There has been plenty of focus on Arsenal’s preparation for the season under new coach Unai Emery. Arsenal Media have been granted greater access to film sessions than under previous manager Arsene Wenger. The players are also undergoing two training sessions per day, which has been hailed as a new development.
But not if you ask Legendary Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman. The Yorkshireman, who played for the club from 1990 – 2003, insists that double sessions were a feature of life for him during at Colney. “Pre-season was always double sessions, that was quite normal,” Seaman told Arseblog News on the patch of grass he used to command with such authority at Highbury.
“With George there was a lot of long distance running involved, we used to go over to Trent Park and run up the hills there. With Arsene it was different, runs were timed and there was a lot more sprinting and body and core work. I’m sure Emery is more similar to Arsene than George.
“You look at players nowadays and they are all super fit, so whatever they’re doing now works. It’s the coaching side I’m more interested in, how is he going to get us to play, if he is going to make massive changes. I don’t think he’ll make wholesale changes because he doesn’t need to, he’ll just put his own stamp on things and hopefully it will be in a positive way.”
French duo Robert Pires and Jeremie Aliadiere say double sessions were routine during pre-season under Wenger, “It’s definitely normal”, nods Pires. “I’ve met the new manager, he loves to work. When you’ve rested for a month you need direction, the body is very important. Double sessions are normal.” Aliaidere agrees, “They set you up for the season. You have a good preparation for six weeks, obviously it’s hard, but when you get to the season you feel prepared, you feel fresh. Everybody goes through that.”
Long distance travel has also become a feature of pre-season for the modern Arsenal player, with the squad flying to Singapore next week. Fellow Gunners legend Robert Pires insists this is not an issue, “It’s the modern game. Football is a business. Arsenal is a big club and a big brand, if they have a possibility to go to America or somewhere [they should take it]…I know next week, they go to Singapore, it’s good for business.”
Ex-Arsenal striker Jeremie Aliadiere chips in, “To be honest, all the teams do it these days. It’s not like you’re the only team and then you can complain that the team travelled too much. All the teams go to America, Asia or Australia. It’s part of the modern game.” Pires also insists that a busy fixture schedule is not a problem- quite the opposite.
“I liked it when I played every three or four days. You find a tempo or rhythm and you can play every four days. Normally, you’re still young and you’re ready for this. The most important thing is that you’re ready in your mind, then the body…it can follow. The question is, are you ready? If you’re ready in your mind, you can play all the games, you can travel always.”
Jeremie, Robert and David will be playing for the Arsenal Legends when they take on their Real Madrid counterparts at the Emirates on 8 September. All proceeds from the match will help The Arsenal Foundation and Save The Children provide specially-devised coaching programmes to help build the physical and mental resilience of vulnerable children in the slum communities of Indonesia and Syrian refugee children in Jordan.
Tickets for the Legends showdown are still available and available from £20 and you can Book tickets here.