It might just have been a case of Arsenal accepting the chance of a bit more pre-season preparation, but usually the line up of games before the season begins is sorted well in advance. This summer feels a bit different to me, as it was only a few days ago that Arsenal.com announced that the Gunners have added a match with the French club Lens which is to be played before the Arsenal squad fly off to America for the games that were already scheduled.
I get the distinct impression that Arsene Wenger is well aware that this summer´s pre-season could be the biggest ever and so the Frenchman is doing everything in his power to make sure that his players are ready for the Premier League opener against Liverpool on August 14th.
The reasons for this are twofold. First of all there is the fact that the two summer tournaments of Euro 2016 and the Copa America could mean that Arsenal will have to start without the five key players Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud. The second is that the fixtures have given us a difficult start, with the current EPL champions Leicester City next up after Jurgen Klopp´s team.
And with the competition for the title looking strong this year with Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho taking over at Man City and Man United while Chelsea are sure to be a threat again under Antonio Conte, Arsenal cannot afford to get off to a poor start and be having to play catch up from the very beginning. So Wenger needs the players that will be available to him to be as ready as possible.
Can Wenger and the available Arsenal squad have a strong pre-season and get the Gunners off to a good start?