Arsenal will host the Emirates Cup this weekend as they aim to continue what has already been an impressive start to pre-season fixtures.
The tournament is now in its eight year running, and the Gunners will welcome Wolfsburg, Villarreal and Lyon to take part in a two-day tournament.
Arsenal have made this weekend an annual event since their switch to the Emirates Stadium, which has generated additional revenue, global image and most importantly, a competitive pre-season.
Manager, Arsene Wenger, uses the two-day period to assess players positions and give the youth development a run out with the rest of the first team squad.
Supporters can expect to watch two games on Saturday 25th and two games on Sunday 26th, with the Gunners playing both Lyon and Wolfsburg respectively.
The boss has already stated his ambition to take pre-season as seriously a possible, which has been proven following the seven goals scored and one conceded whilst playing in Singapore.
Those strikes came against a Singapore XI side and fellow Premier League team, Everton, who fielded one of their best elevens to try and overcome the Gunners.
However, the increase in competition for places meant the quality of football was high, and goals from Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla ensured the Barclays Asia Trophy was ours.
Wenger has already led his side to three victories in the Emirates Cup, and it can be argued that he has as good a side than ever before to pick up Arsenal’s second piece of silverware in the space of a month.
We’ve compiled a quick look at each team and exactly what threat they pose this weekend to keep you completely in the know during this weekends Emirates Cup.
The Gunners will field one of their strongest sides for the tournament since it began, which will include a mix of youth and experience across the two fixtures.
- Saturday 25th: Arsenal v Lyon (16.20)
- Sunday 26th: Arsenal v Wolfsburg (16.20)
Arsenal will be without their 2014/15 top goalscorer, Alexis Sanchez, who remains on holiday following his recent participation with national side, Chile. The forward scored the winning penalty to secure the Copa America trophy and we are likely to be without him until late August.
Also missing due to being on holiday is David Ospina, who enjoyed a successful run to the semi-finals of the South American tournament with his Colombian side.
It seems as if both Danny Welbeck and Thomas Rosicky will miss the weekends action as they continue to recover from minor injuries.
Welbeck will return to full training next week after suffering a slight bruising of his knee, with the sole aim of being ready for the Premier League campaign.
Rosicky is also out with a knee injury, but the Czech veteran will have to wait another three weeks before he can link up with his national teammate, Petr Cech.
Player To Watch: Petr Cech
Similar to last year with Alexis Sanchez, the Emirates Cup marks the first fixture in the calendar for Gunners fans to grab a glimpse of their new signing.
The former Chelsea goalkeeper has made one appearance since his £11m move, and he will surely be given a run out in front of his new set of supporters.
Cech played the full 90 minutes in Arsenal’s 3-1 victory over Everton in the BAT final, and fans will hope their new signing will help scoop yet another piece of silverware.
The 33-year-old will most likely be utilised on the Sunday against Wolfsburg, whilst Wenger still has two other options in Wojciech Szczesny and Emiliano Martinez.
What Can We Expect From Them?
When it comes to how the Gunners will perform this weekend we can expect no surprises, following their impressive performances in Singapore.
And although the fixtures will be a bit more of a challenge over the couple of days, Arsenal finally have the squad depth to compete at a high level in both games.
Arsene Wenger showed us his ability to utilise both experience and youth in Singapore and we can be in for much of the same, especially against Lyon on the Saturday.
Youngsters to look out for include Daniel Crowley and Alex Iwobi, who have both made their mark with the first team in recent weeks.
Arsenal take on Lyon first, and Wenger will most likely throw more of his young players out against the Ligue 1 side to gain experience against a top level senior side.
And after just 24 hours the boss will select an almost completely different starting eleven to take on Wolfsburg, who are competing in the Emirates Cup for the first time in their history.
Overall we can expect a confident start from the Gunners, who will have an overwhelming crowd behind them come Saturday afternoon.
The mood in training looks relaxed and competition for places is hotter than ever throughout the whole squad, following a recent transfer clear-out.
We’ve got a massive Community Shield game against Chelsea coming up and every single one of those players will want to be on the team sheet at Wembley.
It should be a good weekend for the Arsenal fans, who can expect nothing short than a great day out with some cracking football on offer. Click the next page number below to see Lyon’s preview.