Arsenal are in Japan right now and tomorrow they take on Arsene Wenger’s former club Nagoya Grampus as part of their Asia Tour.
So far, the Asia Tour has been very comfortable for Arsenal. With plenty of love for the players and manager from the Asian fans and Arsenal winning scoring 7 against both Indonesia and Vietnam, the Gunners will be facing better opposition in Japan. First up are Nagoya Grampus at Toyota Stadium tomorrow morning (11:30am UK time) before they face Urawa Red Diamonds at Saitama Stadium on Friday, with kick off being the same time. Both games will be aired live on ESPN for UK fans with the opportunity to watch the game ‘as live’ straight after the final whistle on Arsenal Player.
The visit to Nagoya will be an emotional one for Arsene Wenger, who managed Nagoya Grampus in the mid 1990’s, before becoming Arsenal manager in 1996. Wenger will be up against a former player of his as Dragan Stojkovic, who played under Wenger for two years in Japan, is currently manager of Nagoya Grampus. The two have a mutual respect for each other and Wenger has even tipped him to be his successor at Arsenal whenever he leaves.
I’m sure Nagoya will prove to be tougher opponents than the first two of on the tour, but that’s what pre-season should be. Ease you in before you slowly play better teams. After the conclusion of the Asia Tour, the Gunners will face both Napoli and Galatasaray in the Emirates Cup before playing Manchester City in Helsinki a week before the Premier League season begins. I think in terms of preparation, it’s not a bad pre-season at all, with the opposition they face. I just hope they’re not worn out from all this travelling, as they’ve been clocking up the air miles this summer!.