Arsenal's Emirates Cup 2013: Previewing the 4 Teams

James McNicholas@@jamesmcnicholasFeatured ColumnistJune 28, 2013

Arsenal's Emirates Cup 2013: Previewing the 4 Teams

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    The Emirates Cup is always a good litmus test of an Arsenal squad's capabilities. This year, Arsenal, Galatasaray, Napoli and Porto will use the cup to assess their preparations for the 2013/14 campaign.

    It has also seen the emergence of a series of young stars. In the past, both Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere have used the tournament to make an impressive case for stepping up to the first team.

    Over the next four slides, we assess the sides who will contest this year's Emirates Cup. 

Arsenal

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    Transfer Activity: Arsenal have yet to make a major signing this summer, but The Guardian continue to link Arsene Wenger with a swoop for Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain.

    Familiar Faces: All of them. Arsenal's squad has a familiar look to last season. Unlike previous summers, all the Gunners' major stars are securely under contract and seemingly content at the club.

    Danger Man: Santi Cazorla was voted Arsenal's Player of the Season for 2012/13 and is undoubtedly their most threatening creative outlet. Next season, he is likely to be deployed on the left wing to help provide balance for Arsene Wenger's increasingly pragmatic side.

    Possible lineup: (4-3-3) Szczesny; Jenkinson, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere; Walcott, Cazorla, Giroud

Galatasaray

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    Transfer Activity: Galatasaray have already pounced for former Lille centre-half Aurelien Chedjou. According to Sky Sports, they are also lining up a move for Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel.

    Familiar Faces: The Emirates Cup marks the return of controversial former Gunner Emmanuel Eboue. The Ivorian full-back's cult status is sure to guarantee him a rousing reception.

    Danger Man: On his day, Wesley Sneijder is still one of the world's most gifted playmakers. Sneijder will be hoping to recapture his sparkling form of 2010 in Turkey.

    Possible lineup: (4-4-2) Muslera; Eboue, Chedjou, Gokhan Zan, Riera; Altintop, Melo, Selcuk, Sneijder; Drogba, Elmander

Napoli

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    Transfer Activity: Napoli's first major summer signing is the former PSV winger Dries Mertens. Mertens scored 16 goals and assisted a further 17 in the Eredivisie and will be hoping for a similar impact in Serie A.

    Familiar Faces: Napoli's new manager, Rafa Benitez, will be horribly familiar to the Emirates faithful. After pipping the Gunners to third place in the Premier League, Benitez will hope to inflict further pain upon the Gunners in the Emirates Cup.

    Danger Man: Although Edinson Cavani has grabbed a lot of the headlines in recent seasons, Marek Hamsik's driving runs from midfield have been just as influential in Napoli's rise.

    Possible lineup: (3-4-2-1) De Sanctis; Rolando, Cannavaro, Grava; Maggio, Dzemaili, Inler, Behrami; Hamsik, Mertens; Pandev 

Porto

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    Transfer Activity: Porto have already lost the midfield duo of Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez to cash-flushed Monaco. As ever, they've supplemented their squad with a string of bargain buys. The pick of the new boys appears to be Mexico international midfielder Hector Herrera.

    Familiar Faces: These are few and far between. Porto's squad is forever evolving. Doubtless some of their unfamiliar acquisitions will soon become household names.

    Danger Man: Colombia forward Jackson Martinez is the brightest jewel remaining in Porto's diminishing crown. Martinez will hope to emerge from the Emirates Cup with his burgeoning reputation further enhanced.

    Possible lineup: (4-3-3) Helton; Danilo, Otamendi, Mangala, Sandro; Lucho, Fernando, Herrera; Kelvin, Jackson, Varela 

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