Just a day after they dismantled Benfica 5-2 in a strong opening performance, Arsenal host Sevilla in the deciding game of the Emirates Cup as the Gunners look to win the competition for the fifth time.
After RB Leipzig and Benfica, who also face each other tomorrow, lost their first games, the trophy will be lifted by either Arsenal or Sevilla in a thrilling winner takes all tie.
Arsène Wenger’s men initially didn’t arrive to the competition in the best of form after a 3-0 loss against Chelsea last week in Beijing which showcased many defensive frailties and a lack of spark going forwards. Alexandre Lacazette was given few opportunities in that game to prove his big price tag in a lacklustre first half performance, and will be looking to make amends tomorrow afternoon.
However, the pulsating attacking display against Benfica will fill Arsenal fans and players alike with confidence going into Sunday's game. After eight points were collected against the Portuguese outfit, only a draw is needed to win the tournament and the red half of North London will be positive they can get the job done in front of their own fans.
The game against Sevilla will be the Gunners' final game in preparation for the Community Shield clash against Chelsea next weekend at Wembley.
On the back of an impressive La Liga campaign which saw them finish in a respectable fourth position, Sevilla had a mixed pre-season tour in Japan where they defeated champions Cerezo Osaka 3-1 but lost 2-0 to Kashima Antlers.
However, the Sevillistas arrive to the Emirates Stadium on the back of a 1-0 victory over RB Leipzig in yesterday’s other Emirates Cup tie, due to a controversial penalty that was duly dispatched by French striker Wissam Ben Yedder. Eduardo Berrizo’s army collected four points and will need to win to clinch their first ever Emirates Cup trophy, therefore a very attacking approach should be expected.
Arsenal and Sevilla have only previously met each other competitively twice, both in the 2007/08 season, in Group H of the UEFA Champions League. Arsenal won the home tie 3-0 but missed out on clinching top spot in their group when they fell 3-1 in Spain.
Wenger will likely field an entirely different eleven to the one that faced Benfica yesterday. The 3-4-3 system featured heavily as of late, and deployed yesterday, will most probably be implemented again. Emiliano Martinez may be given a chance in goal with a backline featuring Laurent Kosicelny, Calum Chambers and Nacho Monreal. The midfield is potentially set to consist of Héctor Bellerín and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as the right and left wing backs respectively with Aaron Ramsey and Mohamed Elneny in the centre of the park.
Mesut Özil, who recently said it was “very important” for Arsenal’s first team to face off against Europe’s elite, Lacazette, and Danny Welbeck will presumably form the attacking trio. There will be pressure lying on their shoulders to perform following both Theo Walcott’s and Olivier Giroud’s remarkable displays against Benfica.
With thirteen days to go until the Premier League opener against Leicester, everyone will be eager to show their worth to Wenger. Young players such as Joe Willock and left-back Cohen Bramall will be looking to take full advantage of their inclusion in the squad after Reiss Nelson, who has shone in pre-season so far, and the versatile Ainsley Maitland-Niles were given starting berths against Benfica. With Nelson in particular taking full advantage of his chance with a fine performance, Bramall and Willock will be desperate to get on the field and show their quality.