It’s a massive pre-season friendly between two of the biggest clubs in England as Arsenal take on Manchester City in Sweden. It’s the last chance for both managers to see their teams in action before the Premier League season kicks off next Saturday. It’s also a chance for new Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola to face off against another Premier League side for the first time since his appointment.
It’s City’s fourth and final match of pre-season after the club secured wins against St Johnstone and a penalty shoot-out victory over Borussia Dortmund in their previous two matches. The club have signed a host of new players including Ilkay Gundogan, Leroy Sane, and Nolito. Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus will also join the club in January 2017. It’s an exciting time for Manchester City and its supporters will go into the new season full of optimism. They have spent big but have one of the world’s best managers at the helm.
Wenger has come up against Pep Guardiola a couple of times before. Arsenal were drawn against the Spaniard’s Barcelona team in the 2011 Champions League last 16 and his Bayern team in the group stage last season. The Gunners team will also come up against another familiar face. Mikel Arteta left the club to become a coach at the Etihad during the summer and hasn’t had to wait long to face off against The Gunners.
Arsenal will welcome back a couple of familiar faces for the match against City. Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey have only just returned to training following their exploits in the Copa America and European Championships respectively but are expected to play in Sweden.
“Alexis and Aaron Ramsey will play a part in the game.” Arsene Wenger told Arsenal.com. “Both of them are in reasonably good form physically. I took this Friday and Sunday to give competition to everybody so I will see how much and how long I will play them for.”
It’s good news for Arsenal fans. Both players were very impressive for their international teams during the summer and will hope to carry on that form into the new season. Wenger went on to say that “Granit Xhaka will come in, certainly. He did not play at all on Friday, and maybe Calum Chambers too. We’ll see in training. The players who have not played will all be involved on Sunday.”
That gives some idea as to how Arsenal will line up but Manchester City’s team is a little more unknown. However Guardiola is certainly familiar with The Gunners. “Mikel [Arteta] knows Arsene and Arsenal’s players.” Guardiola told Manchester City’s official website. “I played many times against Arsenal, so I know them pretty well and maybe Mikel knows better than me, but we know!”
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New signing Leroy Sane hasn’t travelled with the squad to Sweden but Nolito and new signing Oleksandr Zinchenko have and are expected to feature.
Manchester City are going through a transition under Pep Guardiola but have impressed during pre-season. However they are without a host of first team players and could struggle, especially in defence. City are a little top-heavy at the moment and will do well to keep a clean sheet. Arsenal have also impressed during the off-season and are almost at full strength. Expect both sides to score.
Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City
You can watch the match on Arsenal.com or on ITV1 in the United Kingdom. Kick off is 6:00 p.m. GMT.