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October 2016
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Singapore v Arsenal: The first Untold Match Preview of the new season. Yipeeee.

By Bulldog Drummond

It seems like only two months ago that I was writing the preview of the Cup Final [it was only two months ago, stop mucking about – Tony] but here we are again, off on another jolly adventure and we haven’t even had the summer yet, just drizzle, drizzle, drizzle and a couple of days of sunshine.  It’s a tough life in southern England.

Anyway, we are now the top FA Cup winning team of all time and Arsène Wenger is the top FA Cup manager of this and the last century.  Plus we could cause a sensation this year by winning the FA Cup for the third time running for the first time since the Bronze Age.   So we’re on a bit of a high.

As normal the boss says he will give Arsenal’s youngsters a chance to impress him on tour and a bunch of under 21 players whose names have been on the possibles list for a year or so are all out there, ready to do their thing.

That includes Chuba Akpom, Dan Crowley, Alex Iwobi, Chris Willock and Gedion Zelalem.  Also in the squad is the recently signed Jeff Reine-Adelaide from France and Bielik who we signed part way through last season.  He was given a first team squad number, but we never saw him.

As Arsène Wenger said, “It’s a good opportunity for me to give a chance to players who are on the fringe of the team and to see how close they are to contributing. That can influence my decisions before the transfer market is over.”

“Usually what you face in Asia is very mobile teams, very quick teams and teams that are very disciplined so expect that kind of team on Wednesday. We have had some difficult experiences in Asia and because we are in the preparation as well you expect to suffer a little bit tomorrow.”

And so we are off.  Today we play Singapore XI and then the winner plays Everton or Stoke Rugby.  Kick off is 8.30pm local time, 1.30BST in England, 2.30 in Belgium (I put that in for Walter, just to help him get back into the swing of things.)

As for TV coverage it seems to be on SkySports 1 , NBC Sports Live Extra and NBC Universo.

Here’s the complete squad…

Chuba Akpom, Mikel Arteta, HectorBellerin, Santi Cazorla, Petr Cech, Calum Chambers, Francis Coquelin, Dan Crowley, Mathieu Debuchy, Mathieu Flamini, Gabriel, KieranGibbs, Olivier Giroud, Alex Iwobi, Laurent Koscielny, Emiliano Martinez, Per Mertesacker, Nacho Monreal, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, MesutOzil, Aaron Ramsey, Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Wojciech Szczesny, TheoWalcott, Chris Willock, Jack Wilshere, Gedion Zelalem

Alexis and Ooooooooooooospina are on holiday, Welbeck and Rosicky are injured.

Predicting a team at this point is difficult to the point of impopssible, but here’s one option for players who might get part of a game, but be supplemented at other times by youngsters.



Bellerin, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Monreal

Coquelin, Cazorla

Ramsey, OzilOxlade-Chamberlain


I’ve gone for that with Giroud stepping in as a sub, because the boss wants to see more of Walcott playing up front, especially in terms of how he can function without Alexis to swap with – so it is an experimental position.  But don’t blame me if I’ve got this 90% wrong.

I would also not be surprised if we might see Zelalem get a leading role in one of the two games, rather than a 20 minute cameo near the end, just to see if he really can step up onto the big stage.

The Singapore Select XI’s coach V Sundramoorthy has said his side will not park the bus against Arsenal.

He said in the press conference that his players use matches against Premier League opposition more as a learning experience that could help them personally and help develop football in Singapore rather than in a desperate attempt to stop Arsenal scoring.

Besides given the number of excited fans who turned up at the open training day, such a negative approach could prove very counter-productive in PR terms.   So they will try and be positive.   Goodness knows what they will do when they come up against Stoke, if that is how the results shake out.

“We’re going to go out there and play entertaining football, but to be clever, and not give them time and space on the ball,” the coach added.

“The boys, tactically, must be ready to counter whatever dangers Arsenal is going to pose to us. We have gone through the drills in practice training and they are aware of how we are going to approach the game.

“The morale in the camp is great, they’re looking forward to having a good tournament and playing against great players. They don’t need any more motivation.

“I hope the fans will come and support us. This means a lot, especially with a filled stadium, it will help Singapore football rise to the next level,” he said.

What’s more several players will be hoping that scouts from Japan, Korea and Australia might well spot them in this game.

