Arsenal’s pre-season tour North America starts with a friendly against Major League All-Stars in San Jose on Thursday Night. The MLS All-Stars squad will feature the likes of Liam Ridgewell, Giovani Dos Santos, Kaka, Andrea Pirlo, Clint Dempsey, Didier Drogba, Sebastian Giovinco and David Villa and thus would provide some serious competition for the young players of the Arsenal squad who are likely to feature in the match. Let’s see how the Gunners might line up for the tie.
Likely Set-up: 4-2-3-1
Arsene Wenger usually plays Emiliano Martinez in the friendlies but against the All Stars, Petr Cech is likely to get the nod and will try and stop Arsenal’s nemesis and his former teammate Didier Drogba from scoring yet again against his favourite opponent.
Mathieu Debuchy is likely to start as the right back for Arsenal in the match. Debuchy is in need of some match practice and the friendlies are a good opportunity for him to get some and slowly get some form back before the next season.
Calum Chambers will be featuring as the centre-back in the game and after making a bad mistake which led to a goal in the last game against Nice, the defender would need to have a good game for the team.
Arsenal’s new signing Rob Holding is all set to make his debut in the game playing alongside a familiar face in Chambers. Holding would relish the opportunity to play with someone he has a good understanding with and will be keen to impress.
Nacho Monreal started the last game against Nice so this time around Kieran Gibbs might get the nod. Gibbs will be facing a good test if he plays and will have some much needed playing time in the preseason before he fights for the place with Monreal.
Granit Xhaka could make his debut in the game and if he plays he would be one of the deep-lying players in the base of the midfield.
Santi Cazorla might be the partner for Xhaka in the double pivot. Cazorla and Xhaka playing together will provide a glimpse of what we are going to see primarily next season.
Left Attacking Midfielder
Alex Iwobi could feature in his favoured left side role as he would look to run the channels against the All Stars and make use of his trickery.
Arsenal’s promising young gun Gedion Zelalem is likely to get a chance to show his talents as a number 10 against the American League’s stars. Zelalem will be looking to impress his manager even more in a bid to get more games next season. He will be the one to watch out for if he plays.
Right Attacking Midfielder
Theo Walcott will be making his second start of the pre-season as he would look to unleash his pace and get some decent deliveries into the box a lot more which will test the All-Stars backline.
Chuba Akpom will be leading the line against the All Stars and would be seriously hoping to score some goals in a bid to convince his manager that he can be a decent backup who can score goals next season.