Arsenal are planning just two pre-season friendlies on foreign turf next summer with time tight between the World Cup final on 13 July and the Emirates Cup on the first weekend of August.
Rumour has it that the Gunners will be travelling to the United States for a brace of games as part of a whistle-top tour, presumably of the East Coast, but having played four foreign fixtures prior to the 2011/12 and 2012/13 seasons and five in the build-up to the current campaign they have decided to stick to a conservative schedule for fear of player burnout.
A statement in the club’s Quarterley Report reads: “Our pre-season schedule and desire to take the team further afield is made more complicated this year by the staging of the World Cup.
“With the World Cup final happening on July 13th, it leaves little time for players to recover and prepare in time for the new season in August. That said, we are working hard to arrange an exciting programme of matches before the new season gets underway.
“We are planning to play two matches abroad in the build-up and the Emirates Cup will again be a key part of our pre-season preparations.”
Asked in October 2009 about the prospect of the Gunners touring the USA in the aftermath of the South Africa World Cup the boss was less than enthusiastic.
“No – it doesn’t prepare the players properly, it’s not possible to take players who are just back from World Cups or European Championships, and the Champions League qualifiers might be vital to the season.”
While it’s common knowledge that the boss prefers the players to start pre-season churning butter and milking cows in the fresh air of the Alpine foothills he’s had to soften his stance in view of the club’s commercial ambitions.
It’s possible, as has been the case in recent years, that the club might add a third foreign game in between the Emirates Cup and the start of the Premier League on 16 August although given we’re on for the Treble that could get squeezed out by our appearance in the Community Shield.
What with the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA World Club Cup on our agenda it’s going to be a friendly-tastic 2014/15…