Arsenal began their preseason on Thursday with a 1-1 draw against Nurnberg. The game in Germany predictably featured a plethora of players throughout the fixture. Among the second-half substitutes were an American duo, as well as a debut for new signing Kai Havertz.

The North London outfit was, however, forced to make a late change to their starting lineup. Club captain Martin Odegaard picked up a slight injury in the warmup. Portuguese playmaker Fabio Vieira replaced the attacking midfielder in the middle of the pitch. With Odegaard out, central defender Gabriel filled in as captain for the game.

Star player in midseason form for Arsenal friendly

Bukayo Saka opened the scoring for the visitors less than seven minutes into the match. The star collected the ball out on the right flank, cut back into the box, and struck a perfectly placed shot into the bottom corner of the net. Despite it being the first preseason game of the summer, Saka’s strike was certainly impressive. Defender Ben White provided the assist on the goal with a clever ball over the top of the defense.

Perhaps even more interesting than the actual scores of these preseason games are the tactics and positioning of Arsenal players. With Eddie Nketiah, Bukayo Saka, and Reiss Nelson leading the front line on Thursday, Leandro Trossard was deployed in midfield. The Belgian international essentially took up the role previously played by Granit Xhaka. Defender Jakub Kiwior also regularly tucked into midfield throughout the first half as well.

Havertz, Balogun enter as second-half subs

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta made a host of changes ahead of the start of the second half. In particular, one substitution interested Arsenal fans. Kai Havertz, the club’s newest official signing, entered the fray as a replacement for Reiss Nelson. The German, however, would slot into Trossard’s spot in midfield. Gabriel Jesus also came on for the second half as well, taking the captain’s armband in the process.

United States men’s national team striker Folarin Balogun then replaced Trossard in the 55th minute of the match. The Belgian also appeared to be nursing a minor injury as well. Balogun, playing on the right flank, would hit the post with a shot from a difficult angle just six minutes after entering the match. Fellow American Auston Trusty featured for Arteta’s team in the second half of the game as well.

Hosts grab equalizer thanks to gift from goalie

Nurnberg leveled the scoreline in the 62nd minute thanks to a gift by Gunners goalkeeper Karl Hein. The third-choice keeper attempted a dangerous pass to midfielder Jorginho while well out of his goal. However, Kanji Okunuki pounced on the loose ball and put it into the wide-open net. Another mistake by Hein in the 74th minute nearly gave Nurnberg the lead, but the hosts couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity.

Balogun also had a chance to grab a goal in the 90th minute as well. Nevertheless, the American put his shot just wide of the post on a one-on-one chance with the opposing goalkeeper. As a result, the match finished all square in the end. The Gunners will continue their preseason plans with a tour of the United States. Their first fixture Stateside is the MLS All-Star game set for July 19th.