UNITED STATES, July 29 – Didier Drogba inevitably scored but Arsenal came through a stern test from the MLS All-Stars with a 2-1 victory in San Jose.
In the battle between north America and north London, the Gunners came out on top with goals from Joel Campbell and Chuba Akpom.
Arsenal’s nemesis Drogba, who used to make a habit of scoring for Chelsea against Wenger’s men, got the goal the MLS side deserved and they could have had more with a little more care in their finishing.
Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey, Laurent Koscielny and Mesut Özil didn’t feature as they continue their recovery from Euro 2016 while Alexis Sanchez, Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista missed the game through injury. This handed a first start for new signing Rob Holding, who joined from Bolton last week.
The MLS squad, which was picked by San Jose Earthquakes boss Dominic Kinnear and league commissioner Don Garber, included Andrea Pirlo, David Villa and Drogba, who all started in San Jose.
Arsenal started brightly with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott linking up to good effect.
They took the lead on 11 minutes from the penalty spot.
Campbell skipped in behind the All-Star defence and poked the ball past Andre Blake before being nudged to the ground by Laurent Ciman. The Costa Rican stepped up and curled the ball into the corner from 12 yards.
Mohamed Elneny forced Blake into a flying save on 23 minutes before Petr Cech had to be alert to deny former Tottenham man Giovani dos Santos after a 60-yard pass from Pirlo.
Drogba had a free-kick blocked away by Holding on 43 minutes, but he got his customary goal against the Gunners two minutes later.
Dos Santos found the striker inside the area and although he needed three bites at the cherry he flicked the ball past his good friend Cech to draw the MLS side level.
The All-Stars made eight changes after the break, with Sebastian Giovinco and Clint Dempsey among the players given a run-out.
Granit Xhaka entered the fray for Arsenal and produced a solid display in midfield.
Chances were few and far between, although Chris Wondolowski blazed over from 15 yards with seven minutes remaining after being presented with a glorious opportunity.
Arsenal punished his wastefulness three minutes later.
Substitute Nacho Monreal got the by-line and found Akpom two yards out – the man who spent last season on-loan at Hull City couldn’t miss.
Next stop for Arsenal on their tour of north America is a trip to California on Sunday to face Chivas. They start their 2016/17 Premier League campaign on August 14 at home to Liverpool.