Plenty of young talents and new signings were on show as Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool kept up their preparations for the new season against English clubs on Saturday afternoonSome of the Premier League's biggest and best clubs were in pre-season action on Saturday, and there were wins for Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool before they jet off for their overseas tours.
The games were an opportunity for some talented youngsters to showcase their talents, not to mention some high-profile summer acquisitions.
So with less than a month until the Premier League returns, find out how the biggest clubs are shaping up ahead of the big kick-off...
|BENIK AFOBE & CHUBA AKPOM
After coolly dispatching a stuttered late penalty beyond the Boreham Wood goalkeeper, Yaya Sanogo may just have cause for concern. With Benik Afobe providing a focal point at the point of Arsenal's attack, but showing extra sharpness on the ball, he just might threaten to become a more complete option in comparison to his French team-mate. Able to handle himself against opposition defenders and more readily mobile, Afobe may be able to stake a claim for a place in Arsene Wenger's cup plans.
Although Chuba Akpom failed to net during his loan spell at Coventry last season, the 18-year-old substitute set Meadow Park alight on Saturday. Keen to beat his man down the left-hand side with a combination of nice pieces of skill and frightening pace, the cumbersome first-half focal point of Yaya Sanogo vanished from recent memory. Forcing goalkeeper James Russell into two smart saves after cutting inside onto his preferred right foot, the young striker was unfortunate to not leave with a brace, certainly leaving manager Arsene Wenger with a performance to mull over.
|KRIS OLSSON & HECTOR BELLERIN
Swedish teenager Kris Olsson's confident finish set Arsenal on their way to victory, lifting a Tomas Rosicky through ball over the onrushing goalkeeper with calm aplomb. The midfielder was full of running and drifted inside to allow the overlapping Hector Bellerin to have a profound effect on the game, always keen to get on the ball and act positively while in possession.
Bellerin himself put in an all-action performance down the right-hand side, and Carl Jenkinson may just have to step up his work-rate to ensure that he remains second-choice behind new signing Mathieu Debuchy. The young Spaniard provided plenty of width, as well as delivering a number of excellent crosses into the danger zone, forcing the Boreham Wood back four to defend rather desperately. The 19-year-old proved to be a willing runner and precise outlet.
Though he featured during a goalless first-half display, the 17-year-old linked up well with Aaron Ramsey in central midfield and provided a number of incisive passes from deep. Always keen to play a forward pass, looking to set Yaya Sanogo in behind the non-league outfit's defensive line, the vast majority of Arsenal's first-half openings came as a result of intelligent play from the Berlin-born midfielder. Showing invention and creativity, plenty of optimism can be taken from watching a youngster showing ability and vision beyond his tender years.
|LEWIS BAKER & MOHAMED SALAH
Chelsea fought back from two goals down after a miserable first-half performance, and second-half substitute Lewis Baker was instrumental in their comeback as they scored three goals in 15 minutes.
The 19-year-old demonstrated fine technique and delivery of the ball as he picked up three assists, setting up John Terry for two goals from corners after some poor Wimbledon defending in the box.
His in-swinging corners were effective, but it was the vision to pick out Mohamed Salah for the equaliser that was most impressive, spotting his run to play a terrific ball over the top from deep.
Salah may have joined in January but he will have to force his way into Jose Mourinho's plans, and he was a bright spark throughout here. In a first half with little penetration for the Blues, he was one of the few players who looked capable of creating chances.
He was lively on the right-hand side and direct in his running, and he turned goalscorer with little under 10 minutes remaining when Baker picked out his run with a terrific pass.
His control was smart as he held off the defence and, at the second time of asking, spun sharply to dispatch for Chelsea’s equaliser - and a more than deserved goal.
|EMRE CAN & RICKIE LAMBERT
Emre Can plenty of the ball on his Liverpool debut, with he and Lucas Leiva able to keep the ball with relative ease at the heart of the Reds’ midfield during the early stages.
His first appearance for the Anfield outfit came to premature end, though, as he began limping after just 20 minutes despite being under no pressure from any Preston players, and with Brendan Rodgers looking to take no risks, the German limped off and made a quick exit down the tunnel.
Liverpool confirmed that the 20-year-old had suffered a calf injury and Rodgers insisted he was only taken off as a precaution.
As for Rickie Lambert, on what was bound to be an emotional debut for the boyhood Liverpool fan, he struggled to get involved after returning from the World Cup and keeping on top his fitness prior to the new campaign.
