Emirates Cup 2017 Preview

Emirates Cup 2017 Preview

So, we’re approaching the end of July and that means a few things for Arsenal. One, pre-season is coming to an end and we can finally get the real games underway, but also there’s that matter of the Emirates Cup to focus on for a weekend too.
So far this summer we’ve played four, technically won three and lost once. Two of our wins came against sides we had no business losing to in Australia but against recent counterparts, Bayern Munich and Chelsea, we seemed to struggle a bit, well more than a bit against Chelsea. With a Community Shield fixture against the Blues in a couple of weeks hopefully, better opposition can get us ready for the trip to Wembley.
Just in case you didn’t know, this year marks 10 years since the first edition of the Emirates Cup in 2007 (one I was lucky enough to see live) and in the past decade, this pre-season competition has created some great but slightly bizarre memories. Ones that spring to mind are Nicklas Bendtner and Mathieu Flamini scoring to beat PSG, Andrei Arshavin scoring from the most impossible angle I’ve seen alongside Yaya Sanogo’s four goal riot against Benfica a couple of years ago.
This year’s line-up is looking pretty strong so this could be a bit more than a run-of-the-mill friendly against some farmers. Arsenal’s guests over this coming weekend include Sevilla, Benfica and Red Bull Leipzig who will all be fancying their chances in what could be a good confidence boost going into the new season.
If you’re an Arsenal fan I’m sure you’re familiar with the scheduling of the games for this weekend but just in case you aren’t, here you go:

For me, I would’ve liked to see us have a game against Red Bull Leipzig to see how we’d fare against a team that did so well last season but Benfica and Sevilla look to be interesting prospects.
Going ahead to our first game of the weekend it could be very interesting indeed. We face Benfica and if you’ve been taking notice of our outgoings this summer, one of our youngsters chose to switch The Emirates for the Estadio da Luz. That player was Chris Willock, a promising player who looked to be getting closer to the first team in recent years but eventually saw his contract run down this summer.
This game could be an opportunity to make Arsene Wenger regret his decision to let him go if selected to play on the day. Seeing as Benfica have won their league every year since the 2013-14 season, it might be a bit silly to expect another 5-1 thrashing of them like in 2014 but it should be an enticing game.
Looking at our form so far in pre-season I’ve been impressed at times but there are still some issues that need ironing out so hopefully this is another step closer to what we expect but I do see us edging this game.
On the Sunday we face Sevilla who, if I’m remembering rightly, we last played in the Champions League of 2007-08. Going into this one I’m a bit more optimistic than I was a few months ago. Firstly Jorge Sampaoli is no longer their manager as he went to take on the Argentina role which means the very effective style he had them playing last season has gone with him. Also moving away from Sevilla was their captain Vicente Iborra and Samir Nasri (who is back at Manchester City for the time being) in midfield. Quite different players in their nature but both would’ve been able to cause problems for us.
In this game, I’m not expecting to see the most energetic spectacle with it being only 24 hours after the Benfica game, but nevertheless, I’m still expecting a win.
This weekend could also give players who didn’t go on the tour of Australia and China a chance to get ready for the opening weeks of the season by getting some minutes under their belt. Players that spring to mind are Alexis Sanchez, Hector Bellerin, Calum Chambers, Rob Holding, maybe Jeff Reine-Adelaide and possibly Jack Wilshere if fit and still at the club.
All in all though, it should be a good weekend of football as the competition isn’t too weak or strong which hopefully sees four great games take place and hopefully the boys give us something good to shout about.

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