by Lewis Ambrose
The Emirates kicks off this weekend with Villarreal facing Vfl Wolfsburg but Arsenal fans will be more interested in the hosts.
The second game of Saturday will pit Arsenal against last season’s runners-up in Ligue 1, Lyon. This time last year Héctor Bellerín played excellently in a win against Benfica and it was just the start of a season which saw him establish himself in the Arsenal first-team.
“It was definitely a really good game [against Benfica],” Bellerín said to the official match day programme ahead of the competition kicking off again this year.
“It was the game that gave me the chance to prove myself, and show everyone what I could do.
“It was probably one of the games that was a real turning point of my career. It was a great experience, against a great team and the whole side put in a really good performance, hopefully we can do it again this year.”
Bellerín has had an unforgettable year since, forcing himself into the Arsenal first-team and playing in the FA Cup Final win over Aston Villa. The Spanish defender is still just 20 years-old and his Arsenal career is still only just beginning.
“If you had told me back then that it would have turned out like this, I wouldn’t have believed you.
“So the Emirates Cup is a good chance for young players to prove themselves, because we are playing against really good teams again. It’s a good chance to get the fitness back as well, and to feel competition as well.”
Arsenal face Lyon on Saturday before playing Wolfsburg on Sunday, with Bellerín expected to play at least on full game.
“It’s definitely one of the best summer tournaments that there is anywhere,” said the defender. “It’s only quality teams and it’s a great chance to get the fitness back, to get the feel of the ball and to get used to each other again.
“It will be two hard games, which is what you look for before the season starts.”
It’ll be followed by the Community Shield, where Bellerín will be hoping to pay at Wembley once again. He had one hell of a season for Arsenal last time around and this year promises even more. Maybe Arsenal fans will even get a glimpse of another young player who is about to ‘do a Bellerín’ over the coming season.