Arsenal will take on German club FC Koln in their final pre-season friendly at 3.30pm BST and all eyes will be on new striker Santi Cazorla, signed from Spanish club Malaga for an undisclosed fee. The 27-year-old Spanish international will be tasked with providing the cutting edge that has been largely missing from the Gunners' play since the departure of French midfielder Samir Nasri to Manchester City and, more importantly, Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona.
Cazorla, along with fellow new signings Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, will be expected to shoulder the majority of the goal scoring responsibilities for the new season, particularly if want-away striker Robin van Persie gets his wish. Giroud and Podolski have yet to make their Arsenal debuts - both players have been on extended leave following their involvement in the 2012 European Championships - and may make an appearance in this game. Podolski, in particular, may wish to face his former club.
Arsenal's Asian tour was a disaster. It started with a scrambled 2-1 win over a Malaysia XI, included a demoralising 0-2 defeat to Manchester City and finished with a defensively inept 2-2 draw against Hong Kong club Kitchee SC. Arsene Wenger will be desperate for this game to go right and for his club to take some measure of self-confidence into their first league game of the 2012/13 campaign - against Sunderland.
The Gunners will also be distracted by the ongoing transfer saga concerning van Persie. Though several clubs have expressed interest in signing the striker, no deal has been finalised and the 29-year-old Dutchman is now back training with the first team. According to a reported conversation with Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal, he expects to feature for Arsenal in the game against Koln. Will that mean he has decided to stay on at the Emirates?
"Robin will play his first game this Sunday. He has told me he is at least going to play 45 minutes this weekend," van Gaal was quoted as saying in the Mirror, "It is a good job, because I almost had not selected him (for the Dutch squad to play Belgium in a friendly)."
Where to Watch Live
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- 'Game of Thrones'-like Film, 'The Queen of the Tearling,' Casts Emma Watson as Lead Star and Exec Producer [PHOTOS]
- Kim Kardashian Baby Girl: Suggested Ways Kanye West’s New Born Can Earn Money to Keep Up with the Kardashians [PHOTOS]
- Asus Transformer Infinity Pad, Sony Vaio Duo, Toshiba Satellite, A Look at Intel's Haswell 4th Generation Ultrabooks and Notebooks [Photos]
- 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Movie Casting: Selena Gomez Open to Nude Role, Ready for Anastasia Steele? [PHOTOS]