Date:Monday July 21 2008
Arsenal play their first game of the Austrian training camp on Tuesday versus Hungarian side Szombathelyi Haladas. Most of the first team, including Adebayor, reported to training in Austria on Monday and will most likely be involved in this exhibition game.
The players who started the Barnet game will undoubtedly be looking to improve on their performance against the Bees at Underhill. Most of those players looked off the pace and their touch was uncharacteristically poor, but that should be fixed with more match practice. The reserve players, who got Arsenal back in the tie in the second half, will be aiming for a repeat performance.
Arsene has laid out a plan for this camp and the rest of the pre-season. He said "The plan there is to up the quantity of work and to get some good games."
He went on to say "We have two kinds of practice games then we have a more serious game on Wednesday, the 30th of July, against Stuttgart, then we will prepare for the Emirates Cup, and I believe we will have a little vision of the team at the Emirates Cup against Juventus and Real Madrid"
Haladas won the Nemzeti Bajnokság II this past season by a total of 71 points. Over the weekend Haladas team president announced that he expects an extremely strong Arsenal lineup to face his own team, though that experienced lineup will most likely only be on the pitch for around 45 minutes. Haladas also confirmed that all eleven thousand tickets have been sold.
Former Haladas youth player, Halmosi Péter, was transferred to Premier League side Hull City last Friday.
With Halaldas being promoted to the top league in Hungary, they splashed out some cash to sign former Hungarian national team forward, Krisztian Kenesei. He has a great scoring record throughout his journeyman career and hopefully will be a star player for them that will keep them in the Nemzeti Bajnokság I. He scored two goals in Szombathelyi`s last game against Ajka, in a 2-1 win.
Cesc Fabregas will not play in this game because he is not yet at the training camp. He has been given a little more time off than the rest of the players because of his involvement in Spain`s Euro success. Besides Fabregas, more long-term absentees Eduardo and Rosicky will not take part, but other than that most of the first team is expected to play.
Last season both Eduardo and Bakari Sagna made their Arsenal debut in our second pre-season game, so I expect Nasri to come on and get some match practice. Much will be expected of Nasri because Arsene rarely spends the big mula, but he must of saw something extraordinary in this twenty one year old and was convinced that all the money was worth it.
I have watched Nasri pretty regularly for the past two years at Marseille and I believe he will be fit into this team perfectly. Hleb was a good player for us, but he has been replaced by someone, who, in my opinion, will certainly score goals from midfield for Arsenal.
I see Arsenal winning this one pretty comfortably. My prediction is four or five goals to one.
Date:Monday July 21 2008
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