Arsenal Tour 2016/17 fixtures: List of pre-season friendlies the Gunners play before EPL
After a Premier League season that saw the remarkable rise of Leicester City from relegation battlers to English champions, Arsenal will be looking to put their shortcomings behind and mount a serious title challenge this year. Last season was arguably the best chance to win the league for the North London side, but they never really threatened the Foxes for that long waited trophy.
One thing the fans will take is that they finished above rivals Tottenham Hotspur yet again in second with Mauricio Pochettino's side failing to take advantage of their opponents' situation. But, most thought the perfect opportunity for Wenger's side to bask in Premier League glory and several supporters decided to show their feelings towards the club's board and their patience in their manager with #WengerOut being put out in several cardboards. There were no planes used though.
Things were not really in their favor in Europe either. The Round of 16 draw pitted them against Spanish champions Barcelona and Arsenal failed to win both of the legs getting knocked out 5-1 on aggregate.
Their FA Cup defense did not end well for them with Watford handing them the exit ticket in a shock 2-1 victory at The Emirates. A third consecutive FA Cup would have seen them get further away from Manchester United in the cup's record books but the latter would go on to become the eventual winners.
The arrival of Granit Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach has certainly uplifted the supporters of the club after the player proved to be key for Switzerland in their Euro 2016 campaign before getting knocked out by Poland in the Round of 16. It really is a statement of intent by their manager Arsene Wenger, getting business done early as he prepares for his 21st season in charge of the Gunners.
Their Premier League opener this year is one for the neutrals with Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool visiting The Emirates in what could be a cracker of a match. This fixture last season failed to yield any goals and both teams shared the spoils, but the match at Anfield was totally the opposite.
There were six goals scored in a 3-3 draw after Joe Allen scored the equaliser in the 90th minute which showed every bit of what the league is all about. This opening day fixture would set the pace for both this season and a win is sure to give a huge boost to either side.
But before it all unfolds, their pre-season fixtures see them visiting France for a match against RC Lens on 22nd July before they fly out to the United States their tour where they will face MLS All-Stars and Club Deportivo Guadalajara on 28th and 31st July respectively. They will then play Viking in Norway on the 5th of August and finish their pre-season, entertaining domestic rivals Manchester City two days later on 7th August in Sweden in their first match against Pep Guardiola as City's manager.
This means there won't be an Emirates Cup this year after it was announced that the pre-season tournament would not be taking place due to Euro 2016 and extensive pitch renovation works. The team will not be taking part in this year's International Champions Cup, a tournament which has gained massive popularity over recent years.
The manager will be looking forward to getting the best out of Xhaka and how he will set the team up remains to be seen with further signings targeted by the Frenchman and pre-season is the perfect place for everyone to settle into the side. “Pre-season is a critically important time for us and we are delighted to be going to San Jose and Los Angeles to participate in the 2016 MLS All-Star game and to play Chivas. We have tremendous support across America and enjoyed our visit to New York in the summer of 2014 when we played the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. We look forward to giving our US fans the chance to see the team play live", Arsene Wenger stated.
The latest edition of England's top flight is looking more intense than ever with Antonio Conte and Pep Guardiola coming into the equation and Arsenal will be hoping they can match the quality of their rivals with the experience they have in the league's longest serving manager as the question whether this side can be victorious in the battleground of the best looms large.
Arsenal’s 2016-17 pre-season fixtures
|22 July||RC Lens||Stade Bollaert-Delelis||France|
|28 July||MLS All-Stars||Avaya Stadium||United States|
|31 July||Guadalajara||StubHub Center||United States|
|5 August||Viking||Viking Stadion||Norway|
|7 August||Manchester City||Ullevi Stadium||Sweden|