Four things learned from Arsenal's 1-1 draw with RC Lens

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Pre-season friendlies are by and large regarded as an opportunity to build fitness ahead of the new season, but that theory will do little to paper over the cracks for Arsenal following their 1-1 draw with RC Lens on Friday night.

The senior likes of Francis Coquelin, Per Mertesacker and Theo Walcott all started against the French side but flattered to deceive, with the former particularly criticised for his performance.

Were it not for the fact Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain produced a moment of sheer brilliance in the 82nd minute to level the scores, Arsenal were heading for a quite an embarrassing defeat.


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Friendlies ultimately count for little in the grand scheme of things but Arsene Wenger will be well aware that improvements are needed before his side embark upon their US tour.

And we're here to help - here's four talking points from the Gunners' draw at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.


We've been here before. Wenger opted to start Mertesacker alongside Calum Chambers in the first half and their weaknesses were soon exposed.

On one too many occasions did Lens exploit the German's lack of pace and crafted a number of goalscoring opportunities because of it.

With the safety of Laurent Koscielny clearing up behind him, Mertesacker is okay, but the fact remains that Wenger must purchase an upgrade if Arsenal are to launch a serious title bid next season.

The Gunners' defence will forever be unstable as long as he remains at the heart of it.


It was another night to forget for Walcott, who is now regarded as a senior player at the Emirates Stadium.

Misplaced passes, shots off target and failed dribbles summed up yet another poor display, also delivering a timely reminder of how Arsenal crave quality on the right flank.

Oxlade-Chamberlain showed moments of promise upon his introduction but a player of Riyad Mahrez's calibre is needed to fill a rather large void.


Tall, strong and fast, Akpom has all the makings of a top-class striker - if only he could demonstrate that.

Against Lens, the 20-year-old looked lost and failed to make his mark against what was - and let's not beat around the bush - a poor defence.

Wenger continues to show faith in him but even after his loan spell at Hull City last season, where he impressed, Akpom doesn't appear to have progressed much.

Luckily for him, time is still on his side.


When Arsenal splashed £16 million on Chambers two years ago, fans anticipated they had just signed a player destined for greatness.

Yet two years on and, like Akpom, the Englishman has delivered very little.

Chambers showed much promise upon his arrival in north London but, like his performance against Lens suggests, he's just not cutting it at the moment.

A season-long loan would undoubtedly be beneficial to his growth.

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