Arsenal suffered the indignity of being jeered by their own fans after another careless display ended in a lackluster 1-1 draw against the New York Red Bulls in the Emirates Cup on Sunday.
Arsene Wenger’s side had already irritated the Emirates Stadium faithful by squandering a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw with Boca Juniors on Saturday and another frustrating result triggered an angry response from the 60,000 crowd in north London.
Robin van Persie gave Arsenal the lead just before halftime, but the Gunners wasted several opportunities to score again and their porous defense conceded a host of chances, before New York finally equalized through a Kyle Bartley own-goal in the final minutes.
The draw was enough to leave New York as the winners of the four-team tournament, which also featured Paris Saint-Germain and Boca Juniors.
It was another dispiriting day for Wenger, who has been heavily criticized for his failure to make top-class signings during the close-season after six years without a trophy.
To make matters worse, England midfielder Jack Wilshere was forced off with an injury after just seven minutes.
Wilshere could miss his country’s friendly against the Netherlands on Aug. 10 after suffering an ankle injury and Wenger does not expect the teenager to be back in action for a week.
The 19-year-old has an ankle inflammation and, although Wenger hopes he will recover within a few days, he admitted he wouldn’t play for England if he cannot feature in Arsenal’s friendly against Benfica next weekend.
That would be a blow to England coach Fabio Capello, who plans to build his midfield around Wilshere and who is already without Steven Gerrard and Theo Walcott for the clash against the Netherlands.
“The England game is on Aug. 10 and I don’t know whether he will be available. They told me he might be out next week,” Wenger said. “If he is out next week, he will not play against Benfica, so he will certainly not play for England. They say he might be out for the whole of next week because he has an ankle inflammation, but he has not torn anything. It is not very serious. He is a quick healer usually and a tough boy, so I hope he will be quicker than the medical predictions.”
Arsenal’s current malaise is a far cry from the glory days of Thierry Henry, who was treated to a hero’s welcome on his return to the Emirates with New York.
The Gunners’ record goal-scorer took only seven minutes to make an impact as he drove a low shot just wide.
After Henry’s free-kick forced an acrobatic save from Wojciech Szczesny, Aaron Ramsey missed a glorious chance to put Arsenal ahead, blazing over following van Persie’s rampaging run.
That did not seem a major problem when van Persie broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute with a header from Tomas Rosicky’s free-kick, but new signing Gervinho wasted a chance to make it 2-0 as the Arsenal forward shot too close to the goalkeeper.
Arsenal’s habit of contributing to their own downfall with poor defending resurfaced when Henry was allowed a clear run on goal only to shoot wide in the second half.
Henry was the inspiration for New York’s 84th-minute equalizer when he threaded a pass to Juan Agudelo, whose cross was turned into his own net by Bartley.
In the day’s earlier match, Paris Saint-Germain cruised to a 3-0 victory over Boca Juniors.