League Two side Barnet have confirmed that they will not face Arsenal in the pair’s annual friendly match at Underhill.
Arsene Wenger’s side have regularly taken on their North London neighbours in a summertime showpiece friendly match as part of a deal which saw the Gunners afforded use of the minnow’s facilities for reserve and youth team matches.
Last season Arsenal’s reserve team increasingly played their matches at the club’s London Colney training ground and it appears that as a consequence the need to play a compensatory friendly match has been negated.
A statement on Barnet’s official website relayed the disappointing news about the cancelled fixture before revealing that Tony Adam’s Azerbaijani side Gabala have been lined up as an exotic replacement.
“The long running money-spinning pre-season friendly against Arsene Wenger’s talented Arsenal will not be staged this July, the club revealed today.
“The sell-out game against the Gunners was staged in recent years as a prelude to the season in return for the Premiership side playing all their reserve games at Underhill. The rules have now changed and they now only play appoximately four reserve games at the ground.
“The Bees have announced three Saturday afternoon games at Underhill in July:- 16th v new Championsdhip side Peterborough United; 23rd v a Tottenham Hotspur XI for the Lee Harrison testimonial fund; and 30th v League 1 Milton Keynes Dons.
“In addition, former Arsenal and England centre half Tony Adams will be at Underhill on Wednesday, July 20, as head coach with his Gabala team from the Azerbajan Premier League.”
Arsenal have so far announced matches against a Malaysia XI, Hangzhou Greentown and FC Cologne before the end of July Emirates Cup matches with Boca Juniors and New York Red Bulls.