Arsenal’s pre-season preparations have officially begun with Mikel Arteta and his assistants welcoming the first wave of senior players back to London Colney.
While the majority of the squad – those who’ve been on international duty since the final game of the last campaign – aren’t expected back until early next week, there were still plenty of familiar faces taking part in the first session.
Ben White, Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith Rowe, Cedric, Rob Holding, Sambi Lokonga, Nicolas Pepe and Thomas Partey – back from the injury that ruled him out of the final weeks of the 21/22 campaign – were all involved.
Several players who spent last season out on loan were also welcomed back into the fold including Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Hector Bellerin, Reiss Nelson, Pablo Mari and Folarin Balogun.
Making up the numbers were several academy prospects, including a bulked-up Charlie Patino. He along with Miguel Azeez, Salah-Eddine Oulad M’Hand, Omari Hutchinson, Zach Awe and Marcelo Flores will be hoping they get to be involved with upcoming training camps in Germany and the USA.
As far as we can tell, none of the new boys – Marquinhos, Fabio Vieira or Matt Turner – were there, but we expect they will be next week.
Amazingly, it’s only nine days until our first friendly with Nurnberg after which the boys will decamp Stateside for further matches with Everton, Orlando City and Chelsea.
An Emirates Cup showdown with Sevilla will round things off and before you know it we’ll be 2-0 down to Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace in the season opener on 5 August.
For pictures of the lads in action, head to the official website.