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FC Köln v Arsenal, Match Preview: We're Nearly There!

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Köln v Arsenal
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Kickoff: 11 AM EDT/8 AM PDT/4 PM BST
TV: Arsenal Player (subscription), ESPN UK (delayed)

Arsenal conclude their preparations for the upcoming Premier League season with a pre-season friendly against FC Köln, which is, of course, the club that Lukas Podolski joined from this summer. Arsenal played Köln in a friendly last year, winning 2-1, but since then, Koln have replaced their manager, lost their best player, Podolski, and were relegated from the Bundesliga. Arsenal are in a better state than they were twelve months ago; there's only one wantaway star player, as opposed to two, and said player has already been replaced. Robin van Persie, though, is expected to feature at some point tomorrow as are his supposed replacements, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud. It should also be the first time we see new signing Santi Cazorla.

Some other first-team players will be making their preseason debut: Laurent Koscielny is included in the squad, as is Per Mertesacker. Meanwhile, exciting prospect Serge Gnabry also made the trip to Germany, and could expect to play around twenty minutes. With this Arsenal's final friendly before the Premier League, one would expect the tactics to be used tomorrow to be fairly similar to the way Arsene Wenger will set up against Sunderland, so it'll be interesting to see where Cazorla, Giroud and Podolski play and with who; does Gervinho start with players who are likely to start against Sunderland, indicating a likely starting berth, or does Wenger mix and match?

With so little time for Cazorla and the other new signings to link up with their new teammates, one would expect them to play with players who will start against Sunderland, so I'd expect the team to line up like this:

Szczesny; Gibbs, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Coquelin; Arteta, Song; Podolski, Cazorla, Gervinho; Giroud