By Walter Broeckx
The current PL season still has some 10 matches to go and a few Wembley outings hopefully but the first news about the season 2015-2016 has been made public today.
And so we see that Arsenal will play together with Everton, Stoke City and a Singapore Select XI team for the Barclays Asia Trophy Singapore in July 2015.
That is a knockout competition over two matchdays. A first match will be played on Wednesday July 15 and the finals will be played on Saturday July 18.
The winner of the first match will play in the final (of course but just in case BT Sports doesn’t understand the rules) and the loser of the first match will play in a match for place 3.
Matches will be played at the National Stadum in Singapore. A new stadium that has a capacity of 55.000 seats.
I am the last person who want to take anything away from our supporters in Singapore and wish them a few great days in watching our players in their home ground. I hope they will show up in numbers and have a few great days. I can imagine that there has been a big cheer amongst the Arsenal supporters club in Singapore in the last hours. And I wish them all the enjoyment they deserve.
This is all fine and well one could say but I do want to raise a few points on this.
First of all that these matches take place in July the 15th and 18th means that by then we will already be training. I know that the next PL season starts already on August 8, 2015 and that is because in 2016 we can “enjoy” another rubbish tournament from Uefa, Fifa, whatever, whoever. A tournament from an organisation that we don’t like to call our friends.
As a result this will mean that training will start earlier than the seasons before. But when I look at the international calendar for matches for that European championship in 2016 I notice that on June 13, 2015 there are matches going to be played by countries in order to qualify for that thing. So if Arsenal is going to Signapore to play there on July 15 we will start training probably one week before somewhere around July 6th. So for most of our players it will be again a rather short period between the two seasons.
Of course this goes for many players in the PL but why on earth can the international football authorities give players a good rest between seasons? It looks as if they are determined to make sure that they run a lot of players in the ground. Of course that is not their problem. Their only and biggest problem is: how can I earn more money at the expense of these players….and clubs. Because it is those clubs that will pay the cost for having their players injured in those qualifying matches and the actual tournaments.
So that is point one that I wanted to make. A point we have raised before and probably will for ever as long as Uefa and Fifa keep doing what they are doing.
Now on to the next point of my moan. I do have a serious question about one of the participants. Yes, you can guess which. Stoke.
Now how on earth can these people in Signapore think that Stoke will be a great team to invite to a tournament. If it would have been a rugby tournament…fine. But a football tournament? What do they expect from Stoke? To perform the art of choking players? The art of leg breaking tackles? The beauty of the long punt up field? The blood after another elbow has smashed a face? The know how of kicking other teams players to lumps? I really cannot understand anyone inviting Stoke for a football tournament.
And then I have a serious question to ask at Arsenal. Because did they know that they could be involved in a match against Stoke in pre season? My god, its bad enough to having to meet them twice in the season and risk your leg, neck, head and other body parts being exposed to the kicking, shoving and smashing. But to ad a third possible meeting between such a team and our players is not the wisest thing to do.
Of course I am not stupid and I know that there probably will be a lot of money involved for Arsenal and that the financial gain of this tournament will be big. But the risk of us meeting Stoke again does put a damper on my initial excitement of seeing the Arsenal back on the pitch in the new season.
But of course we could be lucky with the draw and maybe avoid meeting them in the next match. Otherwise if we do meet them we can only hope and pray that we get no serious injuries from meeting them.
So hoping and praying is what I will do. Not that we win that tournament as it means nothing really but hoping and praying that we don’t meet them and if we do meet them that we will come unhurt from that encounter.
I do would advice Arsenal to be more careful in picking their tournaments in the future. What’s wrong with a good practice match in Germany? Preferable close to the Belgium or Dutch border? Nothing really and the risk of being kicked to pieces is also rather small. My part of good advice to Arsenal. Not free from any self interest I do admit.
Tony at Arsenal.com Tony @Arsenal.com
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