In a preseason game that was about as friendly as a slap in the mouth, arsenal and Barcelona went to battle.
On the eve of this game, Mikel Arteta insisted that his squad may be “more physically than you would believe.”
In a kick-off encounter in Los Angeles, they squared up against the Spanish giants, and they more than lived up to their boast.
Arteta was arguably the most relieved person in the US that he chose not to risk £105million Declan Rice after he complained of a stiff calf on the pig of a surface in Stan Kroenke’s state-of-the-art SoFi Stadium.
Because the hapless American referee failed to maintain control, resulting in a startling 24 fouls and four yellow cards just in the first half.
It’s unclear how Ronald Araujo, a center-back for Barcelona, was able to continue playing after committing three nasty fouls and giving up a penalty area handball in the opening 30 minutes.
And the only time some kind of order was restored was when Barcelona manager Xavi chose to change his whole team at halftime.
Bukayo Saka, who tormented Marcos Alonso down the wing and was once more kicked from pillar to post, was the one who suffered the most.
The England star, though, kept coming back for more, and she ultimately won the game with a goal and an assist that twice offset goals from Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski.
First, he took advantage of Andreas Christensen, a former Chelsea defender, making a terrible first touch, and sent a shot past Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the 13th minute.
And on the verge of the break, he reached the byline with lightning speed to lift the ball into the area where Kai Havertz finished off Martin Odegaard’s header.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Arsenal’s Player of the Year, who missed a great opportunity to score in the 88th minute and missed a penalty in the 21st minute.
However, that error was quickly forgotten as Leandro Trossard gave Arsenal the lead for the first time in the contest with a beautiful step-over shot that went inside the far post in the 56th minute.
When he executed yet another stunning finish to Kieran Tierney’s cross in the 78th minute, the £21 million Belgian forward ensured victory.
When Ferran Torres pounced on Rob Holding’s mistake to cut the arrears, he briefly threatened to trigger a penalty shoot-out that nobody wanted.
However, Fabio Vieira put an end to such worries by capping off Arsenal’s trip to the United States with a 90th-minute rocket into the top corner.