Emirates Cup Preview: Gunners face off against old foes in London
This weekend sees the return of the Emirates Cup on London which will see Arsenal take on Porto, Napoli and Galatasaray.
For Arsenal, the Emirates Cup has often been a happy hunting ground with the hosts having won half of all the editions of the tournament.
This year edition of the cup may not have any of the star clubs that have previously competed in the tournament but each of The Gunners’ opponents have strong connections associated with the club.
Napoli, Arsenal’s first opponents, have just signed Gonzalo Higuain from right under the noses of the hosts earlier this week.
Alongside that, the club will also face a Galatasaray squad which contains former Arsenal outcast Emmanuel Eboue and old nemesis Didier Drogba who often scored the winners for Chelsea in meetings between the two sides.
Porto are the final team in the cup and the Portuguese champions have been regular foes in the Champions League for Arsene Wenger’s side.
In terms of their chances in the tournament, Arsenal are looking good favourites for the trophy having been in imperious form so far this pre-season in Asia.
During their four games in the Far East, the club crushed Indonesia and Vietnam scoring 7 goals against both sides before beating J-League sides Nagoya Grampus and Urawa Red Diamonds in straight forward victories.
One pleasing factor for Arsenal will be the seemingly strong form of Olivier Giroud with the Frenchman having scored 6 goals in 4 games including a hat trick against Vietnam.
Alongside that, the emergence of several of Arsenal’s youngsters has got pundits already talking with 16 year old Gedion Zelalem having made some impressive passes and young striker Chuba Akpom also finding the net on 2 occasions.
The club will also have their Spanish contingent of Nacho Monreal and Santi Cazorla returning to action after being given extended time off following the Confederations Cup in June.
In terms of the opposition, Napoli will be the biggest threats with the Serie A runners up having strengthened their squad in several areas by signing the likes of Pepe Reina and Gonzalo Higuain in the past few weeks.
Galatasaray are also in with a shot of the title with the Istanbul side having an all-star cast which includes the likes of Wesley Sneijder, Didier Drogba and Hamit Altintop all in their squad.
Whilst Porto still many of their first-team players, the club have lost to key players in James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho to Monaco and have yet to replace the offensive superstars.
With Arsenal taking on some real competition with driect links to the Gunners, expect 2 days of high quality action which will test The Gunners abilities to the full with just a fortnight to go until the season kicks off.
August 3: Galatasaray vs Porto
Arsenal vs Napoli
August 4: Porto vs Napoli
Arsenal vs Galatasaray