kolasinac putting in a solid effort, but defensively, there were major issues. Jonas in particular had all kinds of space to pick out team-mates every time the ball was worked near the box.
Walcott won his team a free-kick after a poor tackle from Eliseu―who could have been sent off―and the speedy forward continued to impress in the first half, scoring two goals in quick succession to hand his team the lead.
First, he blasted home a volley after great work from Kolasinac, although the goal probably shouldn't have stood, as the Bosnian committed a clear foul in the buildup. The full-back doubled his assist tally minutes later, squaring the ball up for the England international, who finished off a great move.
Per Squawka Football, Kolasinac's attacking output wasn't unexpected:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Sead Kolašinac registered 5 assists in the Bundesliga during 2016/17; no defender had more. Loves to bomb forward. 👊 https://t.co/NYWMscueX12017-7-29 15:47:04
But Arsenal's defence continued their struggles. Their Portuguese opponents walked right through the midfield, and Salvio produced an easy finish after David Ospina lost position in goal. The half-time score was 2-2.
Calum Chambers started the second half in defence, while manager Arsene Wenger also ordered new signing Alexandre Lacazette to warm up. Before the Frenchman could enter the pitch, his team regained the lead, however, with Lopez pushing a cross into his own net.
Betting company Coral were not impressed with the defending on offer:
3-2 Arsenal, a Lisandro Lopez own goal, some game for a pre-season friendly this. Not a single good defender on the pitch. https://t.co/h2yw9q4JF22017-7-29 16:30:56
Somehow, Walcott didn't complete his hat-trick shortly after, as he blasted wildly over from inside the box.
Arsenal dominated the early stages of the second half and deservedly doubled their lead just past the hour mark. Reiss Nelson played in an excellent pass for Giroud, who gave Cesar no chance with a spectacular finish.
The floodgates opened even further during the second half, as Iwobi added to the scoreline after yet another great move through Kolasinac and Giroud.
McNicholas was impressed with the football on show:
5-2. LOVELY from Iwobi. Kolasinac cross, Giroud lay-off, finish side-footed high into the net. Gorgeous.2017-7-29 16:48:20
Lacazette was introduced after the fifth goal, receiving a standing ovation on his home debut. The Frenchman didn't have much time to impress, as Benfica shut up shop to avoid even more goals and Arsenal calmly ran out the clock.
The Gunners will face Sevilla on Sunday.