by Lewis Ambrose
Arsenal will head back to London having won the Barclays Asia Trophy in Singapore, and manager Arsène Wenger is very content with pre-season so far.
A commanding 3-1 defeat of the Merseyside club was impressive as Arsenal appeared to click well i difficult conditions. Just the second game of pre-season, and only in the second week of training, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic.
“I’m pleased with the performance because the focus in pre-season is to find the quality of our game back,” said the Arsenal manager following the impressive result.
“I think for long periods we played in a very convincing way and the way we want to play – together, with good team play. Everybody shared the same vision on the pitch of the game we want to play. That’s positive.”
During the transfer window the boss has spoken about the importance of cohesion. Petr Čech is the only new signing so far and having players used to playing together must be helpful as Arsenal look forward to the new season.
The win over Everton was only Arsenal’s second pre-season game, and the Emirates Cup next weekend will provide the only other friendly fixtures before the Community Shield in August. Nonetheless, the applies look raring to go despite working hard in training.
“Yesterday we had quite a good, strong session and I found the players a little bit tired. They were quite sharp here,” Wenger said after the game.
The manager also went on to praise the tournament and the location, with Singapore providing Arsenal with a challenging location to train in as well as giving fans in Asia the chance to watch the team.
“For us it was a perfect trip because we had fantastic conditions, fantastic fans in the hotel every day and overall we came here with 27 players, we had two convincing games with no injury after a week, so that’s fantastic.”
Now we are just two weeks from the Community Shield and three weeks from the start of the Premier League season, winning a competition such as the Barclays Asia Trophy can only be good for morale.
“In pre-season you start to build your confidence up and the wins help. [You improve] your fitness, and having these kind of games in the heat helps as well. The quality of the performance provoked a good intensity. For us, it’s a good preparation.”
The last team to win the Barclays Asia Trophy – Manchester City in 2013 – went on to win the Premier League, but Wenger isn’t counting his chickens just yet.
“If it was as simple as that, everybody would like to play the Asia Trophy every year. I’m long enough in the job to know that it depends on the quality of our performances.
“But it’s good to increase the level of confidence by performances like that.”
Indeed it is. The new season isn’t far away now, and his should give the Arsenal players a little lift as pre-season continues.