Granit Xhaka Switzerland
Granit Xhaka is expected to make his Arsenal debut in the game against the MLS All-Stars. Pictured: Xhaka during a group match against France in Euro 2016, June 19, 2016Reuters

With another defensive crisis looming and the hunt for a marquee striker seemingly drowning in quick sand, Arsenal will want to show they still have a squad capable of entertaining by ramping up the entertainment factor for the American fans in the match against the MLS All-Stars on Thursday.

The Gunners have come on this tour of the USA without several of their big names, with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Laurent Koscielny, Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez all recuperating from long seasons. First-team defenders Per Mertesacker and Gabriel have also not travelled owing to a knee injury and tonsillitis respectively.

It is the Mertesacker injury that is the worry for Arsenal, with the 31-year-old undergoing surgery in Germany. Arsene Wenger expects Mertesacker to be out for a "few months" even if the manager could not give a set return date. That will, naturally, prompt Wenger to go back into the transfer market for an experienced centre-back, but the focus on Thursday, and for the second game against Chivas de Guadalajara, will be on the three young central defenders that Arsenal have in the squad.

Calum Chambers is a bona fide Arsenal first-teamer by now, even if he is still only 21-years-old, while 18-year-old Krystian Bielik will want to show Wenger that he can make an impact in the senior squad this season. The third centre-back in the Arsenal squad for the US tour is the new signing Rob Holding, who, no matter how talented he is, will take a while to get integrated into the squad.

While worries will remain at the back for Arsenal unless they make a big centre-back signing, for this preseason match, defence will not be the focus. After all, friendlies are about building match fitness and, especially when the match is being held outside England, entertaining the fans.

Arsenal certainly have the tools to do that, with the likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who scored a sumptuous goal against Lens in the club's first preseason friendly last week, Joel Campbell, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla, to just name a few, all set to feature in this friendly against the MLS All-Stars.

A lot of focus will also be on new signing Granit Xhaka, who is one of Arsenal's most expensive players, having completed a move from Borussia Monchelgadbach for £30-35million. Another player, who will grab plenty of attention, is Gedion Zelalem, the Arsenal midfielder, who has pledged his international future to USMNT.

On the other side, there are plenty of familiar faces as well, with the MLS All-Stars squad featuring the likes of Kaka, Andrea Pirlo, Clint Dempsey, David Villa, Sebastian Giovinco and Didier Drogba, the man who has given Arsenal plenty of headaches in the past. With such marquee opposition, Drogba, Pirlo, Villa, Kaka and the rest will be keen to show there is a lot still left in those old legs yet.

Squads: Arsenal:

Goalkeepers: Petr Cech, David Ospina, Emiliano Martinez.

Defenders: Hector Bellerin, Mathieu Debuchy, Nacho Monreal, Kieran Gibbs, Rob Holding, Krystian Bielik, Calum Chambers.

Midfielders: Francis Coquelin, Mohamed Elneny, Granit Xhaka, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Gedion Zelalem, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Chris Willock, Alex Iwobi.

Forwards: Joel Campbell, Theo Walcott, Chuba Akpom.

MLS All-Stars:

Goalkeepers: David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union).

Defenders: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Steve Birnbaum (DC United), Laurent Ciman (Montreal Impact), Andrew Farrell (New England Revolution), Keegan Rosenberry (Philadelphia Union), Jelle Van Damme (LA Galaxy), Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire), Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps).

Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Mauro Diaz (FC Dallas), Giovani Dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Kaka (Orlando City SC), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Andrea Pirlo (New York City FC), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC).

Forwards: Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Didier Drogba (Montreal Impact), Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), Cyle Larin (Orlando City SC), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact), David Villa (New York City FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes).

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