by Lewis Ambrose
Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger had no time to rest when the team touched down in Singapore on Monday.
A journey of about 6500 miles, Arsenal finally arrived ahead of the Barclays Asia Trophy, which starts on Wednesday. The manager said he was happy to be in the country, before going on to talk about the pre-season competition.
“I’m happy to be in Singapore,” said Wenger.
“I have been here before, I know it’s a very good place, a very safe place and usually things are well organised. So we can hope to have a good combination of competition and preparation in our training sessions, as well as good conditions in our hotel, which is important.”
That really is vital at this time of year. Travelling so far will be scrutinised by some, but it is important that the Arsenal squad don’t have their pre-season damaged by such a long trip. Getting enough training and rest is paramount.
With all that considered we arrive at the reason we are in Singapore in the first place.
The Barclays Asia Trophy sees Arsenal’s pre-season go up a gear. Wednesday’s clash against Singapore XI will be our first 90 minutes of the summer, before a game against either Everton or Stoke gives us an idea of where the team is against stronger opposition just three weeks before the Premier League season begins.
“We want to win every game,” the Arsenal manager told the media.
“A few years ago nobody was interested in these games but now there is so much interest in the preparation that if you do not win these games it’s already a crisis! It’s important that you start on a positive foot.”
No doubt Arsenal’s performances here will be scrutinised, even though the results are meaningless in the grand scheme of things.
“Of course, Everton and Stoke are two competitive teams,” said Wenger of the Premier League opposition we will face on Saturday.
Stoke had a great season last year and they always make life difficult for you. In the Premier League were are used to playing against each other and the games are always very tight.”
Whether or not the result is tight, or the result is good, is pretty meaningless. This week is all about stepping up our preparation ahead of the new season.
I, for one, can’t wait to watch Arsenal in action again.