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After 7 trophyless seasons Arsenal start again from scratch. Goal.com's Rishabh Ghai looks at the roster for Arsenal's pre-season friendlies.

It's seven straight trophyless for Arsenal as they failed yet again in their conquest to add some silverware. However yet another dismal campaign saw them finish third in the league campaign. With Robin Van Persie announcing his intent not to extend his contract with the Gunners, Arsene Wenger has a lot to ponder upon this summer.

Back to work from July 10th



The Arsenal team returned to practice on 10th July, 2012 at the London Colney. Steve Bould overlooked his first first-team training session as the assistant manager after the retirement of Pat Rice. 

Plenty of big names were on show as Arsenal grilled under the sun as part of the pre-season preparations. The players that took part in the European Championships were absent as they are given few more days rest.

Amongst the big names present were Thomas Vermaelen, Gervinho, Andre Santos and Mikel Arteta. The youngsters included Yennaris, and Kieran Gibbs. They also held another practice session on 11th July at the same place.

Pre-Season Friendlies



I
Arsenal v/s Southampton and Anderlecht
Date: 14th July, 2012

Venue: St. Mary’s Stadium, Southampton

Kick Off: 21:45 IST
18:45 BST
17:45 GMT





Arsenal kick off their pre-season campaign at Southampton’s St Mary Stadium where they will play Southampton and Anderlecht on 14th July. Three games of 45 minutes will be played in the round robin fashion in which the winner will be decided by the goal difference.

About the opposition-

Southampton have recently been promoted into the Premier League and would like to prove themselves at the top level. Adam Lallana has been an inspirational figure in the middle of the park for the Saints and would  be the man to watch out for.

Anderlecht are one of the most successful clubs in the Belgium league and won the league title last season. Lucas Biglia would be the man to watch out for in this clash as his penetrative passes will be difficult to handle. Moroever, he adds an extra cover to defence for the Belgian outfit.

 

II
 Malaysia XI v/s Arsenal
Date: 24th July, 2012

Venue: Bukit Jalil Stadium, Malaysia

Kick Off: 19:15 IST
14:45 BST
13:45 GMT

Arsenal start their second successive Asian tour when they take on the Malaysia XI at the Jalil Bukit National Stadium on 24th July, 2012. This wil be a one-off game where Arsenal would love to repeat their last year’s 4-0 drubbing of the same team.

About the opposition-

Malaysian XI is a team which represents the Malaysian League in friendly exhibition matches. It is formed of the top players plying their trade in the Malaysian League.

 

III
Arsenal v/s Manchester City
Date: 27th July, 2012

Venue: Bird Nest Stadium, Beijing

Kick Off: 17:30 IST
13:00 BST
12:00 GMT

Arsenal will test their resources against the Premier League champions as they will meet Manchester City in Beijing, China. This will be Arsenal’s toughest pre-season game and they would be relishing this opportunity highlight the improvement in their squad.

About the opposition-

Before 2011-12, Manchester City had last won the League title in the 1967-68 season. The Sky Blues have not added any more quality to their side but are linked with several of players including Arsenal skipper Robin Van Persie. The man to watch will be Sergio Aguero. He was the star for City last season and snatched the title from the hands of United courtsey of his last minute heroics. Aguero's first touch, finishing and runs make him one of the best strikers in the Premier League. Arsenal would have to be aware of the threat he possesses.

 

IV
Kitchee FC v/s Arsenal
Date: 29th July, 2012

Venue: Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong

Kick Off: 14:00 IST
10:00 BST
9:00 GMT

Arsenal travel to Hong Kong for their next pre-season friendly against Kitchee F.C. The match will be played in the Hong Kong Stadium on the 29th July, 2012. Arsenal would like to give their bench a chance to showcase their talent in what will be their penultimate match of the pre-season.

About the opposition

Kitchee FC has finished top of the Hong Kong First Division League twice in the last 2 years. Their fans would expect them to give the Gunners a good fight.

 

V
FC Cologne v/s Arsenal
Date: 12th August, 2012

Venue: Rhein Energie Stadion, Cologne

Kick Off: 20:30 IST
16:00 BST
15:00 GMT

A part of the Podolski deal, Arsenal will travel to Germany to play against Podolski’s former side FC Cologne. Podolski will bid an emotional farewell to Cologne and to the fans who have supported him throughout. The game will be played in the Rhein Energie Stadion, Cologne.

About the opposition

After a disappointing season, FC Cologne got relegated to the German second tier division. They have won the Bundesliga twice in the 1999-2000 and 2004-05 seasons and have finished as runner-up once too.

 


 Arsenal FC

Arsenal's Man to Watch - Olivier Giroud

Arsenal has recently acquired two signings in the form of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud. Many have witnessed the magic of Podolski but the fresh face for the Gunners’ fans would be of Giroud. Standing tall at 6 feet 4 inches, Giroud has all the makings of a complete number 9. The former Montpellier man had bagged 21 goals for his team last season and lead them to win the French League title. He would love to continue his goal scoring form at Arsenal. He has the ability to not only head the ball but also the finesse required to place the ball with his left foot.

 

What the Bench-warmers need to do...

Not only do the new signings will be looking to prove a point but also the benchwarmers from the last season would want to have their starting place back. Players like Gervinho and  Aaron Ramsey who failed to impress last season would like to set things right. Moreover Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would also like to add himself to the candidacy for the first team. A consistent performance is all that is required from the likes of Gervinho, Ramsey, Abou Diaby and also the youngsters Emmanuel Frimpong, Carl Jenkinson and Francis Coquelin to attract Wenger's attention.  

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