Arsenal will play their penultimate match of pre-season against Norwegian side Viking FK on Friday in Stavanger. Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey have been included in the squad for the two match tour which will also see The Gunners come up against Manchester City on Sunday.
The big news of course is that Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey are back in the Arsenal squad following their summer tournaments. Sanchez won the Copa America with his Chilean teammates while Ramsey reached the semi finals of the European Championships with Wales. However the midfielder was suspended for the match against Portugal so has returned ahead of fellow semi finalists Laurent Koscielny, Olivier Giroud, and Mesut Ozil.
Expect many of the same faces from the United States tour to feature for The Gunners. Youngsters Chuba Akpom, Chris Willock, and Jeff Reine-Adelaide all impressed, as did Rob Holding. The 20 year-old played both matches in the U.S. and even got his first goal for the club in the 3-1 win over Chivas Guadalajara.
Also expected to play a big part in Friday’s match is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The Ox has been one of the standout players of pre-season, scoring two very impressive goals in three matches and he seems to be catching his manager’s eye.
“This is a very important season for Alex.” Wenger told Arsenal.com. “He was out for a very long time. I’m cautious with him at the moment but he’s getting better in every game and that’s good to see.”
Theo Walcott is also expected to play some part, just a couple of days after stating that he would like to play on the right wing instead of up front. If his performances in America are anything to go by then that’s probably a good thing.
Viking FK currently sit seventh in the Norwegian Tippeligaen. Bjorn Daniel Sverrisson is a Norwegian international and will probably play some part. Vikings’ main threats lie with former Manchester City midfielder Abdisalam Ibrahim as well as the young Nigerian forward Suleiman Abdullahi.
Viking aren’t the force in Norwegian football they once were. The third most successful club in Norway hasn’t won the Tippeligaen since 1991 and has finished in the top 3 just once since 2003. Domestically they have lost 2 of their last 3 matches.
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Arsenal meanwhile are unbeaten in pre-season and won both matches in the tour of the United States. While The Gunners haven’t yet kept a clean sheet they are the undoubted favourites ahead of the tie.
Viking FK 1-3 Arsenal
You can watch the match on Friday from 7:15pm UK time on Arsenal.com