Arsenal To Play Manchester City In A Preseason Friendly That Could Lead To Club VS Country Clash

Arsenal-teamArsenal has confirmed their pre-season will end with a friendly against Manchester City in Helsinki on August 10. Just 10 days before the start of the 2013/14 Premier League season.

The Gunners start their pre-season halfway through July in Indonesia where they will face an Indonesian XI, three days before they travel to Vietnam to face the national team.

Their tour of Asia, Vietnam and Japan ends with a game against Urawa Red Diamonds but not before Arsenal play Nagoya Grampus Eight, the team they signed Arsene Wenger from in 1996.

After a week’s break, Arsenal play host to the Emirates tournament welcoming Napoli, Galatasaray and FC Porto, however they do not play the Portuguese champions. The friendly against Manchester City then ends a busy pre-season schedule.

The blue half of Manchester half a grueling summer themselves with a tour of South Africa, Hong Kong and Germany before the journey to Finland to face their Premier League rivals.

Arranging the friendly seems odd considering the league season starts so soon after it and it is a decision that will annoy international management with a rift between club and country very possible.

City and Arsenal will want all their players at their disposal to try any last experiments before the new season kicks off but the first internationals of the season are played at the same time and FIFA laws state clubs have to let their players leave for international duty if they are picked unless injured or the player turns down his country’s call.

Roy Hodgson, manger of England, could have a big say on who plays in the friendly with many regulars part of both squads. If fit, Jack Wilshere will be selected for England’s game against rivals Scotland with the midfielder being injured for the majority of internationals but putting in a man of the match display when he featured against Brazil in the Spring. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who scored in a different game against Brazil would also be in contention along with Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson.

England number one Joe Hart could also be called up with James Milner, Joleon Lescott, Gareth Barry, Jack Rodwell and Micah Richards. The game is four days after the friendly so players could play in both fixtures but with only four days rest after pre-season, plus a long-haul flight back to England with only a few days before the league starts again, it’s highly unlikely.

The friendly could feature many of the academy players from both clubs with many of the first team players full internationals and they would be expected to be on international duty, however that doesn’t make the friendly useless. It would see who has the best squad depth and could also mark out where improvements need to be made in the remaining three weeks of the transfer window.

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