Oh right! There’s a game today! We are also still in preseason form, so our usual slew of game stuff is kinda sporadic, so what better time to launch a match preview than four hours prior to kickoff?
As we all know, a team wearing Arsenal shirts will be playing a team of hastily assembled MLS players this afternoon in San Jose; I say “a team wearing Arsenal shirts” because there is very little about this Arsenal team that will be the same as the Arsenal team this time next month.
Let’s start at the back, where Francis Coquelin has been deputized to play as Per Mertesacker - he’ll need stilts, but for this game, he should be fine in that role. We should also see the likes of Krystian Bielik and Gedion Zelalem, who will probably both be loaned out at some point.
As far as regulars go, it’s likely that Ox, Elneny, Gibbs, Walcott and Bellerin will play a bunch, and this will also be the first time a lot of us have seen Granit Xhaka play, which is exciting. This is, of course, a friendly, so there will probably be lots of subs in the second half; Arsenal’s main objective is to get in game shape and not be injured, so once players reach their part of the first milestone, they’ll likely depart in service of the second.
As for the MLS All Star team, it’s voted on by the fans, so you’ll see the likes of David Villa, Kaka, Pirlo, and Didier Drogba, but if you’re interested in seeing the best MLS has to offer, keep an eye on both Darlington Nagbe and Sebastian Giovinco, actual good players in a league that tends to showcase the Villas and Pirlos more than it probably should.
Anyway, this game is meaningless; please don’t read too much into anything that happens in it. If you’re watching, just enjoy the kickabout, and the probable endless references to the world’s largest outdoor bar, which would be great if a) it weren’t in San Jose and b) if beers at said bar weren’t Bay Area stadium priced (it’s a good list, but most of them are $12 and up). Avaya’s a cool stadium, and the game will be a breezy bit of fun; don’t worry about it much more than that.
MLS All Stars v. Arsenal
Avaya Stadium, San Jose, CA
Thursday, July 28, 2016
4.30PM PT/7.30 PM ET/12.30AM BT
HOW (to watch):
US TV: ESPN
Streaming: Arsenal Player