Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Arsenal vs. Vietnam

Arsenal fans may be more excited to see what the team does in the transfer window than how it fares during its Asia tour, but the club will be in action Wednesday when it faces Vietnam.

After dismantling Indonesia, 7-0, the result won't really be what the Gooners focus on. Instead, seeing how the younger players fare and how some key first-team members are coming along in their training will be of primary interest.

Let's preview this preseason match.

Streaming: Arsenal Player will show a replay of the game once the live broadcast is complete.

What They're Saying

It may not have anything to do with the match itself, but let's be honest—all of the talk surrounding Arsenal these days revolves around what the team will do during the transfer window. For now, manager Arsene Wenger is asking for a bit of patience.

    The Gunners boss, in Vietnam for the second leg of Arsenal’s pre-season tour, said: “You all want me to announce a spectacular signing but I can’t do that.

    "We are working hard behind the scenes to strengthen the squad but I cannot give you any names.

    “The next Premier League season will be very interesting. Many teams can win the title. Chelsea will have a good team and the fact Sir Alex Ferguson has retired brings some uncertainty to Manchester United.

    "But Davis Moyes is there and I’m sure they will be candidates to win the league again."

All eyes will be on Jack Wilshere in this game.

Wilshere missed Arsenal's last preseason game against Indonesia with the flu, but Wenger said after that game he'd be available for the next, via Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail.

Wilshere has seen his young career beset by injuries, but if he can remain healthy, this season would really change the fate of this Arsenal squad. He's a classy midfielder with virtually no ceiling, and you can bet Arsenal fans will be watching his performance very closely against Vietnam.

With a full preseason to prepare and and clean bill of health, Wilshere should be in line for a huge year. The chance to check on his progress will be the highlight of this match.

Arsenal easily handled Indonesia in its last preseason match, winning 7-0 behind goals from Olivier Giroud (two), Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski, Chuba Akpom, Kris Olsson and Thomas Eisfeld.

The tour represents an excellent chance to get a glimpse of some of the younger players that likely won't crack the senior club's lineup this season, but of course, it is also a chance to see how the more established stars are coming along in their training.

This is a pretty big summer for Giroud, who will want to show the Gunners they don't need to add a high-profile forward, and if they do bring on another striker, to prove he deserves to be the first-choice option to lead the line.

Seeing how the midfield shapes up will be of intrigue as well, especially with Wilshere returning. Will Mikel Arteta or Aaron Ramsey drop out of the starting 11? Will Wilshere play atop the midfield triangle and push Santi Cazorla out wide (Cazorla isn't traveling with the team after playing in the Confederations Cup).

As well, seeing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's continued development will be worth watching. He started in the central midfield against Indonesia, a role he's previously said he favors, via the Daily Mail, though given his pace and strong dribbling, he has always seemed like a strong option out wide.

This is a big season for Oxlade-Chamberlain, as he looks to take his game to the next level and earn a more regular role in the first 11 for both club and country with the World Cup next summer. A big season for Arsenal could earn him a starting gig with England as well.

All in all, there is plenty to see for the Gunners in this game. 

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