Arsenal FC: Previewing the Gunners' Friendly Against Malaysia XI

Matthew CelentanoFeatured ColumnistJuly 12, 2011

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 28:  Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger takes a training session in preparation for tomorrow's Champions League Group H match against Olympiacos at London Colney on September 28, 2009 in St Albans, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

I'll be honest here: I know nothing about Malaysia XI, at least nothing beyond what the Internet and Wikipedia teaches me.

Apparently, Malaysia XI is a team compiled from the best players in the Malaysia Super League, almost like the PFA Team of the Year in England, except Malaysia XI actually plays exhibition matches, which is pretty cool.

Surprinsgly, the Malaysian outfit hasn't lost by the largest deficits, and Manchester United only beat them 3-2 and 2-0 in 2009.

But enough about this bizarre "All-Star" Malaysian club, let's talk about Arsenal, and how important this match is for their reputation and to get the squad prepared for the new season.

Malaysia XI has a pretty poor record, with only one win in their history (which was actually against Arsenal, but in 1975), and Arsenal are expected to keep it that way, as the Gunners certainly don't want to suffer the embarrassment of losing to a club from Malaysia (no offense).

With the easy task of winning at hand, Arsene Wenger will focus on developing younger players for the new season, like Emmanuel Frimpong and Ryo Miyaichi. Frimpong was setting his sights on being a key defensive midfielder in the Arsenal squad last season, but was sidelined for the entire year due to an ACL tear.

Ryo Miyaichi was a new signing in January, and immediately after arriving at Feyenoord for a loan spell he seemed to be the best player on the Dutch club, with blistering pace and impressive dribbling abilities.

Another thing that Wenger should experiment with is changing players position's. Theo Walcott come to mind? Wenger has been playing the England international as a winger all season, but many Arsenal supporters including myself agree that Walcott would be best suited as a striker up top.

The way he runs into space, beating the offside trap and lethally finishing the ball would be excellent for Arsenal's attack, as well as the development of Walcott. Wenger should really try it out in these friendly matches before the new season kicks off.

It'll be interesting to see who Wenger starts and in what position they'll be in. Putting Vermaelen in the left of the defense would be a smart choice, as Kieran Gibbs doesn't quite seem to be ready to play left back for an entire Premier League season following the departure of Gael Clichy.

The Arsenal boss should also see how Nasri performs in the middle of the attack, as well as playing around with the duo of Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere.

Chelsea and Liverpool will also be playing friendly matches against Malaysia XI later in the summer, so Premier League followers are likely to compare the three Premier League sides on how many goals they can notch up against the Malaysian outfit.

The Gunners should be able to score at least five given their attacking prowess, and the Arsenal defense shouldn't find the Malaysian attackers too troubling.

Final Prediction: Arsenal 6-1 Malaysia XI