Arsenal edge past Urawa Red Diamonds with a 2-1 win in Japan
By Ryan Parrish. Last Updated: 26/07/13 4:58pm
Chuba Akpom: Netted the winner for Arsenal against Urawa Red Diamonds in Japan
Arsenal signed off from their Asian tour with a 2-1 win over a resilient Urawa Red Diamonds at the Saitama Stadium in Japan.
Yet again, a capacity crowd turned out to watch the Gunners continue their pre-season preparations, with Arsene Wenger's side having won the previous three games of their Asian tour.
The hosts put up a good fight in the first half and Arsenal had to wait until the 49th minute to take the lead through substitute Lukas Podolski. Urawa equalised through a Yuki Abe volley on the hour mark but Chuba Akpom netted what proved to be the winner with a simple finish.
Having eased to victory in the previous three games of their Asian tour, Urawa promised to be a much tougher test for the Gunners, and they came closest to taking the lead when Tsukasa Umesaki fired wide of Lukasz Fabianski's post.
Theo Walcott found himself denied by the post after a mazy run into the area, and he was unlucky not to give his side the lead when the ball found its way to him moments later, but he was denied with a headed clearance off the line.
Walcott was frustrated again shortly after when he stormed into the area, but the ball seemingly bobbled as he approached the onrushing Norihro Yamagashi and he blazed over the bar.
Olivier Giroud was also close to putting Arsenal in front when he spotted Yamagashi some way off his line, but his lobbed effort just escaped the far post.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also found the woodwork standing in his way after the crossbar kept out his 30-yard piledriver, before Fabianski was forced into palming Tomoya Ugajin's goalbound effort behind for a corner, meaning that the sides went into the break level.
Arsene Wenger made a host of substitutions after the interval and it was Podolski, replacing Giroud, who finally broke the deadlock after Walcott teed up the German striker inside of the area and he fired past a helpless Yamagishi.
However, Arsenal's lead lasted no more than 10 minutes as former Leicester City midfielder Abe volleyed home to pull Urawa level. The Gunners failed to clear their lines from a corner and the ball found its way to Abe who slammed past Fabianski into the roof of the net.
Second-half substitute Akpom then restored Arsenal's lead after a mix-up in the Urawa defence. Miscommunication between goalkeeper Yamagishi and defender Keisuke Tsuboki allowed the young striker to slot home from inside of the area to make it 2-1.
The home side had a number of chances to draw level in the final 10 minutes, but Arsenal had Fabianski to thank for keeping them in the game with a host of fine saves.
With just over three weeks to go until the opening day of the Premier League season, Arsenal will now turn their attention to next weekend's Emirates Cup where they welcome Napoli and Galatasaray.