Pre-season 2022 is about to really get underway in America. After a promising start in a 5-3 win vs FC Nürnberg, which saw a brace from our latest signing Gabriel Jesus, and an absolute worldie from Elneny, we can hope to see more of the same in the US, where the boys are travelling to today.
We will be competing in the FC Series, a national expansion of the Florida Cup. First with a friendly against Everton, where our boys can hope to put in a dominant performance against the Toffees who narrowly avoided relegation last season. Then, the FC games against Orlando City and Chelsea. This will be a good opportunity to see how our new signings merge with the squad and to get a first glimpse at Arteta’s possible starting XI for the first game of the 22/23 campaign. It will also be interesting to see what Arteta’s plans are for leadership, with current rumours suggesting Ødegaard will become Arsenal’s next captain with Tierney and Ramsdale also taking part of the leadership team.
Personally, I’m excited to see Tierney and Tomiyasu back on the pitch after injuries which left them out of the squad for large parts of last season, two players vital to our plans if we are to succeed next season. It will also be interesting to see Jesus’ creative play as we’re finally gifted with an established number 9 again! It will be interesting to see how partnerships form between him and Nketiah, Martinelli, Saka and Smith-Rowe. If his performances are anywhere close to the one against FC Nürnberg, we’re due to have a very exciting season ahead of us. We can expect lots of goals and a growing partnership with Nketiah, who I think really stepped up when he was called on at the end of last season. Another one to keep an eye on is Matt Turner in goal after a less than desirable debut; it will be interesting to see how he responds to a disappointing start to pre-season with Arteta supposedly bringing him in to play in Europa League games next season to help with squad balance in a packed out first half of next season. And of course, it goes without mentioning our other two exciting signings, Marquinhos and Fábio Vieira who will be eager to play and show what they can offer on the pitch as they start their Arsenal playing careers.
I’m also interested to see who amongst the academy players will be given minutes to push on for first team football next season, with Okonkwo, Walters, Patino, Oulad M’Hand, and Balogun all getting minutes in the Nürnberg game. Pre-season is the perfect opportunity to see our young talents be given some game time with the senior squad in order for them to develop their game. Hopefully this season we will see Patino and Balogun get a break through into the senior squad after Balogun’s successful loan to Middlesbrough and Patino having a handful of memorable cameos at the end of last season. Overall, this pre-season looks to be an enjoyable one with much talent coming from the academy and new signings.
Written by: Abby Goodson @_abbygoodson