After what can only be described as an interesting few days for Arsenal fans, focus switches back to the on-the-pitch action as the Emirates Cup returns and former Gunner Sylvinho takes his Olympique Lyonnais side to N5.
Gunner's pre-season prep comes to a close
Arsenal take on Lyon tomorrow (Sunday) fresh from a successful pre-season tour of America, as Unai Emery’s men begin their final pre-season preparations.
Lyon have lost both their pre-season games so far and will be hoping to find some form ahead of their Ligue 1 campaign kicking off at Monaco on August 9th.
For the Gunners, it will be the first chance for fans to see new signing Dani Ceballos in action, as well as getting another look at the young stars who impressed in the States.
With Arsenal’s defensive qualities under scrutiny last season, and Rob Holding still recovering from a torn ACL, Calum Chambers has an opportunity to stake his claim for a spot alongside Sokratis on the opening day against Newcastle. Meanwhile, Unai Emery will be looking to use this as a chance to assess his attacking options one last time, with Arsenal’s squad depth going forward impressive enough already and Nicolas Pepe apparently on the verge of signing for a club-record £80m.
Lyon have let go of several key players this summer but still have forward Memphis Depay, arguably their best player over the past two seasons, leading the line. The Dutchman will feel like he has a point to prove in England after his underwhelming spell at Manchester United and could give Arsenal’s frail defence a tough time.
What the managers say
Unai Emery on his squad options: “Young players will be doing possibly their best performance and taking more minutes with us, plus any new players we have signed. I think it's the first moment we can be together and we can be strong for the start of the season."
Sylvinho on his return to North London: “I had the chance to see the new Arsenal stadium many years ago. It was with Manchester City, but I stayed on the bench, I didn't play. But when I talk about Arsenal, it's always something special for me. It's a kind of homecoming. It's a good feeling.”
Arsenal: Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding miss out as they recover from their injuries, and captain Laurent Koscielny’s strike situation is seemingly no closer to being resolved. Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Shkodran Mustafi could be available after missing the clash against Real Madrid.
Likely line-up: Leno; Jenkinson, Chambers, Sokratis, Kolasinac, Torreira, Ceballos, Xhaka, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette
Lyon: It’s an opportunity for a young Lyon side to impress as they welcome back Moussa Dembele, Houssem Aouar and Lucas Tousart from France U21 duties. Boss Sylvinho has no injury problems troubling him and so has a full squad to pick from.
Likely line-up: Lopes; Tete, Mapou, Denayer, Rafael; T.Mendes, Jean Lucas, Aouar; Traore, Gouiri, Memphis