Viking FK v Arsenal Friendly – The Gunners ready to battle it out with the Vikings of Stavenger
I don’t know about you, but I am enjoying our pre-season friendlies until now. Holding is the big surprise of course, but Ox has played well too and Xhaka has been a joy to watch. Furthermore, Elneny has been in very fine form and Le Coq is fighting for his life to make the first eleven once again. Santi looked more silky than rusty against Chivas and Akpom is finding the net with some ease at the moment. It has also been good to see the youngsters knocking hard on the door and not looking out of place in our pre-season team. And our full backs are bombing forward and producing assists, and that is also music to our ears.
I don’t know much about Viking FK and would like to invite our fellow Norwegian Gooners to give us some background info.
Viking FK were founded in 1899 and are one of the best Norwegian clubs historically having won the title eight times, even though they have not won the league for about 25 years. They are in the middle of the Norwegian top league season and will be playing again on Sunday, so it remains to be seen how serious they will take the match on Friday. The good thing is we will face a fully fit team that will not find it hard to get going against us. And that is what we need if we want to test out players and key elements of our game for the coming season.
It is hard to predict who will start. I have a feeling that Wenger will play his first choice players for our last friendly game against the Northern Oilers and, therefore, will start some of the ‘second choice’ players on Friday. He will also like to give Rambo and Alexis an opportunity to get some game time but I doubt they will last more than 45 minutes. I reckon Arsene wants to combine Holding and Bielik at least one more time before our game against Pool in ten days time. Chambers at right back is a guess and another start for Gibbs is on the cards too.
The most exciting bit is who will be playing in midfield. I predict a rest for Le Coq and a start of Elneny, with Xhaka and Rambo playing slightly in front of the Egyptian. I cannot wait to see these three work together.
Our attack is another guess. Theo has asked to play on the right as much as possible from now on, which I think is a good decision. Let’s start him there which gives Arsene the opportunity to start Akpom as our CF. On the left we should expect Alexis to start, or to come on later if Wenger really wants to ease him back in – with a start for Iwobi in that case. The combination of Theo – Akpom – Alexis up-front, being fed from behind by the multi-talented midfielders of Rambo, Xhaka and Elneny is a mouthwatering prospect.
The game can be watched on Arsenal.com so don’t miss it – kick off 7.30 pm on Friday 5 August.