Arsenal got off to the worst possible start in pre-season when they were beaten 2-1 by Hibernian at Easter Road. The Gunners fielded a weakened line-up that included Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Willian, Eddie Nketiah, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Both the goals that Arsenal conceded were courtesy of defensive howlers.
Martin Boyle opened the scoring for the hosts in the 21st minute after a goalkeeping error from youngster Arthur Okonkwo. Nicholas Pepe and Thomas Partey were brought on in the second half and both were close to restoring parity. The former missed a penalty that was saved by goalkeeper Kevin Dabrowski. Daniel Mackay doubled the host’s lead against the run of play with another defensive error at the back. Emile Smith Rowe scored a consolation goal for the visitors.
Hibernian boss Jack Ross: “It’s an important part of our preparations for next Thursday and we were fortunate to have such high caliber opposition to play. So, we had to work incredibly hard without the ball.” Ross said after his Hibernian side beat Arsenal. “The fact that they changed their team at halftime as well meant that both sides we faced in each half had an energy about them. So, delighted with the work we put into the game. I was delighted with the threat we offered as well and you want to develop the habit of winning games as quickly as you can, particularly as you get close to your first competitive game.”
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta: “Well I’m always disappointed when we lose a football match but it is the first game, we played with many kids and we only had four training sessions. We’ve trained really hard and you could see that the players were a little bit leggy.” he added. “I think we conceded the first goal, an accident, and the second goal was clearly offside. We created many, many chances but we didn’t score. That’s what pre-season is for, to take the things that we haven’t done well into a training session and then improve.”