5 Things for Arsenal Fans to Look Forward to at the Emirates Cup

James McNicholasFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2014

5 Things for Arsenal Fans to Look Forward to at the Emirates Cup

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    This weekend, football returns to the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal take on Benfica and AS Monaco in the Emirates Cup.

    For the Gunners, this friendly tournament takes on more importance than usual this year. With a decidedly minimalistic pre-season schedule, every friendly becomes a vital chance to assess the players' fitness and form.

    There is plenty for Arsenal fans to look out for this time round. Go to the next slide to discover what could lay in store at the Emirates Cup. 

The Possible Debut of Alexis Sanchez

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    Due to the fact that he had to sort out some work-permit issues, Alexis Sanchez did not travel with the rest of the squad to Austria this week. Instead, he trained alone at London Colney.

    However, he may still get a chance to take the field for Arsenal this weekend. Should he do so, it would be his first appearance in a Gunners shirt. 

A Glimpse of Joel Campbell

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    Joel Campbell is currently undertaking what is effectively a trial period at Arsenal. If he impresses this pre-season, he could earn a permanent place in the Arsenal squad. If he fails to perform, he will almost certainly be sold.

    His displays in the Emirates Cup will surely go a long way toward determining his fate. 

The Potential of Gedion Zelalem

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    The Emirates Cup usually presents opportunities for one or two young players to shine. One of this year's beneficiaries could be the teenage playmaker Gedion Zelalem, who has played a full part in Arsenal's pre-season thus far.

    Speaking to the club's official website, Jack Wilshere eulogised about Zelalem's potential:

    He's got so much ability and he can go where he wants. Maybe he needs to get a little bit stronger but his ability will take him through.

    Gedion's got so much natural ability and the right attitude towards the game. Naturally he's going to become stronger and he's training with great players.

    Seeing him in action is an exciting prospect ahead of the weekend. 

A Run-out for Abou Diaby

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    The sight of Abou Diaby taking the field in an Arsenal shirt is increasingly rare these days. However, he is currently available for selection and should get a run-out at this year's summer tournament.

    Diaby is too injury prone to be relied on in the long term, but that doesn't stop him being a wonderful player to watch when he's fit. 

More New Faces

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    The Emirates Cup should enable Arsenal fans to see the trio of David Ospina, Calum Chambers and Mathieu Debuchy in action for the first time.

    It will be particularly interesting to see if Chambers plays in his customary right-back role, or if Arsene Wenger sets about beginning the process of converting him to centre-half.