Emirates Cup 2017

'We have more players ready this season'

We have travelled to Sydney, Shanghai, Beijing and Emirates Stadium but our toughest pre-season test will undoubtedly come against Chelsea next weekend.

Antonio Conte’s side beat us 3-0 in China but have since lost back-to-back games against Bayern Munich and Inter Milan going into Sunday’s Community Shield clash.

We ended our preparations for the weekend’s game with a 2-1 defeat against Sevilla, but Arsène Wenger has given a positive update on how our squad is shaping up for the new season.

on whether it was a worry Arsenal were a bit flat against Sevilla…
No not really because today I played the team who came in a bit later. They have less preparation and we work very hard and it was a bit, you cannot say it was not planned, but it was explainable.

on whether Arsenal are prepared for the new season…
I am sure that we will have done the needed work, last year we went into the season with some players having a deficit in minutes played because there were only two or three players with the number of games after the European Championship. I think we have more players ready going into the competition. We have tougher games as well, we should be ready yes.

on whether it’s worth changing preparations… 
We had a very good record, as long as we didn’t travel. We always won our first games and since we travelled we have struggled a little bit more, but we are on the same line there as any of the other teams. Everybody travels and in fact, when you look at the international games in Asia or in the States the big teams play against each other, because only the smaller clubs have the luxury to prepare at home, but everybody else travels.

on whether he thinks far-flung pre-season tours are ‘a necessary evil’…
I would say that’s part of the modern game and we have to adapt physically to it. I must say we travel in good conditions.

on why he doesn’t refuse to do the tours…
Because I am sensible and because I respect as well where we signed big contracts with the sponsors. I think as well that it’s normal that we adapt. This should not be looked at as an excuse for any bad result. I’m just saying that it’s a bit different for us because we have two tours like everybody else. We have no disadvantage because Liverpool, Chelsea, Man United, everybody does it. So we are on even ground with everybody.

on whether Lacazette was injured…
No, he was okay. I did take him off, but it was not because he was injured.

on why Elneny played at centre back… 
No, I wanted to give him competition as well. I have many midfielders, but overall I don’t think in the future he will be a centre-back. 

on Lacazette’s performance…
When he was involved, he was intelligent, he protected the ball well and he got his goal and I think it was an encouraging performance. He suffered a bit from the fact that we were a bit flat and that we were not dominating enough to get their service, but I think for him he was one of the few who had a positive game today.

on whether Lacazette needs time to settle…
I don’t know, it’s very difficult, because sometimes it takes a few months, sometimes very little time. The only thing I must say with Lacazette, week after week he looks to adapt quickly but overall I think it will take him one or two months.

on Lacazette scoring despite having a quiet game…
That’s it, yes. He is in the right place. To score goals is to be in the right place when the cross comes in and he has that quality.