Arsenal will get their pre-season action underway in Australia on Thursday, when they take on Sydney FC at the ANZ Stadium.
After a disappointing season saw them fail to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 20 years, the Gunners are available at 2/7 (1.29) with Paddy Power to get preparations for new campaign underway on a positive note with a victory here.
In contrast, Graham Arnold's men won the A-League Premiership and Championship trophies in a record-breaking season, and are on offer at 15/2 (8.50) to maintain the feelgood factor by coming out on top against their prestigious guests, or 9/2 (5.50) to claim a respectable draw.
While Arsene Wenger is set to stay at the Emirates despite last season’s underperformance, it is difficult to say the same with any certainty about Alexis Sanchez.
As the star man reportedly seeks a move away from North London, record signing Alexandre Lacazette could find himself under even more pressure than his hefty price tag would normally dictate to pick up the slack from last season’s top scorer.
With Sanchez still on holiday due to his involvement in the Confederations Cup this summer, the match in the Australian capital could offer a preview of how the attack will line up next season should he end up departing.
Fortunately, the game should represent a fairly gentle start to life for Lacazette if the opposition’s record against English opposition is anything to go by.
Despite their impressive showing last season, the Sky Blues were easily beaten 3-0 by Liverpool just weeks after winning the Grand Final – their sixth friendly defeat in seven matches versus teams from the Premier League.
All things considered, odds of 8/11 (1.73) seem too good to pass up on even a Sanchez-less Arsenal making their quality count and coming out on top by at least two clear goals in Sydney.
|Arsenal (-1) to win at 8/11 (1.73) for a 2.5pt stake with Paddy Power|