With the Emirates Cup taking place this weekend, Arsene Wenger claims that he’s happy to have it back.
On Saturday and Sunday, Arsenal face Benfica and Sevilla in the Emirates Cup, a friendly pre-season tournament that Arsene Wenger insists he missed when it didn’t take place last year due to pitch renovation work.
“I am excited because I find it is always a good way to greet your fans ahead of the new season in a relaxed atmosphere,” he told Arsenal Player.
“[There is] less pressure and everyone can enjoy it and look at the young players coming up and the new players coming in.
“It is a great two days, I missed it last year – I am very happy to have it back again as I was very sad we couldn’t organise it last year.”
The Emirates Cup was born in 2007 and apart from last season, the only time its been missed is over the 2012 Olympics.
Inter Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Valencia were the first three guests.
Arsenal wanted to have a reasonably priced, exciting event in pre-season, which is something the Emirates Cup has remained ever since.
Without the pressure, atmosphere and prices, it’s perfect for a family day out, or a great opportunity for those who aren’t lucky enough to be able to regularly see Premier League matches to watch some of the players in the flesh.
It’s also a brilliant chance for Arsene Wenger to give some of his younger players some experience playing on the big stage in front of a packed-out stadium, as well as scope out which players are looking sharpest.
The competition follows a point scoring system similar to the Amsterdam Tournament, which sees three points awarded to the winner of each match (one for a draw, zero for a loss), as well as a point for every goal scored.
From 2009, shots on target has also been used as a tie-breaker.
Arsenal have won the tournament four times: 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2015.
Hamburg won it in 2008, New York Red Bulls in 2011, Galatasaray in 2013 and Valencia in 2014.