Arsenal - Emirates Cup 2010 Line-up
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Emirates Cup 2010 Line-up

Football fans have a habit of complaining about the lack of football, among other things (especially regarding the transfer market), in the off season. But we should feel better this summer, with the World Cup ending on 11th July and our beloved Arsenal coming back in the Emirates Cup on 31st July - and presumably some other pre-season games before that.

We've debated the pros and cons for English teams to go to North America or Asia in terms of pre-season preparation versus marketing benefits. Arsenal is a rare example among the top European teams in resisting the temptation of reaching out to overseas fans by conducting pre-season tours. Ever since we moved to the Grove, we have been taking advantage of the great stadium in summer by organising the Emirates Cup, inviting teams to come to our home instead of making long-haul trips ourselves.

This tournament has also been generating great gate receipts which render the idea of going on a pre-season tour less attractive from a financial point of view, as Wenger pointed out in the Emirates Cup tournament programme in 2008. This is the reason why he has opted for shorter trips to Austria and other European destinations preceding this tournament which has become an annual festival at the Grove.

This year, the club has lined up a fairly attractive trio to join the fun: AC Milan, Celtic and Lyon. It may not sound much, compared to the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus in the past, and it's not like we're facing some new opponents on a rare occasion either. We famously knocked Milan out of the Champions League in 2007-08 and met Celtic earlier this season in the same competition. But having seen Lyon's European performances of late, I think this combination would represent decent entertainment. It is credit to the club that we are once again treated to a fairly good line-up in summer.

Another benefit of this tournament is that, with better access to tickets and a lower price range than with regular league games, many Gooners who don't get to see the team very often will have a chance to have a great day out at the Grove. To many overseas fans, it's also a nice excuse to go to London in summer. I still remember how I embarrassed myself with my broken Italian answering questions about what to see in London from a Juve-supporting old couple from Turin in the long queue leading up to the Arsenal shop on Drayton Park and chatting with a few young Germans about Martin Jol after watching Hamburg's good performance under him. You get a different crowd to the stadium and the atmosphere has been great in the past few years.

For fans, watching pre-season games is all about hope for the next season by having a glimpse of what the team has to offer, hopefully with some additions and optimisations done to it. Despite the disappointing performances and results in April, many of us would agree that this team has matured a lot in many aspects and that we`re just two or three signings away from building a really strong team that has the potential of dominating domestically and challenging in Europe. This summer should be especially interesting for Arsenal, with the possibility of strengthening of the squad with Arsene getting the benefit of the much-lifted financial restraints - the boss has admitted as much of late. (This way for Amos' good analysis on that.) The prospect of seeing the tweaked version of our team test themselves against some of the top teams in Europe just adds to the anticipation.

For me, the only shame in the line-up is that we don't get to play Lyon, as we'll face Milan on the first day and Celtic on the second. But you have to say Milan-Lyon is a rather interesting fixture too. And if you saw an Arsenal-Celtic-Lyon-Milan combination in the Champions League group stage, you would've said that's a group of death, wouldn't you? Such is the quality the club is bringing to the Grove every summer. So Gooners, not everyone gets to go to South Africa, but London isn't a bad idea at all!

Here's the fixture list in full:

Saturday 31st July 2010
2.00pm Celtic v Olympique Lyonnais
4.20pm Arsenal v AC Milan

Sunday 1st August 2010
2.00pm AC Milan v Olympique Lyonnais
4.20pm Arsenal v Celtic

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Gooner Lou Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday April 29 2010

Time: 4:31PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
It's ridiculous we don't get to play Lyon! Really disappointing. I've gone to the previous 2 Ems Cup, I'll be going to this one.
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29/04/2010 21:13:00

3 big, underachieving clubs. Lyon did well in Europe obviously, but are 5th in France (although admitedly they will go 3rd if they win their game in hand), Celtic were well off the pace this season and Milan are only just starting to awake from their slumber but still haven't looked great this season, with their players only getting older. Still, should be entertaining. Some great players coming and Lyon do play good football when on song, Michel Bastos has impressed me particularly this season.
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30/04/2010 08:33:00

I enjoy the Emirates Cup games as the Sun usually Out, and the atomsphere is Great! As I've said before these games draw in aload of families, which is Good to see. Celtic fans will be up for the game against us as they are still very upset by the whole Eduardo Pen thing! I'll be trying to hold on until the tickets go on General sale as I like to take friends who are not members, as I have done the last two times.
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30/04/2010 10:00:00

Val do you know how long it usually takes before the tickets are available on general sale?
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30/04/2010 12:22:00

AR: "3 big, underachieving clubs." And what have we achieved lately in comparison? I see gooners all over sneering at that list of clubs as if they're so beneath us. Gimme a break. I love the idea of seeing Lyon and Milan, I don't care about their current travails - it's not as if we're achieving anything lately either. Lyon this season are among Europe's top 4 clubs in the CL - they eliminated Real Madrid and Liverpool, and were eliminated by one of the finalists. Bastos is ok, I'm more excited about seeing one of Europe's best forwards: Lisandro Lopez; France's best keeper, Hugo Lloris; and I love the idea of seeing Cris again (who Lyon fans call "the policeman")--he's a got a long, interesting, tumultuous history, esp. when he played in Brazil. As for Milan, I look forward to seeing Pato, Dinho, Boriello, Gattuso, Seedorf and Pirlo. I know they're not at their best anymore, I don't care. Celtic, otoh, don't interest me at all. Tho I'll be ready to counter their pathetic anti-Eduardo chants.
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30/04/2010 14:36:00

Looking forward to playing Milan I have to say.
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30/04/2010 16:37:00

jaelle, I completely agree with you, I don't think they're 'beneath us' at all. All of them have won more than we have in recent seasons, although their domestic competitions are significantly easier to win than ours. If anything I just find it an interesting coincidence how it will be a tournament for sides with similar ambitions for the season ahead: all having suffered at the hands of their rivals in their leagues, who are all in a rebuilding process (although Lyon and us are probably ahead of the others in terms of this rebuilding, and Celtic have only just started really). It was an objective point, I don't mean to sound dissapointed. They should provide very tough opposition and I, like you, am thoroughly looking forward to it.
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30/04/2010 16:51:00

ok, AR, fair enuf. Sorry that I misunderstood you.
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05/05/2010 17:05:00


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