After a handful of low key warm-up matches at Barnet and in Austria, the pace picks up for the squad with the fourth edition of the Emirates Cup. While the first three games of this preseason have been fairly pedestrian, Arsenal will need to be sharper in order to lift the the Emirates Cup for a third time in four attempts. Even though the Gunners have yet to be scored on this preseason, the defence has been unconvincing at various times. A strong preformance in this tournament will go a long way in calming some of my fears.
Here is the boss on what this tournament tells him: ‘You will see some young players like Emmanuel Frimpong and Jack Wilshere, also the new players like Marouane Chamakh and Laurent Koscielny,’ said Wenger at the press conference on Friday.
‘It will be good to see them in a competitive environment. That will be interesting.’
Wenger added: ‘I will also learn what condition we are in physically, because we have worked quite hard and with two weeks to go it is important that we can last in the games.’
‘The third point is how ready are we with our team play? How sharp is our passing, and quick movement off the ball?’
Arsenal Team News:
With only two weeks to go until the start of the league season at Anfield, Arsene already has some injury worries. Bendtner should have never played at the World Cup, and his hamstring has never fully recovered. He will be out for 2-3 weeks. Song and Diaby have brought back ‘slight knocks’ from their summer endeavors, and Denilson has yet to feature this preseason. Cesc Fabregas is still on holiday after a tiring shift of bench warming for Spain, while van Persie is on a well deserved holiday.
Player to watch: Jack Wilshere
I know this isn’t really a creative pick, but Jack was the star of last year’s tournament and I hope he can continue to impress in front of the home crowd. His two goals against Ranger was a special moment for everyone in the stadium.
AC Milan, Celtic, Lyon Team News:
Here is a link to the squads for our guests this weekend.
Player to watch: Pato & Lisandro Lopez
There will be plenty of exciting players on hand, but Alexandre Pato and Lisandro Lopez are the two I will have my eye on. Neither we’re called upon by their countries for World Cup duty, so they’ll be rested and ready to go for the coming season.
I expect two wins this weekend for Arsenal. We are a better team than Celtic, as we proved in the Champions League qualifier last August. And Milan are just an older version of the team we beat in 2008. Unfortunately, I believe Lyon would have been a much better and more exciting test than the two teams we are scheduled to play.
7/8 (Sat) – Legia Warsaw (a)
The matches will be on Sky in England/Ireland and GolTv in the United States. I hope everyone enjoys the weekend’s festivities!