Nurnberg 1-1 Arsenal: Gunners held to surprise draw as pre-season begins

  • Arsenal began pre-season against 2.Bundesliga side Nurnberg
  • Bukayo Saka scored early Gunners goal
  • Goalkeeper mistake & two bad misses costs win
Bukayo Saka gave Arsenal an early lead
Bukayo Saka gave Arsenal an early lead / Alex Grimm/GettyImages

Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw in an eventful start to pre-season against a Nurnberg side that finished 14th in 2.Bundesliga last season and have spent eight of the last nine years out of the top flight in Germany.

The game began in difficult circumstances for the Gunners, who have been training in Germany at adidas HQ, when Martin Odegaard was forced to pull out of the starting lineup just moments before kick-off due to an minor injury suffered in the warm-up.

Even so, Bukayo Saka gave Arsenal an early lead in a first half that saw Mikel Arteta’s side in general control. It was a goal mostly of the England winger’s own making, latching onto a long pass down the right and cutting inside to find a low finish into the net.

Saka even had the opportunity to double Arsenal’s lead midway through the half, but Christian Mathenia was equal to his low shot in the home side’s goal.

Nurnberg created little of note going the other way in the opening 45 minutes, with Kwadwo Duah dragging a shot wide from a decent position.

Half-time didn’t see wholesale changes from Arteta, but the boss did add £65m signing Kai Havertz into the mix for his unofficial debut. The additional arrivals of Gabriel Jesus, Jorginho, Cedric Soares and Kieran Tierney at the break also ensured there would be some experience still on the pitch.

Jesus couldn’t get an effort on target when he went through on goal from a relatively narrow angle, while Fabio Vieira also narrowly missed with a snap shot inside the box. Substitute Folarin Balogun then struck the post after taking the ball past the Nurnberg goalkeeper, which proved to be a costly miss given that the hosts equalised on their very next attack.



What’s more, the goal was a complete gift. Replacement goalkeeper Karl Hein unfortunately shoulders the blame, attempting to play a pass into Jorginho in midfield. But with the Italian under pressure, Kanji Okunuki got there first and poked the ball into the empty net.

Nurnberg grew in confidence from then and another nervous Hein moment saw the Estonian fumble a long-range drive from Ali Loune, with Nathaniel Brown turn the rebound onto the bar. Into the final stages, only a last ditch block from Auston Trusty stopped a Nurnberg goal from Christoph Dafferner.

Against the run of play in the 90th minute, Balogun missed his second glorious chance of the game that would have won it for Arsenal. The American went bursting through the middle, moved the ball to the side of the onrushing goalkeeper and smashed the ball the wrong side of the post.

Hein then made up for his earlier error by saving Arsenal blushes deep into stoppage time, denying Nurnberg an historic win by blocking Felix Lohkemper’s close-range shot with his legs.


On this edition of The Chronicles of a Gooner, part of the 90min podcast network, Harry Symeoureacts to the delay over Declan Rice's move from West Ham to Arsenal. If you can't see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!