Hibernian 2-1 Arsenal: Emile Smith Rowe strike unable to prevent Gunners from sliding to surprise opening pre-season defeat after error from rookie keeper Arthur Okonkwo allowed Scottish side to take lead… and Nicolas Pepe has a penalty saved
- Horror Arsenal error allows Martin Boyle to roll easy finish for Hibs to take lead
- Daniel Mackay doubled lead in second half while Nicolas Pepe had penalty saved
- Emile Smith Rowe pulled a goal back for Arsenal in the final 10 minutes
- Arsenal starting XI: Okonkwo (Hein), Soares (Bellerin), Clarke (Rekik), Mari, Kolasinac (Hutchinson) Nelson (Pepe), Elneny (Henry-Francis), Maitland-Niles (Partey), Nketiah (Balogun), Aubameyang (Lacazette), Willian (Smith Rowe)
Arsenal’s pre-season got off to a slow start in Scotland after Mikel Arteta’s side were surprisingly beaten by Hibernian at Easter Road.
The Gunners fielded a starting XI of mainly first-team players, handing first senior starts to 19-year-old keeper Arthur Okonkwo and centre-back Harry Clarke.
Yet it was Okonkwo’s terrible error in the first period that gave Hibs a first half lead in the 21st minute.
Hibernian ran out surprise 2-1 winners over Arsenal at Easter Road, with Daniel Mackay’s second half goal proving to be the winner for the Scottish side
Mackay stabbed home with 21 minutes to play to give Hibs a 2-0 lead in the friendly clash
The keeper’s attempt to clear a bouncing backpass saw him volley at thin air, allowing Martin Boyle to steal in and roll the ball home.
The home side doubled their lead in the second period through a Daniel Mackay header from close range after a corner was nodded back across goal with 21 minutes to play.
Just moments later Nicolas Pepe had a chance to pull a goal back, only for his penalty to be saved by Kevin Debrowski after the winger had been brought down.
Emile Smith Rowe did eventually pull a goal back with a crisp half-volley with eight minutes to play, but it was not enough to prevent the Gunners from opening up their pre-season campaign with defeat.
Arteta however won’t be too downhearted by his side’s display, as they largely dominated the game and created plenty of chances they would perhaps have taken had this been nearer the start of the season.
Eddie Nkeitah pounced on hesitancy at the back before running in on goal, only to miss a one-on-one chance by placing an effort wide, while former Arsenal keeper Matt Macey also made a smart first half save to deny Reiss Nelson’s low drive across goal.
Hibs though did also cause one or two scares, with Steven Bradley rattling the near post in the first period.
Thomas Partey was brought on with a number of other first-team stars at half-time, and saw a free-kick crash off the post near the top corner.
The Gunners looked a much better team following the introduction of Smith Rowe at the break, and the attacking midfielder could be playing his way into the starting XI this term following a promising breakthrough campaign last term.
Arsenal will now travel to Rangers in four days time to complete their mini-tour of Scotland.
RE-LIVE ALL THE ACTION AS IT HAPPENED…
Arsenal begin their preparation for the 2021-22 campaign as they play their first pre-season friendly when they travel to face Hibernian at Easter Road.
It’s the first of two matches in Scotland for the Gunners as they take on last season’s third placed finishers in the Scottish Premiership with a squad likely to contain many first-team stars including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Follow all the action from the 6pm kick-off with DAN RIPLEY including line-ups and build up ahead of the encounter.