Match Preview: Viking FK vs. Arsenal

Date: Friday 5th August 2016
Location: Viking Stadion, Stavanger
Competition: Friendly
Kick-Off: 19:30 BST

Arsenal have been boosted by the returns of Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez to their squad as they travel to Norway to face Viking FK in their penultimate game of pre-season.

The return of the players comes after Ramsey helped lead Wales to an improbable semi-final finish at the the European Champions this summer whilst Sanchez was at the forefront once more as Chile retained the Copa America trophy, although he was forced to leave the final early after suffering a nasty injury to his ankle.

Both players will be keen to regain match sharpness as quick as possible with the Gunners’ first Premier League game of the season against Liverpool just over a week away, and with Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny and Mesut Ozil all still away on holiday following their exploits in France this summer, Arsenal could do with as many players as possible who are fit and raring to go.

The only fresh injury concern is that of Jack Wilshere, who after suffering what seemed to be an innocuous knee injury during the club’s tour of the US did not travel with the squad to Scandinavia. The Englishman will also miss the club’s game against Manchester City in Gothenburg this weekend and could well be absent for the start of the league campaign too.

Arsenal also have Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista to call upon once more after he missed the first three pre-season games with an illness, which is a welcome news as Per Mertesacker was ruled out until 2017 through injury earlier this summer.

The club have enjoyed a productive pre-season so far with a draw with RC Lens in the north of France preceding two victories in California against the MLS All-Stars and Chivas de Guadelajara, and manager Arsene Wenger will be hoping for a comprehensive victory over their Norwegian opponents this evening before they travel across to the border to face Pep Guardiola’s City on Sunday.

This transfer window has seen Arsenal linked with a number of players, most notably Skhodran Mustafi, Riyad Mahrez and Alexandre Lacazette, but with no deals looking close the current squad will all be itching to stake their claim for a place in the first-team in these remaining pre-season fixtures.

Unvailable: Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Wilshere (injury), Koscielny, Ozil, Giroud (holiday)

Predicted Line-up: Cech (c); Bellerin, Gabriel, Holding, Monreal; Ramsey, Xhaka, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Alexis; Akpom

Callum Perritt

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