Nicolas Pepe (left) congratulates Eddie Nketiah as Arsenal ease past Ipswich 5-1 in a friendly
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Arsenal 5-1 Ipswich: Eddie Nketiah celebrates new Gunners deal by scoring 35-minute pre-season hat-trick in his first game in the No 14 shirt made famous by Premier League striking legend Thierry Henry

  • Eddie Nketiah scored inside 30 seconds as Arsenal thrashed Ipswich in a friendly
  • The striker, who signed a new long-term deal last month, hit a first-half hat-trick
  • Arsenal’s No 14 set up Sambi Lokonga; Folarin Balogun scored in the second half
  • The hosts won 5-1 as Nketiah wore Thierry Henry’s old number for the first time

Eddie Nketiah scored a 35-minute hat-trick as Arsenal beat Ipswich 5-1 on Saturday in his first game wearing Premier League legend Thierry Henry’s old No 14 shirt.

Arsenal kicked off their pre-season fixtures by thrashing the League One favourites in a behind-closed-doors friendly at London Colney, launched by Nketiah opening the scoring after 30 seconds when Ipswich lost possession in a dangerous area.

The striker, who ended lengthy speculation about his future by signing a new long-term deal less than two weeks ago, saw his header saved by goalkeeper Christian Walton before setting up a Sambi Lokonga strike.

Nicolas Pepe (left) congratulates Eddie Nketiah as Arsenal ease past Ipswich 5-1 in a friendly

Nicolas Pepe (left) congratulates Eddie Nketiah as Arsenal ease past Ipswich 5-1 in a friendly

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has a chat with Ainsley Maitland-Niles and scorer Sambi Lokonga

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has a chat with Ainsley Maitland-Niles and scorer Sambi Lokonga

Thomas Partey (second from left) talks tactics with Arteta during the game at London Colney

Thomas Partey (second from left) talks tactics with Arteta during the game at London Colney

Defender Ben White (centre) was among the first-team players who were replaced at half-time

Defender Ben White (centre) was among the first-team players who were replaced at half-time

Folarin Balogun, who scored Arsenal's fifth during the second half, threatens the Town defence

Folarin Balogun, who scored Arsenal’s fifth during the second half, threatens the Town defence

Nicolas Pepe went close with a curling effort but Nketiah stole the show, scoring twice in quick succession from close range to complete his hat-trick.

ARSENAL TEAMS AGAINST IPSWICH 

First half: Leno, Bellerin, White, Mari, Cedric, Partey, Maitland-Niles, Lokonga, Pepe, Nketiah, Nelson

Second half: Okonkwo, Walters, Kirk, Awe, Sousa, Smith, M’hand, Patino, Hutchinson, Balogun, Flores.

Subs: Jack Henry-Francis, Mazeed Ogungbo

 

Bernd Leno, Hector Bellerin, Ben White, Thomas Partey and Nicolas Pepe featured in a strong Gunners starting lineup, with both teams changed entirely for the second half.

Manager Mikel Arteta was able to call upon players who have not been involved in recent international matches, introducing Folarin Balogun as he switched his entire side at the interval to give young players experience. 

The 20-year-old England youth hotshot added the fifth after his initial shot had hit a post, marking his return from a loan spell at Middlesbrough spanning the second half of the 2022/23 season.

Leno thwarted Sam Morsy shortly before half-time and Arsenal replacement goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo tipped Lee Evans’s shot over the crossbar during the second period.

Sone Aluko fired in a late consolation for Kieran McKenna’s men, and Kyle Edwards also went close for Town.

Arteta takes Arsenal to a training camp in Germany on Monday, ending with a game at Nurnberg on July 8.

Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus is expected to have completed his £45m move to the Emirates Stadium by then. 

Arsenal subsequently play three games in the USA. Their Premier League campaign begins at Crystal Palace on August 5.

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