Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Tuesday April 10 2012
Following on from announcements of pre season friendlies in Beijing and Hong Kong this summer, a press conference took place in the early hours of this morning GMT to announce that the Gunners will once again visit Kuala Lumpur again this July. Arsenal visited the Malaysian capital in the summer of 2011 too and will once again host an open training session on Monday, 23rd July- an event attended by over 30,000 last year.
The next day, Arsenal will then play a friendly against a Malaysia XI in the Bukit Jalil Stadium. Kickoff will be 9.45pm local time which, if I have it right, translates into a 4.45am kickoff Wednesday morning for those of us in the UK. It appears those wanting to watch will get a taste of what our Asian fans experience so regularly in watching the Gunners. According to the ever reliable @DarrenArsenal1 on twitter, discussions originally revolved around playing in Korea, which appear to have been shelved. Two games in Nigeria still seem to be very much on the agenda, one for an Arsenal XI, which suggests Arsenal will have a busy pre season. (Again, that information is courtesy of Darren). I`m led to believe that there is a gentleman`s agreement in place that players such as Robin van Persie will appear on the tour to some degree, even if his Holland side get to the Euro 2012 Final.
With Barnet set to play one more season at Underhill the revival of a pre season game in Hertfordhsire isn`t out of the question, whilst some rumours suggest the club promised Southampton a friendly in the Alex Oxlade Chamberlain transfer. I would suspect much of these nascent plans will depend on whether or not Arsenal have to play a European qualifier in August.
Of the game in Malaysia, Arsenal big cheese Ivan Gazidis told a Press Conference attended by Malaysian Price Abdullah Ahmad Shah; "Further to the overwhelming success of our visit to Kuala Lumpur in 2011, everyone associated with Arsenal is very excited to once again be visiting Malaysia this year.
"We are delighted that our many loyal fans in Malaysia and neighbouring regions will again have the chance to see their team in action live. We had a fantastic time in Malaysia last year and we are all looking forward to visiting this great country and meeting its wonderful people again in July."LD.
Date:Tuesday April 10 2012
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