There will be no Premier League fixtures for the week between the 25th and 31st of March but Arsenal fans can expect a cracking contest as the club has announced the Emirates Stadium will host the friendly between Brazil and Chile.
While Jack Wilshere and his England teammates prepare a revenge of their World Cup defeat to Italy, they can relax and watch their teammate, Alexis Sanchez, play host to his former Barcelona mate and World Cup star, Neymar. Both spent one season together at the Camp Nou last year and even if there was no trophy to show for it, the South Americans maintained a good rapport and will shake hands and exchange smiles when they meet by tea-time on the 29th of March.
The Emirates have regularly hosted the Brazilian teams in the past years but Alexis will be the one with the home advantage on his side this time. Revenge and reparation will also be on his mind when they match up as Chile were ousted at the Round-of-16 stage by Brazil via a penalty shootout in which he had missed their first penalty, though he scored a 32nd minute equalizer to David Luiz’s opener.
Luiz could visit London for the first time since leaving Chelsea in the summer, as Oscar, Ramires, Filipe Luis and Willian could also all be involved. Tottenham’s Paulinho and City’s duo of Fernando and Fernandinho will all be in line to take part in the friendly.
It could also be a hugely significant game for Arsenal new boy, Gabriel Paulista who is yet uncapped with the Selecao. He has had a very good season with Villareal until now and there will be 12 Arsenal games between now and then for him to convince Brazilian coach Dunga to hand him a first ever International call-up and cap.
Alexis looks set to be sidelined for the welcome of Aston Villa with a hamstring injury which gooners will hope is not serious. He has managed to stay away from the crowded Arsenal treatment room this season, playing nearly every single game for which he has been available. His goals and assists returns have been amazing, as has Neymar’s been at Barcelona too. The Number 10 scored twice in Barca’s 3 – 2 victory over Atletico Madrid in the second leg of their Copa Del Rey quarter final tie.
The International friendlies will come between Arsenal’s Premier League trip to Newcastle and a potential top-four decider at home to Liverpool. The Champions League Round-of-16 double header would have been concluded and if Arsenal should get past Monaco, the friendly could be a dress rehearsal between Alexis and Neymar for a potential quarter-final clash.
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