Arsenal vs. Benfica
Emirates Stadium, London, England
2 August 2014 | 11:20am Eastern, 10:20am Central, 8:20am Pacific, 4:20pm London
TV: ESPN3, if you can get it to work
The first couple of Arsenal preseason friendlies had a bit of an air of unreality to them, in part because of the competition and in part because of the atmosphere. Obviously we lost to New York Red Bulls so it'd be a bit uncouth to talk about them being weak competition, but Boreham Wood certainly were, and the atmosphere around the New York game was really more of an exhibition than anything competitive. It was a couple of games for us to Experience, rather than trying to win and all that. And frankly, that's great for summer.
But when you get into the Emirates Stadium and you're playing a team like Benfica, it's really hard not to take the game a little more seriously. I'll maintain that the result is totally meaningless up until the Community Shield (at which time it'll be something I care about more than it should). But a game against the reigning Europa League runners-up should get the blood up a little bit. And Alexis Sanchez might play a bit, too.
EDITOR'S NOTE: I was going to write a really cool preview for this game and talk about Benfica and their campaign last year and all that, and then Paul George's leg exploded and I pretty much didn't want to do anything but stare blankly at a wall. So this is your match thread AND preview. Sorry.
Benfica XI vs. Arsenal: Artur; Cesar, Sidnei, Pereira, Talisca, Amorim, Gaitan, Eliseu, Salvio, John, Lima. #AFC— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 2, 2014