Arsenal are getting their plans for pre-season in place, with the Emirates Cup the latest reported addition to the summer schedule.
According to Chris Wheatley, the Emirates Cup will definitely take place this summer. Arsenal are also planning to schedule in two more pre-season friendlies.
We already know that the Gunners are planning to play against Rangers in a commemorative friendly on July 17th, with Arsenal recently confirming that news. Given the date, you’d expect that to be the first fixture of pre-season.
As usual, Arsenal will have a limited number of players available at first, depending on the various summer tournaments. For example, the final of the Euros isn’t until 11th July, just six days before the Rangers match.
Players usually get at least three weeks off, so anyone involved in that final will probably miss the vast majority of the pre-season preparations.
Fortunately, that’s not a hugely long list, with Granit Xhaka, Kieran Tierney, Bernd Leno, and Bukayo Saka the only players with a good chance of making their senior national sides. Then those sides have to actually get to the final, another doubtful proposition.
But there are other competitions going on, such as the Copa America, and the Olympic Games, so expect further issues to come from those tournaments. AFCON isn’t until January 2022, so most of the African country representatives should be free.
For those available, it looks like Rangers and the Emirates Cup will help kick off the new campaign.