London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea face off as they bring their International Champions Cup pre-season campaigns to a close in Dublin.
Both clubs head into the new season with new managers in charge, and both Unai Emery and Maurizio Sarri will be keen to lay down a marker ahead of what promises to be an open Premier League campaign.
Arsenal head to Dublin off the back of a morale-boosting 5-1 win over PSG, while Chelsea are turning over a new leaf as well with Jorginho orchestrating the play from deep.
The match takes place at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. Kick-off is scheduled for 19:05pm BST on Wednesday, August 1.
Last Time Out
Arsenal 5-1 Paris Saint-Germain (International Champions Cup)
The Gunners swept aside the French champions with a dominantly impressive display in Singapore.
It was a happy reunion for Unai Emery who faced the club he led last season. Fielding a stronger starting eleven than Thomas Tuchel, Arsenal took an early control of the match and never looked like relinquishing it through-out the match.
Following Mesut Ozil’s 13th-minute goal, Arsenal continued to play with great intensity and forced three good saves from Gianluigi Buffon. Alex Iwobi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and then Henrikh Mkhitaryan all spurned good opportunities to score meaning only a slender lead was taken into half time.
One bright spark for the Parisians was Timothy Weah, and the youngster drew a foul and a penalty from Sead Kolasinac on the hour mark. After the equally impressive Christopher Nkunku had levelled the scores from the penalty spot, Arsenal once again took the initiative.
A quick-fire brace from substitute Alexandre Lacazette then goals from Rob Holding and Eddie Nketiah confirmed an emphatic win for the North Londoners.
Chelsea 1-1 Inter Milan [5-4 Penalties] (International Champions Cup)
Cesar Azpilicueta scored the decisive penalty which gave the Blues victory in Nice. Chelsea got off to a fast start with Alvaro Morata heading in from the edge of the six-yard box only to see his goal ruled out in a marginal offside call. Pedro scored only three minutes later, however, sweeping the ball into the net after Morata’s shot was palmed into the Spaniard’s path.
The Italian side grew into the game and finished the half strongest, with Willy Caballero largely to thank for the Blues maintaining their lead.
An error from Tiémoué Bakayoko at the beginning of the second half undid this good work, allowing Mauro Icardi to feed the run of Roberto Gagliardini who drew the sides level.
With both teams missing good chances during the closing stages, a penalty shootout was needed to settle the tie. Caballero again proved Chelsea’s hero, saving from Milan Skriniar to maintain the Blues unbeaten run through this summer.
Although Emery has been expected to implement a 4-3-3 system with the Gunners, a system he used throughout the early pre-season games, he chose to use a 4-2-3-1 formation against PSG and the result suggests he could try it once more.
Similar to the previous match, Arsenal are expected to name a strong starting lineup which is likely to feature new signings Bernd Leno, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Matteo Guendouzi, the latter of which has greatly impressed so far this summer.
He will, however, be without the services of Nacho Monreal, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Lucas Torreira who are yet to join up with the first team following their respective World Cup appearances.
Sarri will be missing several more World Cup stars than Emery, however, there is little doubt over the formation the Italian will use to set up his team for this game.
Chelsea too are likely to field a strong team for this match but there could be more youth players within their starting eleven. Callum Hudson-Odoi has been highly impressive in Eden Hazard’s absence during pre-season and could play alongside Ethan Ampadu in this game.
Ross Barkley and Pedro have both enjoyed plenty of playing time recently and they too could be rewarded with further starts to prove themselves on Wednesday evening.
Key Battle: Matteo Guendouzi (Arsenal) vs Jorginho (Chelsea)
Of the many players who have arrived in Islington this summer, it is a 19-year-old French player who has got off to the quickest start. Guendouzi is unlikely to be a first-team regular this season when both Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira join up with the team, however, he will have one more opportunity on Wednesday to prove himself worthy of further consideration.
Playing opposite him in a deep-lying midfield role is the player who Sarri is undoubtedly building his new team around. Jorginho was the only player to last the full 90 minutes against Inter Milan and is central to the way Chelsea want to play this season.
With both players capable of making cutting, intelligent passes, either could prove the ammunition needed for their respective team to win this game.
Five Captains and a Laurent Koscielny
Following Arsenal’s comprehensive victory over Paris Saint-Germain, Emery reiterated his intention from earlier this month to have multiple captains amongst his squad.
There have been numerous calls in recent seasons for Arsenal to add players who can bring authority and bolster the side’s resolve on the field.
With Koscielny, the Gunners current captain, anticipated to be out of action until at least November, this gave Emery the perfect chance to reinforce his squad’s leadership deficiencies.
Whether his players are able to answer his call as the new season unfurls remains to be seen, however, given a clean slate to work from, Arsenal’s players have the perfect opportunity to grow into the side which Arsene Wenger has nurtured for so long.
A star is born?
Amongst the many fringe and youth players who are given a chance to shine during pre-season, often there are one or two who manage to catch the limelight. Few of these are rarely able to build on this when the season begins in earnest.reuter
This has also been true of Chelsea’s youth policy in recent years, few of their academy players have been able to break into their first team despite enjoying relatively successful loan spells at other Premier League clubs.
This summer has seen the emergence of one more potential star of the future. Callum Hudson-Odoi has captured the imagination with a string of impressive displays over the last few weeks.
With Sarri-ball requiring pace from his wide-forwards, the 17-year-old appears to fit perfectly into the required template. If Alvaro Morata fails to prove his worth in attack, Eden Hazard could be used as a false-nine and would this open up a way into the team for a future Chelsea star?