Arsenal were held to a 2-2 draw in the final game of their Asia tour, against Hong Kong club Kitchee SC, leaving Arsene Wenger plenty to think about ahead of the new season.
The Gunners had an awful start, conceding inside the first ten minutes, to Yago Lopez. The Hong Kong striker cut inside a sorry Ignasi Miquel, to score the opener. The Spanish defender was hoodwinked into going the wrong way as Yago made a delightful run into the penalty box and slotted the ball in with ease.
Miquel tried to redeem himself a little later with a delightful one-two to set up Marouane Chamkh but the Moroccan's lack of confidence was evident and the Kitchee keeper made a clean save. The Gunners finally broke through after 24 minutes - a rejuvenated Theo Walcott scored off a lovely through ball from French midfielder Abou Diaby, who fought to get the ball off two Kitchee players in the first place.
The parity did not last long though and Arsenal were undone by yet another defensive error. This time a deflected ball fall to Lopez but his overhead kick was brilliantly saved by Szczesny. Unfortunately for the Pole, left back Daniel Cancel reacted quickest in the box to thump the lose ball home.
Both Kitchee's goals reflected the fact that Wenger's side had little idea of defensive shape and tactics and, the goals apart, the first half saw Arsenal beaten on a number of occasions by a more modest Kitchee outfit.
The second half saw a more familiar Arsenal, with Ivorian winger Gervinho on for Japanese youngster Ryo Miyachi. The substitution almost made an impact near the hour mark, with the Ivorian running past the defence to play Benik Afobe on. The youngster's shot struck the outside of the post despite him having an open goal to shoot into.
Wenger's side finally equalised, for the second time in the game, on 72 minutes, after a brilliant Gervinho once again ran through the defence to cut back for another youngster - Thomas Eisfeld - who made no mistake with his tap-in.
"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. I played all of the defenders during this tour to see who is ready and who is not. We have Sagna, Koscielny and Mertesacker at home - three experienced defenders," Wenger countered, when asked about his team's defensive frailties.
Van Persie Talk
In other news, the Daily Mail reports Robin van Persie could be a Manchester United player by the end of the summer, if the Glazers are willing to give him a salary that matches Wayne Rooney's. The former Everton striker gets £220,000 per week and the Dutch captain wants something in that bracket.
Meanwhile, Manchester City, also linked with van Persie, have flatly refused to offer the striker top wages to join Roberto Mancini's side, according to the Mirror; their best offer is reported to be £150,000 per week, which is only slightly more than Arsenal's revised £130,000 per week deal.