Arsenal have their final Austrian preseason friendly today at 1 PM EDT vs. Austrian Regional League East side SC Neusiedl. The match will be shown on Arsenal TV Online.
The match is the last test for the club before this weekend's Emirates Cup matches vs. AC Milan and Celtic, and next week's fixture vs. Legia Warsaw. Here are a few questions/thoughts ahead of today's contest:
- Who will start in goal? Will Manuel Almunia get a start for the first time this preseason? Or will it be Lukasz Fabianksi again? And will they play the full 90 minutes?
- Will Arsenal's starting defense play the full 90 together? It is approaching the time in the preseason when the starters need to get time on the pitch together to solidify responsibilities and chemistry. Of course, since Arsenal's starting center half pairing is not yet determined, Koscielny and Djourou are likely to play one half each again.
- Indeed, will any of Arsenal's players play the full 90 minutes? Against Sturm Graz, Havard Nordtveit, Theo Walcott, and Johan Djourou each played the entire match. Today, it is likely that more players will have full matches, particuarly those in the running for starting places in the squad (Arshavin and Nasri in particular).
- Will we see Alex Song, Bacary Sagna, and Gaël Clichy in action? They have not featured so far, due to post-World Cup rest.
- Will Jay-Emmanuel Thomas feature on the wing again? Not to overstate his growth as a player, but if JET plays the full 90 minutes today, it might be an indication that he will feature more heavily in Wenger's plans this year, making the step up that Ramsey and, to a lesser extent, Wilshere did last year.
Enjoy the match, everyone who can.