by Lee Hurley

Arsene Wenger believes that the Barclay’s Asia Trophy will give him a chance to get a closer look at Everton and Stoke before the season starts.

Speaking to the New Paper in Singapore, the boss was also open about what the tournament means to the players and once again highlighted his dislike of travelling so far for friendlies.

“You have already in your mind the battles you could have for the coming season in the Premier League with these kinds of teams, but it’s interesting as well because you know how strong they will be.

“It is a little advantage to know how strong they will be, what they’ve done and what you have to expect in the next season.

“It’s always a good experience as well to be together for a while and get good team-bonding during a period away from home.

“It has many advantages, the only disadvantage in fact is the travelling, but the rest is very positive.”

Arsenal play a Singapore XI in their first game of pre-season on 15th July before playing either Stoke or Everton in the final or third/fourth place play-off that takes place three days later.

As for the league games, Arsenal will play Stoke at home in the league on 12th September with the away trip coming in mid-January, part of an horrendous month that sees Arsenal play Liverpool (a), Stoke (a), and Chelsea (h) within the space of nine days.

Arsenal welcome Everton to the Emirates on 24th October, just a few days after a Champions League group game and then travel to Merseyside on the final day of the league season. It’s worth noting that, once again, the Premier League has given no consideration to teams playing in the Champions League with Arsenal’s first three group games being followed by very tough league ties (Chelsea (a), United (h), Everton (h)).