Arsenal and Manchester City wrap up the preseason with a high-profile friendly in Finland on Saturday. Expectations are on the rise for both Premier League clubs as the new season approaches; they will be looking to end the exhibition slate on a positive note.
The Gunners are coming off their first defeat of the preseason, a 2-1 loss to Galatasaray in the Emirates Cup. Otherwise, Arsenal did a nice job of shaking off the rust during a successful Asian tour and appear ready for the new campaign.
City started the preseason with a couple lackluster performances in South Africa. They have since turned things around. The Sky Blues had a particularly strong showing in the Audi Cup, where they scored a victory over AC Milan before a narrow loss to defending European champion Bayern Munich.
What's your prediction for the friendly?
Let's take a look at the viewing information for Saturday's clash, followed by a preview and a match prediction as the EPL rivals go through their final tuneup.
Where: Helsinki Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, Finland
When: Saturday, Aug. 10 at 10 a.m. ET (3 p.m. BT)
Watch: beIN Sport
Live Stream: beIN Sport Play
As Arsenal await final word on Luis Suarez, whose transfer saga continues to drag on, the club must prepare to enter the new season with its current squad. Under that scenario, the onus is on Theo Walcott to lead the offensive charge.
The talented forward took another step in his development last season. He scored 21 goals across all competitions, using his pace to become a nightmare matchup for defenders. If he can improve his consistency this season, watch out.
Facing Manchester City should be a good test for the Arsenal back line. The group looked shaky over the past two matches, allowing a combined four goals to Napoli and Galatasaray. Per Mertesacker and Co. have to start limiting mistakes.
It will be interesting to see if Arsene Wenger decides to give his first-team squad an extended run in the match. There's been plenty of mixing and matching throughout the preseason, but it wouldn't be a surprise if he takes this match a little more seriously with the season right around the corner.
The biggest key for Manchester City if they are going to reclaim the Premier League crown is more explosiveness moving forward. Too often last term they lacked the killing instinct necessary to have success in the final third.
Stevan Jovetic should provide a significant boost. The striker showed signs of taking his game to the next level at Fiorentina. Getting to play alongside a more talented supporting cast should lead to a big season for the Montenegro international.
One area the club shouldn't have to worry about is the defense. City allowed the fewest goals in league play last season and return the main contributors to that effort, most notably Joe Hart and Vincent Kompany. A strong back line is key building block to success.
All told, both sides would probably like to make an early statement before turning their attention to the matches that count. Expect an entertaining battle with City pulling out a narrow victory to gain some welcomed momentum.
Prediction: Manchester City 2, Arsenal 1