AAP Soccer

Socceroos set for new Arnold beginning

By AAP Newswire

Graham Arnold has promised to bring goals back to the Socceroos, starting with his first friendly on Tuesday (AEDT) in the oppressive heat of Kuwait.

Australia return to international action against the Persian Gulf state for the first time since the creditable but defensive-minded World Cup campaign.

With long-serving greats Mile Jedinak and Tim Cahill gone, part-time coach Bert van Marwijk in the rear-view mirror and an Asian Cup defence in less than three months' time, Arnold begins his tenure with a low-key friendly match played in the dead of night, Australian time.

That hasn't stopped him upping the ante on the match against the world No.158, saying he wants to start with a bang.

"I have complete trust that these boys will make a great statement on Monday night," he said.

"We've been working hard on the style we want to play - the style we will play - and it's about playing players to their strengths.

"Australians always have great discipline, great attitude, that's the least you expect.

"With the attack, we're giving them rotations, options and freedom. Freedom to express and show their qualities, especially in the opposition half.

"We have the quality in the front half of the field that will excite everyone."

Based on training, Arnold is likely to stick with the 4-2-3-1 formation that Australia fielded at the World Cup and was his staple at Sydney FC, with Apostolos Giannou likely to get first crack as striker.

Hard-luck World Cup story Massimo Luongo should start in midfield with Jackson Irvine, with Tom Rogic, Mat Leckie and Robbie Kruse in advanced roles.

The back four appears unchanged from Russia, while Danny Vukovic should start in goal with first-choice gloveman Mat Ryan absent.

Given the sapping conditions in Kuwait, it would be a surprise if Arnold didn't use all six substitutes at his disposal, including Daniel Arzani, Mustafa Amini and possible debutants Awer Mabil and Thomas Deng.

Arnold said he wanted the Socceroos to play "free-flowing football with an emphasis on pressing" and a wider spread of goalscoring options.

"We'll go wide but have three or four in the box, not one. We'll play through the middle," he said.

"We've done a full analysis of the top teams across Europe. Manchester City breaking records last year with the most goals, Barca, Juve - we see a common theme to replicate, about getting numbers an area in the penalty box in front of goal.

"The more you get in, the more chance you have of scoring."

Opponents Kuwait are expected to play above their lowly ranking..

The Kuwaitis are unbeaten in four matches, downing Lebanon 1-0 on Thursday night after draws with Iraq, Egypt and a defeat of Palestine in their most recent friendlies.

Even though the match starts at 7.30pm local time on Monday (3.30am Tuesday AEDT) the temperature is expected to be above 30 degrees and finish in nauseating humidity at the Kuwait Sports Club Stadium.