Arsenal get their pre-season friendlies underway tomorrow with the traditional curtain raiser at Underhill when they face Barnet.
Wenger will take a mixed squad of first team players and reserves. Saturday could see the return of Rosicky as well as a welcome return from injury for Eduardo and Gallas. Arshavin and Nasri are also in the squad as is new signing Thomas Vermaelen.
The one surprise is that Eduardo is the only recognised striker in the squad. Adebayor is still thinking about waht to do with his money, Vela is with Mexico whilst neither van Persie or Bendtner are included in the squad.
The match will be no real indicator as to where we are going this season, but there will be some clues. Last season we struggled against Barnet and showed that we were missing Fabregas, Rosicky and Hleb and this was the case during the season. I would like to see Nasri given a central midfield role in the absence of Fabregas.
The game can be seen live only on Arsenal TV Online and will not be screened on Arsenal TV (though I imagine the game will be shown later next week). Subscription to Arsenal TV Online costs £3.99 on a monthly basis or £45 for the year. Arsenal TV Online will televise Arsenal’s four pre-season friendlies, being the Barnet game, the two in Austria and the game against Hannover 96.
Arsenal has announced all their pre-season friendly games.
The curtain raiser is the trip to Underhill to face Barnet on 18 July. The squad then flies off to Austria for our traditional summer training camp. This could be the last Austrian training camp as the club is moving into the 21st Century and is contemplating a Far East or American tour for future years.
Whilst in Austria the team will play two friendlies against SC Columbia on 21 July, followed by a game against Szombathely Haladas on 27 July, whom we played last year. Again as with last year, the training camp is concluded with a friendly against German opposition, whilst last year it was VfB Stuttgart, this year it is Hannover 96 on 29 July.
Then it is back to England and the Emirates Cup where we will play Atletico Madrid and Rangers over the weekend 1 and 2 August.
Arsenal’s final pre-season game is on 8 August when we travel to Valencia for a friendly.
The club’s website states that the first four games can only be seen live on Arsenal TV Online. What does this mean for Arsenal TV? As of last night it was still on air, whilst the Setanta family of channels were all removed from the EPG. Arsenal TV and Liverpool TV were still broadcasting.
Arsenal as a top club needs a television channel, even if it is free to air.
Arsenal have announced a friendly on 29 July against Hannover 96. The game will take place in Hannover’s AWD Arena. Hannover are a mid table Bundesliga team.
Arsenal will get back to pre-season training on 6 July with our traditional curtain raiser against Barnet on 18 July. Arsenal have not yet announced any other friendlies, but traditionally we go to Austria and have two games against minor opposition, before stepping up the process.
There will be no participation in the Amsterdam tournament this season.
The pinnacle of our pre-season is the 2 day Emirates tournament. This will be held over the week-end of 1 and 2 August. The teams competing are Rangers, Paris Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid. Tickets have gone on sale for this and it will be a sell out with Rangers having been given 9,000 tickets.
The Emirates Cup will be live on Sky Sports, whilst the other Arsenal friendlies will be live on either Arsenal TV or Setanta Sports.
Arsenal will be announcing further fixtures in due course with the Premier League season starting on 15 August (fixtures come out 16 June 2009) and Arsenal’s Champions League qualifiers will take place on 17/18 August and 25/26 August the draw taking place 7 August..