Arsene Wenger has promised that record signing Alexandre Lacazette will feature against Graham Arnold’s men as the Gunners start pre-season
Arsenal get their pre-season preparations underway when they take on A-League side Sydney FC at the ANZ Stadium on Thursday in the first of their two Australian tour games.
The Gunners face Western Sydney Wanderers two days later at the same venue as they warm up for International Champions Cup and Emirates Cup friendlies against Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Sevilla and Benfica.
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Despite the absence of Alexis Sanchez and Shkodran Mustafi, Arsene Wenger has brought a formidable panel of players ‘Down Under’ and he will be determined to get the new campaign off to a positive start after a disappointing season last term.
|Game||Sydney FC vs Arsenal|
|Date||Thursday, July 13|
|Time||11:00 BST / 20:00 (local)|
TV CHANNEL & LIVE STREAM
In the United Kingdom, the match will be available to watch live on television on Premier Sports and by stream via the Premier Player app.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Premier Sports||Premier Player|
Fans in Australia will be able to watch the game live on SBS Viceland and by stream on The World Game website and app.
|Australia TV channel||Online stream|
|SBS Viceland||The World Game|
Furthermore, supporters will also have the option to tune in to the game on Arsenal.com or the club’s app.
ARSENAL TEAM NEWS
The FA Cup holders have brought a strong squad to Australia, with new signings Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac joining the likes of Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey in a 25-man panel that also includes a number of reserve players.
Arsene Wenger confirmed that Lacazette will make his first appearance for Arsenal in the game against Sydney, meaning fans will have a chance to see their new star striker in action on Thursday.
“Lacazette will make his debut here, yes,” Wenger told the club’s official website. “On Thursday night he will certainly play a part in the game and in the other game as well. In the two games he will take part.”
Kolasinac, who joined the Gunners from Schalke in June, will also be in the mix, with Wenger keen to see how well the new arrivals can integrate into the way he wants the team to play.
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The Bosnia and Herzegovina international could be set to line up alongside both Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker after Wenger indicated that Arsenal will “certainly” start the season with a back-three instead of back-four.
“We’ll test many systems,” said the French coach. “At the moment, in pre-season, we are in the continuity of the end of last season.”
However, Alexis and Mustafi will not feature in Australia, having been given some extra time off following their Confederations Cup exploits with Chile and Germany respectively.
ARSENAL BETTING ODDS
Arsenal are 1/4 favourites to win at ANZ Stadium according to Oddschecker, while the odds on Sydney defeating the Premier League giants are 17/2, with some bookmakers rating them at 21/2. If you fancy Sydney’s chances of holding the Gunners to a draw, meanwhile, you can get a price of 9/2.
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Lacazette, who is in line for his debut, is the favourite to score first at 12/5, while his compatriot Olivier Giroud is close behind at 3/1.
Wenger hinted that he will experiment with different systems during pre-season, particularly when it comes to defence, where he will test both three-man and four-man backlines.
The game against Sydney, as well as the subsequent fixture against Western Sydney Wanderers, will provide an opportunity for the Gunners boss to assess his new acquisitions Lacazette and Kolasinac, who add much-needed competition in areas the team have struggled in over the last number of years.
Both players have been training with their new team-mates and are in line to start Thursday’s game, but Wenger is likely to ease the pair in as they become accustomed to the style of play the Frenchman demands.
Ozil is set to play a central role and the team will be buoyed by the Germany international’s affirmation of his commitment to the cause on Wednesday.
“It is definitely my preference to stay,” Ozil explained at the launch of the club’s new third kit. “It is such a great club and I have always said that I feel very good at Arsenal.”
Sydney, meanwhile, are familiar with Premier League opposition, having played against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool – containing club legends Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher – in May.
Managed by former Australia international Arnold, Sydney impressively topped the A-League last season before going on to beat Melbourne Victory in the Grand Final.
Former Corinthians and Besiktas striker Bobo will provide their main threat in attack, while Serbia international Milos Ninkovic and former Sheffield United man David Carney provide plenty of experience in midfield.
“We try to replicate, in a lot of ways, what they do with the way they play the game and it’s an honour for our boys to walk out on Thursday night,” Arnold told FOX Sports.
“We know that there will probably be more Arsenal supporters than Sydney FC fans but … to get the type of clubs like Arsenal to come out to promote our game as well of football in this country is massive for us.
“We’re really excited to line up against these blokes.”