SINGAPORE: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he will use the Barclays Asia Trophy in Singapore to regain confidence, and to give fringe players the chance to prove themselves against strong opposition.
Arsenal have brought a near full-strength side to Singapore including summer signing Petr Cech, who may line up in a Gunners strip for the first time since leaving Chelsea.
Wenger, and key defender Per Mertesacker, said the experienced, title-winning keeper had already made an impact in his short time at the club.
“From day one you felt his presence, he communicates well on and off the pitch,” Mertesacker said. “We are very happy with him and I think he has a good feeling as well about joining us and contributing to our team. We had already a strong structure but with him we feel we are much stronger.”
Per Mertesacker and Arsene Wenger (Photo: Jack Board)
The Gunners will take on a Singapore Select XI on Wednesday (Jul 15) before an all-Premier League clash against either Everton or Stoke City on Saturday, in a showcase tournament for the clubs’ Southeast Asian fan base.
Wenger admitted he did not know much about the local opponents but said his past experience in Asia would help the team’s preparations. “I don’t know anything about them up to now,” he said. “This team is focused. They know they’re playing Arsenal. You normally face in Asia, very mobile, and very disciplined teams.”
The Gunners be missing the attacking trio of Chilean superstar Alexis Sanchez, last-season recruit Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky. Sanchez will rest after winning the Copa America on home soil last month, while Welbeck is…