Wenger to select strong team for pre-season Manchester City 'battle'

The 62-year-old Frenchman admits the step up in class ahead of playing the current Premier League champions will provide a sterner test than what they have come up against so far
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has confessed that he is excited by the challenge of meeting Manchester City in their pre-season friendly on Friday.

The two sides will meet at the Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing and Wenger is hoping to build on the performance of his side's 2-1 win over a Malaysian XI on Tuesday against the Premier League champions, and is looking to give some of his first-team regulars a run out.

"It is a big game. The intensity will be high again and hopefully we can last an hour [playing at a high pace] - that is the target," Wenger told the club's official website.
18/1 Arsenal are 18/1 to beat Manchester City 2-0 in China with bet365

"We want to have a good battle with Manchester City. We played the young players in Malaysia, they will play again certainly - some a little part - on Friday night but for now, we are preparing for the season.

"The players who play in the Premier League will play on Friday night.

"I hope the weather will be good - I do not care too much about the players, but about the fans when they are in the stands. When it is raining, like it was in Hangzhou last year, you could feel that people suffered.

"It is an English game, in China, with passion. When Manchester City play Arsenal, there is always a lot of passion and we would like to share this passion with the supporters.

"Hopefully the pitch will be good, and the weather will be good for the fans."

Wenger believes these games, in an unfamiliar environment, can help shape the squad going into the new season, with the 62-year-old stating that he learns a lot about his players under such circumstances.

"[The tour] is a good opportunity for me to see how they behave on a daily basis. You can see how much they want to win in their attitude, how mentally they are prepared to win," he added.

"Overall I can learn about their potential in these games - how they cope with the pace, the pressure. That is very interesting for me."