Arsene Wenger is expecting a tough battle against a “focused and prepared” Everton side in the Barclays Asia Trophy final.
Arsenal secured their place with a comprehensive 4-0 win against a Singapore Select XI at Singapore National Stadium on Wednesday.
The Gunners face Everton on Saturday after Roberto Martinez’s side beat Stoke City 5-4 on penalties, and Wenger is expecting a much closer contest.
"Everton came out of a season where they did less well than the season before and they certainly want to start strong. They look focused and prepared"
“I must say that I’m surprised by the number of fans and overall the Asia Trophy is a good surprise for us because it was on a good pitch, good training facilities and the quality of the games has been surprisingly good at this stage of the season,” the manager said.
“The first half was very, very competitive between Stoke and Everton. The challenges were Premier League challenges and I expect that from Everton. They came out of a season where they did less well than the season before and they certainly want to start strong. They look focused and prepared.”
Saturday’s fixture will be Arsenal’s final game in Singapore and Wenger says the country has left a lasting impression on him.
“I’m quite surprised by the development of football and how important it has become all over the world,” he said. “I started to play where you had to hide to celebrate that you were a football player and today it’s become more popular all over the world.”
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