Sydney, July 11 (IANS) English Premier League (EPL) outfit Arsenal FC arrived here for the first time in over 40 years on Tuesday, as they prepare to face Australian club sides Sydney FC and the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Although Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted that he doesn’t know much about the local Australian teams, he said the ability to adapt quickly in a new environment with new players will be a good test for the former EPL champions and is an important part of the pre-season, reports Xinhua news agency.
“This is the time of year we prepare to make our success,” Wenger told Xinhua on Tuesday.
Wenger confirmed that Thursday night’s match against Sydney FC at ANZ Stadium, would be the first appearance in an Arsenal jersey for newly-signed center-forward Alexandre Lacazette.
Despite the omission of the London-based club’s top goal scorer last season, Alexis Sanchez and German international defender Shkodran Mustafi, who were granted extended rest periods after competing in the final of the Confederations Cup, Arsenal will field a star-studded line-up featuring the likes of Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Petr Cech.
When asked about Saturday night’s clash at ANZ Stadium, head coach of the Western Sydney Wanderers, Tony Popovic said, “we are honoured to play against someone as highly regarded as Arsenal Football Club and our fans are looking forward to it.”
After the two clashes here, the Arsenal squad will make their way to Shanghai to face German powerhouse Bayern Munich on July 19, before travelling to Beijing on July 22 where they will battle London rivals Chelsea.
“We know we have a lot of fans in Asia, and we look forward to discovering them,” Arsenal captain, Per Mertesacker said.