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Club Friendly

Arsenal draw with Lens thanks to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain goal

LENS, France -- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain marked his injury comeback with a delightful goal as a youthful Arsenal side drew 1-1 with French second-division club RC Lens in their first preseason game on Friday.

The Gunners trailed through Mathias Autret's first-half goal and had lacked sharpness up front until Oxlade-Chamberlain raced onto a pass from Serge Gnabry and calmly chipped the ball over goalkeeper Nicolas Douchez in the 82nd minute. It was the lone piece of individual quality on the night as Arsene Wenger's men had offered up few solutions to the team's scoring woes before then.

Arsenal controlled play for much of the first half but were undone in the 38th minute when Autret scored with a simple tap-in at the far post.

Calum Chambers had gifted Lens a quick attack when he failed to head the ball clear, allowing Abdellah Zoubir to race through on goal and set up Autret.

Arsenal created a few good early chances, only to display the kind of poor finishing that hurt them so often in key games last season.

With several of his top attackers yet to come back from their summer holidays, Wenger started with 20-year-old striker Chuba Akpom up front, with Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Alex Iwobi also playing in attack alongside Theo Walcott. Akpom wasted the team's first chance by shooting straight at the goalkeeper after being teed up by Iwobi, and Reine-Adelaide later missed his own opportunity by firing wide.

Walcott was productive on the right wing in the first half and moved up front after the break, but couldn't carve out any clear-cut opportunities before being taken off with 10 minutes left.

Aside from Oxlade-Chamberlain's beautiful goal, the game also gave Wenger an opportunity to assess a number of the players hoping to break into the first team this season. Teenager Krystian Bielik played centre-back in the second half, with Gnabry on the wing and under-21 goalkeeper Matt Macey between the posts.

French right-back Mathieu Debuchy was back in an Arsenal shirt after going out on loan in January, while Oxlade-Chamberlain made his comeback from a knee injury that ruled him out of Euro 2016 by playing the second half.

Arsenal fly to California on Monday, where they will play the MLS All-Stars in San Jose on Friday. They will likely field a stronger lineup for that game, with the likes of Petr Cech, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Granit Xhaka expected to make the trip.

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