Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Arsenal confirm Dubai friendlies as Arteta preps for tight turnaround

Arsenal will face Lyon and AC Milan in Dubai as part of the Dubai Super Cup in December.

The round-robin tournament – organised to help the clubs’ players stay fit during the World Cup break – will also feature Liverpool although the Gunners won’t face Jurgen Klopp’s side.

The Gunners have long planned to use the mid-season break for a warm-weather training camp and it’s little surprise that our sponsors have jumped at the opportunity to get involved. Both Lyon and AC Milan also partner with Emirates Airlines.

In total there will be four matches played at the 15,000-capacity Al Maktoum Stadium, with each team playing two throughout the tournament.

After each match, a penalty shootout will also take place for additional points to be gained – three points will be awarded to the match winner, two points for a draw and whoever wins the shootout will grab a point.

Arsenal will have 10 senior players at Qatar 2022 so the initial squad is likely to feature several academy kids. However, by the time the matches take place (8 December vs Lyon) and (13 December vs AC Milan), it’s possible players knocked out at the group stages of the World Cup will be integrated into Arsenal’s schedule.

The club has also confirmed that a further friendly will be played at Emirates Stadium before Mikel Arteta’s side face West Ham United on Boxing Day. Details of that will be confirmed shortly.

On his side’s trip to Dubai, the boss said: “We’ve got a pre-season. Not a full pre-season but a really good three weeks of preparation where we want to get the team ready.

“We want to get the team ready in different phases as we’re going to have certain players at the start and some players in the middle of it and certain players at the end, in relation to what happens at the World Cup.

“We need a good preparation, mentally and physically to be ready for the huge demands that the second part of the season will bring to the team.

“Obviously, it’s an easy trip. One of our biggest sponsors that we have, Emirates, is part of it. We’ve been there, we know the facilities, it’s a really good environment to work, the weather is spectacular and then World Cup is so close to it, so any player that is around there, it’s so easy to get them back straight away. It ticks all the boxes that we need.”

He also touched on how he plans to reintegrate those players who are away with their country.

“Every player and every schedule is different,” he said. “We’ll have to assess, who it is, how many games they’ve played, how many days off they had in the last few months and treat it like this. Certainly, there is a plan in place for every player and then we’ll have to decide what to do.

“It’s not really different to any summer when you have European competitions or a World Cup in the summer, you start the pre-season and there are six, seven, sometimes 10 players not participating because they played competitions with the national team.

“Here, it’s going to be the same, the thing is that the turnaround after the World Cup to the first game, which is a competitive game, is really, really short.”

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Stay fit bruh, stay away from injury. West Gam awaits…..


West Gam?

Houston Gunner

Yeah. You’ve heard of them… They play at the old Olympig stadium?

A Different George

Haven’t watched them since they left the Bowling Grounds, sometimes called Uptown Park.


Hope Smith Rowe comes in fast and absolutely crushes it when the season resumes. Hope to wrap up the title by Feb-end or mid-March max

Boy Bastin

I hope you’re right about wrapping up the title. I suspect it will very probably be decided later rather than sooner in the remaining part of the season though. Much will depend upon what Edu can do (if anything) in the January window and, of course, whether any of our key players in the World Cup pick up injuries.


Optimism is positive but you are getting a little ahead of yourself mate. A lot of matches left

Boy Bastin

Hopefully they will be played in a “friendly” spirit so that there are no injuries!


I wonder whether they tried to make them a bit more of an exhibition match it’d help. I’d never attend a friendly at the Emirates (appreciate people who go generally less regularly may do but still), but if they did something absurd like outside the box goals counting double or one touch only before shooting or nutmegs counting as goals I’d be tempted. Let the players have a bit of fun and introduce some playground rules- it’s not like friendlies mean anything anyway. Would also hopefully stop the heavy tackles you sometimes see in friendlies (Loftus-Cheek on Partey in pre-season… Read more »


Sounds as if the club is on top of everything, hopefully the games will be shown on TV.


Really hope its on TV. I decided to boycott the WC (it was mostly the dead slave labourers I couldn’t handle).
Now I’m on football cold turkey, until after Christmas.

Spanish Gooner

Get yourself down to non-league!


Good idea S.G.. The mighty Dulwich Hamlets are only a couple of miles from me.

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