Arsenal and Manchester City have almost been victims of their own players’ success this pre-season. With Arsenal’s World Cup winning Germans returning to club training on 11 August and confirmed to play no part in the first round of Premier League fixtures, the Gunners have been missing a large part of their spine in Mertesacker, Ozil and Podolski. Count in late returns for the rest of the World Cup contingent and it has been a fractured squad which Arsene Wenger has had to work with this summer.
Manchester City have suffered similar problems, with the Argentinian finalists, Aguero, Zabaleta, and Demichelis, only returning to training on Monday 04 August. Club captain Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho also returned on the 4th, meaning that at least five of last season’s starting XI have yet to kick a ball in anger. David Silva, meanwhile played just 45 minutes on the club’s American tour.
It will be essential for both sides to give minutes to players who are lacking sharpness before the Premier League begins. Although uncommon, it would not be at all surprising for both managers to make use of the full six substitutions available to them in this game.
The goals could easily flow, as both teams search for both attacking and defensive sharpness. Stevan Jovetic has been the standout performer for the champions season and could be the key man to unlocking the Arsenal backline.
Arsenal: Worjciech Szczesny; Mathieu Debuchy, Callum Chambers, Laurent Koscielny, Keiran Gibbs; Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsay, Santi Cazorla, Alexis Sanchez; Olivier Giroud
MCFC: Joe Hart; Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Matija Nastasic, Aleksandar Kolarov; Fernando Reges, Yaya Toure, David Silva, Jesus Navas; Stevan Jovetic, Edin Dzeko