It's hard to get too excited about a 45-minute match, but after an exciting offseason, Arsenal supporters can't wait to see their team on the pitch.
Amid the Robin Van Persie speculation, Arsenal went out and acquired Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, two top-flight attacking threats who could help restore the Gunners to prominence in the Barclay's PL.
And while the fate of some of their other players––Van Persie, Bendtner and Chamakh, to name a few––is shrouded in doubt, the Gunners are still ready to get the new season going as soon as they can.
So yes, it's an absurdly early 45-minute match against Anderlecht, but it's still something true supporters are looking forward to. Let's take a look at what's in store.
Where: St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton, England
When: July 14th, 1:45 EST
New Guys Working Out the Kinks?
In Podolski and Giroud, Arsenal has two new players that are expected to become immediate, top-level contributors. But first, they have to learn how to play within a new system.
They're both plenty capable. Podolski's FC Koln side may have been relegated during last season, but he was impressive in scoring 18 goals. He compounded that success with a typically efficient performance for the Germans in Euro 2012.
Giroud led Ligue 1––the top league in France––in scoring last season and is looking to build off that success against higher competition.
The transition to English football can sometimes take time, however, and should Podolski and Giroud play, it will be interesting to see how they fare.
Can Anderlecht Build Off a Championship Season?
Anderlecht wont their 31st Belgian League title in 2012 and are currently ranked 41st in the UEFA team ranking.
Playing against Arsenal is a much different task than playing against Belgian sides, however, and this will be a good litmus test for the squad.
While Arsenal are working out some kinks, Anderlecht will be treating this game like more than a scrimmage, aiming to gain respect from a top-flight club.
Fun side note: USA reserve midfielder Sacha Kljestan is a member of Anderlecht and gets regular playing time. It'll be fun to see if he gets a shot to play against the Gunners.
What The Heck Happens With Robin Van Persie
The Van Persie situation has been tense this summer. Arsene Wenger has tried admirably to convince his striker to stay, but Van Persie seems hellbent on not signing an extension past next year.
So while he remains on the roster for now, there's still speculation that he could be on the way out. The additions of Podolski and Giroud certainly didn't do anything to dispel that notion.
Coming off the best season of his career, the Gunners would still love to have Van Persie back, despite the insurance they signed this offseason. Either way, it'll be interesting to see if Van Persie is present for the match on Saturday.