After a resounding end to their pre-season USA tour with a 5-3 win over FC Barcelona, The Gunners are looking for another positive result on Wednesday as they defend their Emirates Cup title against French giants AS Monaco. This will be their last friendly before the FA Community Shield as well as their first pre-season friendly being played in front of their home crowd in North London.
The exhibition competition was introduced by Arsenal in 2007 wherein The Emirates Stadium hosted European giants for a chance at silverware. With the Gunners thrashing Sevilla 6-0 in the 2022 edition of the cup, they will certainly be looking to give their fans something more to cheer about this season as they get underway with the Community Shield against Manchester City on the weekend and the upcoming 2023-24 campaign.
Arsenal go into the fixture against Monaco with an impressive run of three victories out of the last four Emirates Cup fixtures, with their last defeat coming in 2019 against Lyon under Unai Emery. Furthermore, looking at Arsenal and Monaco’s head to head clashes, the two giants have met thrice before. They faced each other twice at the 2015 Champions League group stage where each side managed to win once at their own respective home stadiums. The Gunners also hosted Monaco for the Emirates Cup’s 2014 edition wherein the Ligue 1 side secured a 0-1 victory away from home.
The Gunners finished with a strong league campaign in the 2022-23 season where they emerged as title runner-ups and have since then went on to make colossal new signings to bolster their squad further as they brace for an upcoming crucial season which includes a return to the Champions League.
After an underwhelming start to their pre-season with draws against Watford at London Colney and against FC Nurnberg in Germany, their US tour turned out to be an improvement. Mikel Arteta’s side won twice and lost once on American soil where they scored 10 goals and conceded 5 in return.
AS Monaco however do not have a story as optimistic as the Gunners. The French side slipped down to 6th position in the Ligue 1 table at the end of the 2022-23 season, missing on the Champions League as well as any other European competition following a dissapointing campaign under former manager Philippe Clement. The club conceded a shocking 58 goals in their league last season which saw them finish with the worst defensive record in the upper-half of the table.
Following the appointment of new manager Adi Hutter, Monaco have had a relatively positive start to their pre-season. With 3 wins against Bologna, Real Betis and Leeds United, they also suffered defeats to Cercle Brugge and most recently, Genoa. The 5 friendlies saw Monaco score 9 times while conceding 7.
Team News & Lineups:
Mikel Arteta is yet to find the best XI for his side as he has been rotating his starting squad multiple times following the signings of Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber and Declan Rice. The Gunners have started all three of their matches in the US with different midfielders and attackers.
Declan Rice may not be fully match-fit yet as he suffered a knock prior to the fixture against Barcelona in Los Angeles.
Additionally, Reiss Nelson is recovering from a foot laceration and USMNT star Folarin Balogun is out with a foot injury according to Mikel Arteta. Oleksandr Zinchenko and Mohamed Elneny remain unavailable for the foreseeable future as well.
Predicted XI: Ramsdale, Timber, Gabriel, Saliba, Tierney, Odegaard, Rice, Partey, Trossard, Jesus & Saka.