Alexis may get the nod up front for Arsenal’s final pre-season game!
Arsenal have had a very successful pre-season so far with wins in almost every match we have played except for the opening game. That day against Lens was our first game of pre-season and it mostly featured of young Gunners and fringe players, all whom were of course lacking in full fitness. A few weeks down the line and we can safely say that the majority of the squad is looking strong, fit and ready for the new season, with just one final pre-season friendly left to play.
Arsenal come up against fellow Premier League title rivals Manchester City in Sweden this Sunday and it’ll be interesting to see how the Gunners fair against not only a strong Premier League team but under Pep Guardiola’s new managerial regime. It’ll be Arsenal’s toughest test of pre-season and I’d expect Wenger to put out his strongest side available to him now that he’s had a few games to test out different combinations.
Going into the match, Arsene Wenger told Arsenal.com about the likely choices he will have to make regarding Sunday’s game. Wenger said:
“It [the Man City game] will contribute. I already have an idea. It will contribute but on Sunday we will play against top-class strikers who will want to do well against us. Our defenders will be tested so I might use a few combinations during the game. I believe that Bielik, Chambers and Holding will be fighting for the place between the three of them.
[Up front] I like Walcott in that position and I like Alexis in that position as well. I might start Alexis on Sunday because Walcott played a large part in Friday’s game [against Viking]. I don’t know how ready Alexis is physically for that intensity.”
Arsenal of course now welcome back Alexis and Ramsey to the side after returning from their respective extended holiday periods, meaning that the Gunners only await on Ozil, Giroud and Koscielny to return to full training. The trio are unlikely to make the Liverpool game due to a lack of fitness, however all three could make the bench ready to make an impact if needed. As for Sunday’s match, even though Man City won’t take it lightly, I’d expect they’ll have a slightly weaker side out, given that they have a Champions League qualifying match next week, before kicking off in the Premier League.
It gives Arsenal a chance to test Alexis or Walcott out up front against Premier League opposition, with one of the two most likely to lead the front line against Liverpool due to a lack of strikers. Of course I think most will agree they would prefer Alexis to play as the forward, but it will also be determined on fitness, with Walcott having been in training for weeks, whilst Alexis has of course only just returned from injury.
Role on the final pre-season game and let’s hope that we get a much needed win to boost us into the upcoming season.