His only real effort was straight at Jamie Jones in the Preston goal while he was flagged offside on more than one occasion as he failed to form any kind of understanding with strike partner Fabio Borini, who's set for Sunderland.
His afternoon came to an end after just 45 minutes after he was replaced by Suso, though he is likely to be handed more opportunities in the USA as Daniel Sturridge looks to regain match fitness following a holiday.
|JORDAN IBE & SUSO
After impressing against Brondby on Wednesday, much was expected of talented midfielder Jordan Ibe when he replaced Can following his early injury, and he didn’t disappoint.
The former Birmingham City loanee really should have given the Reds a first-half lead after he latched on to Lambert’s through ball, but fired over the top when well placed. That didn’t detract from the fact he was Liverpool’s best player before the break, with his direct running adding a different dimension to an otherwise slow-paced showing from Rodgers’ charges.
After the break he found himself on the left-hand side of an attacking trio, and he continued to have plenty of influence before helping the Reds turn the game on its head.
He first set up Suso for the equaliser as he embarked on a mazy run across the width of the pitch before allowing the Spaniard to curl home before yet another turn of pace left three Preston defenders in his wake, allowing Kristoffer Peterson to slide home the winner from Ibe’s pullback.
The 18-year-old almost got himself on the scoresheet late on as a dangerous cross was tipped behind by Thorsten Stuckmann, but that should not detract from yet another eye-catching performance.
Suso replaced Lambert at the break and added an extra dimension to Liverpool’s attacking play as he regularly cut inside from the right to trouble the Preston back four.
Despite seeing his first effort slide harmlessly wide of the post, he wasn’t deterred and forced Stuckmann into a save low to his left with a left-footed drive. It proved to third time lucky for the Spaniard as he eventually got his name on the scoresheet, curling a fine effort past Stuckmann into the top corner following that fine run by Ibe.
Though his game can be sometimes one dimensional, he showed enough in 45 minutes to suggest he has a role to play at Anfield this season.
|TOM CARROLL & HARRY KANE
Tom Carroll displayed an accomplished range of passing which kept a stuttering Tottenham attack moving during a troubled opening half against the Seattle Sounders. He was one of the Spurs players to adapt quickest to the plastic surface at CenturyLink Field, and that ability to change could see him replace Gylfi Sigurdsson seamlessly in Mauricio Pochettino’s side, should the Iceland international move on.
Harry Kane showed once again in Seattle why so much faith had been places on his shoulders towards the end of last season with a confident display as he led the line by himself. Savvy enough to drop deeper to help his team-mates, a mature display was topped off by a wonderful assist for Lewis Holtby in the 11th minute, Kane finding the German with a delicately lofted throughball, which was headed home.
|CRISTIAN CEBALLOS & IAGO FALQUE
Cristian Ceballos and Iago Falque both stepped off the bench for Tottenham in the second half against the Seattle Sounders and quickly began posing questions of the American side’s defence.
The pair joined Erik Lamela in a three-pronged attack behind Roberto Soldado after the break and Ceballos caused problems for both the defence and his team-mates by continually vacating his role on the right and wandering infield. The movement presented the winger with opportunities on the left hand side of the box, but robbed the Premier League side of an outlet on their right for the second half, the Spaniard's game ending with a booking after an overzealous tackle made on the left-hand side of the pitch.
Up against World Cup opposition in the form of DeAndre Yedlin, Falque seemed unperturbed on the left, relishing the opportunity to test himself against the best the USA has to offer. His inexperience got the better of him when he outjumped his opponent to meet Ryan Fredericks' cross, only to send it over the bar. However, he showed confidence and composure to take the ball off Soldado and slot home Spurs’ second penalty.
|RYAN FREDERICKS & MILOS VELJKOVIC
Despite conceding twice as many goals as in the first half, the Tottenham defence including Milos Veljkovic and Ryan Fredericks looked a much tougher nut to crack.
With Michael Dawson unwittingly laying chances on a plate during the opening period, Velkovic’s arrival signalled a much sharper central defence, which was only breached by a wonder-strike from Osvaldo Alonso. The 18-year-old Serbian made one key interception, but still had his inexperience exposed as Seattle made the most of the opportunity when forcing Veljkovic to turn and face his own goal.
Fredericks has had just as few chances in the Tottenham first team but last season’s loan stint at Millwall appears to have done the full-back some good, as he immediately showed a presence down the right-hand-side. The 22-year-old delivered a couple of dangerous crosses and supplied an outlet down his flank after it had been abandoned by fellow substitute Cabellos.