Eddie Nketiah scored twice as Arsenal won their second match in the International Champions Cup.
Hot prospect Nketiah opened the scoring with a smart finish in the 16th minute as he showed great composure to seize on Sead Kolasinac.
It was more straight forward for his second in the 66th minute when Nketiah slotted home after a flowing move involving Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Carl Jenkinson and Alexandre Lacazette.
Joe Willock added a third in the 89th minute, finishing nicely after being set up by fellow substitute Alexandre Lacazette.
Nketiah was Arsenal ’s match-winner against Bayern Munich in Los Angeles and his brace and performances in the US tour have done him a power of good.
It was searing heat in Charlotte but another good work out for Arsenal who now face their final game of the pre-season tournament in Washington on Tuesday.
Eddie Nketiah is going places
He is 20 years old, is a good finisher and his opener against Fiorentina was a mix of composure and ruthlessness. Good control, sidestep and bang into the bottom corner. His second was a simple tap-in, but he is having a prolific pre-season.
There is a debate on whether to loan Nketiah out to give him games or keep him at Arsenal. He has stepped up during the US tour and it will be hard to know whether he will be better served staying at the Emirates or getting minutes in the Championship with Bristol City.
Either way, Nketiah has grown in physique and stature, can finish and is improving. Big future ahead if his career plan is mapped out well.
Arsenal’s transfer plans taking time - but their pre-season up to speed
They have had frustrations in the transfer market so far and will need to do some serious business before the start of the campaign.
But having had an intense game against Bayern Munich in Los Angeles, they won a decent test against Fiorentina in Charlotte.
No doubt about it, the squad needs some work and they need some signings but Unai Emery has got Arsenal looking sharp, well on schedule and they look up to speed.
Charlotte Another Time
The game kicked off at 6 pm local time, pitchside the temperatures were 100 degrees plus in scorching sunshine. The players were given regular drinks breaks.
Basically, it was too hot and probably did not help the 75,000 seater Bank of America Stadium sell tickets as it looked less than half full.
There were an incredible number of Arsenal shirts, it was amazing support in Charlotte, but this heatwave did the players no favours.
The new goal kick rule will take some getting used to
Yes, we all know it’s been changed. The keeper can now play it to a defender, it does not have to leave the penalty area and then you can play on. But it still looks weird.
It will be interesting to see how some teams who play out from the back get closed down quickly and whether defenders get caught out.
Because even though it’s been well highlighted, it still looks odd. A sweep on when the first mistake is surely in the offing. Second week is my bet.
Emery should stick with a back four
Arsenal started with Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers and Nacho Monreal in a back three and Unai Emery did use the system a lot last season. They went to a back four at half time (Sead Kolasinac went off and Nacho Monreal went to left-back) and the shape looked better.
But Emery’s whole system and tactics is surely better suited to a back four to help get more players in midfield. Trouble is, you need four good defenders and that is the issue.
However, Emery should develop a plan and stick with it because, at the moment and at times last season, we’re still not sure of how Arsenal are playing and whether they are a possession team, counter-attacking or pressing. They need a set direction and look better with a back four.