Arsene Wenger says that the weather conditions on the pre-season tour of Australia and China are not ideal for his team, but says the time away is a positive for the squad as they get to bond ahead of the new campaign.
The Gunners had two wins in Australia, and earlier today beat Bayern Munich in a penalty shoot-out after Alex Iwobi’s injury time equaliser saw the game finish 1-1 (watch the goal and penalties here).
A number of the players have been suffering from what the manager believes is food poisoning, with Per Mertesacker having to pull out pre-game and Sead Kolasinac removed before half-time.
All in all it’s been challenging, but Wenger was keen to find positives in there too.
“It was a bit of a shock coming here from Australia, where we were freezing at times!,” he said.
“We worked very hard on Monday and Tuesday, so I was a bit scared that tonight could have big problems.
“If you ask me is it ideal physically to prepare, certainly not. But it does have other advantages because we can meet fans all over the world so that is a positive.
“The bonding in the team is easier as well because we live together for two weeks, so on that front it can be very positive.
“But the real answer will be given by the way we start in the Premier League.”
You also have to take into account the travel, long-distance flights, on top of the diverse weather, and it’s hard to make a case that this is the best way to prepare for a season – even if all the big teams do it these days.
The Gunners return to England on Sunday following the game against Chelsea on Saturday and will have a week to train at home before the Emirates Cup the following weekend.