by Lewis Ambrose
Wednesday sees Arsenal play their first friendly of pre-season, with the club pitted against a Singapore Select XI in the semi-final of the Barclays Asia Trophy.
Arsène Wenger is expected to name a youthful team but the game is still expected to be a formality. Nonetheless V Sundramoorthy (or simply Sundram), head coach of the Singapore Select XI, remains upbeat about his side’s chances and is telling them to take the game to the Gunners.
“We are not going to park the bus,” Sundram told the media on Tuesday.
“We’re going to go out there and play entertaining football, but to be clever, and not give them time and space on the ball.”
The game is seen as a great opportunity for the Singapore Select XI to learn from a level of opponent they don’t usually get to face, with Sundram hoping the experience will only serve to improve football in Singapore. Even though he expects a difficult game, he is still hoping to see his players express themselves.
“The boys, tactically, must be ready to counter whatever dangers Arsenal is going to pose to us. We have gone through the drills in practice training and they are aware of how we are going to approach the game.”
Having no time on the ball and having to defend at times is no bad thing for Arsenal. It is pre-season, after all, and these games have to serve as preparation for the new campaign. The Premier League begins just three weeks after the final of the Barclays Asia Trophy, so the more competitive practice we have between now and then the better.