So, undoubtedly not my best prediction of the season to come, but I’ve had bash.  If you know who is going to play, let me know!  As for the score, I wouldn’t dare guess.


The complete pre-season review

Anniversary of the day

  • 15 July 2002: Arsène Wenger became a member of Legion d’Honneur.  The Order was established by Napoleon Bonaparte on 19 May 1802 and is the highest decoration in France.

16 comments to Singapore v Arsenal: The first Untold Match Preview of the new season. Yipeeee.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    It could just as easily be a totally different team in the other half of the match. In my opinion still not a bad team, inexperienced in the advanced midfield/support strikers roles but eight players who would be starters in most teams.
    Debuchy, Chambers, Gabriel, Gibbs
    Arteta, Wilshere
    Crowley, Zelalem/Adelaide, Akpom

  • Menace

    Looking forward to seeing Arsenal play – whole tournament being broadcast live on Star Sports HD4 in India, The Stoke v Everton game is a bit tame but I’m hoping Everton win (bias to protect Arsenal players from broken legs).

  • nicky

    One more game after this one today and the main objective in my book is to avoid serious injury to ANY of our players.
    For PR purposes we have to visit the Far East but from a pre-season playing preparation point of view, these trips are a distraction and a nuisance.
    Players pick up broken skin injuries which do not heal easily in the climate, while stomach upsets are virtually certain.
    With the Emirates Cup starting on the 25th there will only be a week to recover and train for our first game v Lyonnais. 😉

  • Tony Attwood

    Daily Telegraph doing a real about face here

    “Arsenal fans might not like it – but Arsene Wenger is right about not needing more signings.”

    “There is already enough talent and depth at the Emirates to challenge for the title – it is tactics and self-confidence which will determine whether they win it”

  • Menace

    nicky – it was in the time when boat travel was prominant that stomach bugs etc. were a problem. In todays teams most players are used to Asian fare & only some water can affect their stomachs. Mineral or bottled water overcomes that issue. The critical issues are the brute physical tackles that PGMO allow freely against Arsenal players. Hopefully that kind of thing will not occur here as teams are trying to showcase skill.

    The Everton victory on penalties was deserved as they missed some good opportunities. Officiating was reasonable, & where PGMO would probably have given penalties, here the official correctly allowed play to flow.

    Now for the Arsenal opener. Hopefully better finishing and good open football.

  • Tom

    It’s pretty much what I posted yesterday.
    So it’s true , The Telegraph are reading your blog 🙂

  • Menace

    Starting for Arsenal
    Debuchy, ?? ,Gabriel, Monreal,
    Flamini , Coquelin,
    Wilshere, Ox, Iwobi?,

  • nicky

    Of course things have improved since my day, although cuts and grazes do not heal well, untreated, in the Far East.
    And Ghandi’s revenge is still about, however careful one can be.

  • Menace

    Debuchy, Mert, Gabriel, Monreal

  • Tony Attwood

    Everton beat Stoke on penalties so we need to win to avoid playing Rugby in the second match

  • Tony Attwood

    Crowley, Toral, Schscszschs, Bellerin, Zelalem and Willock on the beach in hot weather.

  • Tony Attwood

    I’m sitting at work, occasionally skipping over to the Guardian’s updates and this just popped up

    Wilshere skips over a challenge (that surely would have broken his leg had it connected) and feeds the overlapping Monreal who drives a first-time cross into the box

    A worrying game for all of us then.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Aha…Akpom scores

  • WalterBroeckx

    There is a life match report on Untold as a special service to our readers

  • Walter’s live match commentary is on

    Sorry Walter, I’m trying to ensure my colleagues don’t see that I am not actually working, and forgot to direct everyone over to you.

  • Jambug

    Luckily off work today so have the pleasure of watching today.

    The Singapore xi are full of enthusiasm and a bit of pace so it’s like playing against a swarm of bees, but there is very little quality.

    When we have the ball, which is often, we look pretty assured, but understandably haven’t got the ‘clinical’ touch when we need it. That will come.

    The goal was a breakaway with Wilshere just being denied with a last ditch tackle, but it broke kindly for Akpom who drilled it in low and hard from just inside the box.

    The tackle on Wlshere was very late and could of been nasty had Wilshere not seen it coming and hurdled it brilliantly.

    But as we all know, had he been caught it would of only been his own fault for being on the pitch :wink:.

    Looking forward to the 2nd half.


    Szcz for Martinez looks like the only change.