Akpom goal sees Gunners to victory
Teenage striker Chuba Akpom came off the bench to score the winner as Arsenal completed an unbeaten tour of Asia with a 2-1 win against Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds.
Arsenal had taken the lead through Lukas Podolski, a half-time replacement for Olivier Giroud, before Japan international Yuki Abe scored the equaliser with a long-range effort. But Akpom sealed the victory for Arsenal eight minutes from time when he capitalised on a defensive blunder to score his fourth goal of a successful tour.
Arsenal could have won by more. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott both hit the woodwork in the first half and Giroud saw a lofted shot drop just wide of the post.
Nonetheless, manager Arsene Wenger was happy to have come through a tough test after beating Nagoya 3-1 and putting seven goals past both the Indonesian Dream Team and Vietnam.
“We wanted a competitive game and we were not disappointed,'' Wenger told the club’s official website. “The game was played at a good pace. They tried to catch us on the break, defended very well and were very sharp on counter attack so it was a good test for us.”
Podolski finished an intricate move to put Arsenal ahead, with Aaron Ramsey and Walcott combining to tee up the German to finish from close range.
Abe rifled home the equaliser after Arsenal only half cleared a corner and it seemed the Japanese side were destined for a well-earned draw when Akpom pounced to win it for Arsenal.
Wenger revealed that Ryo Myaichi is likely to go back out on loan if he can bring in more experienced midfield reinforcements before the new campaign.
“He has done well. You could see that he is finding his sharpness back,” Wenger said. “He is fighting for his position like many players. I like his game. I believe he is in a position where he needs to play to have a good chance of competing at the top level.
“At the moment he will stay in the squad. Should we buy more players I will have to reassess the situation. At the moment he will stay with us.”
Wenger was also impressed by academy midfielder Serge Gnabry.
“He was very good as well. He is 17 years old and he has a presence, power, good technique and can play on both sides. He is a very interesting, promising talent,” Wenger said.
Information from the Press Association was used in this report.