The boys are back in town, and with just a week to go till the season’s opener against the Chavs we have a couple of important friendlies to play over the weekend. At 4.20pm today Arsenal face Benfica. In general, Portuguese teams like to sit back and play on the counter and they love it when teams come and attack them. But I have not seen much of Benfica lately and they may play a totally different style of football.
What is more interesting is who will start the game today as that will give us some indication as what Wenger sees as his best starting eleven for the season ahead.
This is the available squad (and the good news is that Jack will be back in training soon and Santi is not too far away either, and we have very few injuries):
GKs: Petr Cech, David Ospina, Emiliano Martinez
DFs: Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Rob Holding, Nacho Monreal, Calum Chambers, Hector Bellerin, Sead Kolasinac, Cohen Bramall
MFs: Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Granit Xhaka, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Francis Coquelin, Mohamed Elneny, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock
FWs: Alexandre Lacazette, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Alex Iwobi, Danny Welbeck
I reckon we will line-up as follows (but your guess is as good as mine):
No doubt that at their return Mustafi and Alexis will squeeze into the first team, but they are not available this weekend. I can see Wenger start Chambers instead of Bellerin in defence and Hector moving into midfield (instead of Ox). There is also a chance we will see Elneny in the centre of defence today as Wenger sees him as an option there (and I, of course, agree).
Ozil, Welbeck or Iwobi, and Lacazette will be all movement, running and passing and Rambo will be the important link-up player, with Xhaka dictating midfield play from deeper in midfield. Big roles as well for Kola and Hector/Ox in supporting attack and keeping our defence tight on the wings.
No doubt we will see changes after 60 minutes or so and the youngsters will get a chance, especially in midfield.
Looking forward to this one.
12 thoughts on “Arsenal v Benfica Preview and Line-Up”
Look forward to the games and hope fans have a good outing too. Let’s not forget the Emirates cup is a straight 2 day play-off amongst 4 sides. I expect we will see a mix and match of two different teams where those who start on Saturday may come in to finish the game on Sunday. We will start to see how we shall shape up for the season with the squad for the Charity shield, without the likes of Bellerin, Sanchez and Mustafi.
Benfica are a good ball playing side and so are Sevilla, so it will be an interesting 2 days. Winning the Emirates cup will put us in good stead for the Charity shield which I expect us to win as well.
Arsenal XI: Ospina, Holding, Mertesacker, Kolasinac, Nelson, Coquelin, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles, Walcott, Iwobi, Giroud
Read more at https://www.arsenal.com/live#!timeline#WPbZpbKmiHBChdAL.99
——-Holding BFG Kola———-
Nelson – Coq – Xhaka – Mait Niles
—— walcott ———Iwobi——–
So more experimenting by Arsene. Lets see what happens.
Hmmm. Guess our team for tomorrow will look stronger then. Still, nice to see Nelson get another chance, albeit at wing back. Mertesacker will have a lot to do, marshalling both Holding and Kolasinac who both seem to fancy forays forward. Hopefully, Coquelin knows he has to sit back on such occasions.
Sevilla lead Leipzig 1-0, so have 4 points.
For anyone who cares to know, here’s how Benfica line up: Cesar, Buta, Luisao, Jardel, Eliseu, Augusto, Pizzi, Salvio, Cervi, Jonas, Seferovic.
Do you know whether that is a strong Benfica team?
Nice goals from Theo… Is that Coquelin’s first Arsenal assist?… Kola’s was probably a better one…
Some woeful team defending, causing our own problems by needlessly given the ball away by first Holding and then Niles-M. But good attacking from the left and Kola is fizzing nicely.
Walcott is back.. If he continue playing like tonight.. then no Mahrez is needed..
Ospina seem loss the motivation..
Kolasinac is a beast..
Time for some change..
Some finish by Iwobi 😍 Great team goal
Quick new post
Sorry, TA. I had to leave for a pre-planned event and didn’t see the game real-time. Not sure about Benfica’s line up as I am not even familiar with a lot of the names listed. I know they won 2016/17 Primera Liga, playing some great football.