After the French leave of last summer, hurray, the Emirates Cup is back. Arsenal have announced the date for their usual pre-season tournament, the Emirates Cup. Last summer, it was shelved but it seems the competition is back and better with the calibre of teams on parade. This time around, Arsenal decided to ditch the La Liga
and Ligue 1 and go to the Serie A, Turkish league and Portuguese Liga by inviting Napoli, Galatasaray and FC Porto.
The Emirates Cup is usually used as the final preparation for the season by Arsenal and with the calibre of oppositions, I am in no doubt that they will provide stern tests for Arsenal and help put the Gunners in proper shape ahead of the new season. Let’s have a look at what the teams stand to offer us.
The Italian side seem the hottest team in the Serie A behind only Juventus. They look set to finish in the 2nd spot and make it to next season’s Champions league. They have some good players in their squad and would certainly give Arsenal a run for their money. Arsenal’s defence will be severely tested with threats from Cavani,
inler, Lamela, Pandev and Hamsik.
The Turkish side are also not a push-over. They made it to the quarter-final of this season’s Champions League where they lost to Real madrid and they boast of quality players like Sneijder, Drogba, Yilmaz and Arsenal old boy Eboue. This is one match that would help Arsenal. Playing against Drogba would show whether or not Arsenal have learnt a thing or two about handling a powerful and big striker. With the imminent return of Mourinho to the Premier league, Arsenal’s defence must get their tactics about handling long balls and towering strikers right. A leopard cannot change its’ spots, likewise, I don’t expect Mourinho to ditch is rugby like football style. He might just employ Lukaku as his new Drogba. If Arsenal’s center backs can handle the real Drogba well albeit he is older now, they will be in good stead against his younger clone.
Also, the visit of Galatasaray will avail Wenger the opportunity to assess first hand the abilities of highly rated Gala striker Burak Yilmaz. He has been previously linked with Arsenal and Liverpool in the past but nothing has come out of it but who knows, this might be the perfect opportunity to weigh him up and seal the deal.
To say Porto is a good side will be an understatement. They are a regular presence in the Champions league and are current champions of the Portuguese league after pipping Benfica to it. Certainly, they will add gloss to the competition and will also give Wenger the opportunity to run the rule over two of their brightest
talents; Jackson martinez (striker) and James Rodriguez (winger). Who knows Wenger might just splash out on one of them.
While there presence will be providing good football artistry, the presence of two of the teams could amount to security risk for Arsenal and Porto fans. Napoli and Galatasaray are two teams with hotheaded fans. Just recently, a fan of Galatasaray was stabbed while fans of the Italian side are known to be violent. There invitation to the competition could cause some violent skirmishes. If Arsenal are insistent on the invitation owing to the quality of football they play and how it will in turn aid our preparations for the new season, I just hope Arsenal provide adequate security that will match their violence should it erupt.