This time, on this Emirates Cup, held annually during the pre-season, Arsenal, Benfica, Leipzig and Sevilla will face off,
in what should be an excellent test to the Portuguese team’s progress during this pre-season.
Benfica will play their first match against the Gunners, followed by a match against German 2nd place RB Leipzig on the following Sunday.
Arsène Wenger’s team go into this season after a weak last season, with the team failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since the French coach took charge of the London team, about 20 years ago.
Still, to attenuate their bad season, the team was able to lift the FA Cup, beating Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley, which was probably the salvation of Wenger’s job.
Regarding signings, and like they usually do, Arsenal have been relatively quiet on this transfer window, signing only 2 players, but quality ones: Alexandre Lacazette (O.Lyon) and Sead Kolasinac (Schalke 04).
From the Portuguese side, the team has been struggling this pre-season, losing to Young Boys (5-1) and Hull City (1-0), both matches who originated criticism to their squad and coach Rui Vitória. Despite that, they have still beaten Betis (2-1) and Neuchatel Xâmax (2-0).
Considering their Supercup match vs Vitoria Guimaraes is approaching, it is important that the team starts to raise their physical condition and that they improve in terms of game model in order to reach their first official match on good form and avoid any surprise, like it was about to happen on the “Taça de Portugal” final, against the same Vitória de Guimarães.
Arsenal vs. Benfica pick:
Arsenal will play at home, and despite it being a pre-season friendly, this match will also be a good test to Wenger’s team, who will have their first official game against Chelsea, for the 2017 Community Shield.
The team is usually really strong at home and, facing this struggling Benfica, I believe the “gunners” will come out on top, since they have a really strong attack, with their newly bought player Lacazette.