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The friendly games are up and running now and it won’t be long now till the new season begins.
This is a great chance for teams to test out their new signings and get their players back fit again. Usually huge clubs clash with each other in what should be a very interesting game to watch.
But usually the games can be bleak and boring due to reserves being played and the end result meaning nothing. New formations are tried out, players are being substituted all the time and most of the time managers name it as just a training session for the players.
People have tried to prevent this by hosting competitions with a trophy and prize money for the winning team, like the International Champions Cup, the Emirates Cup and the Audi Cup to make the games more interesting for the fans.
International Champions Cup
This year the organisers of the International Champions Cup have done well in attracting big clubs into the competition. Premier league team Tottenham as well as the Manchester rivals, United and City are both entered.
The two giants of La Liga, Barcelona and Real Madrid both made an appearance as well as Italian champions and Champions League finalists Juventus, PSG and Roma also entered.
The bookies still prefer the big clubs to win but really anyone can win in these games due to the big clubs liking to test out their youngsters. We saw this when Tottenham beat PSG 4-2 or when United were big underdogs against the European champions Real Madrid, but won on penalties against a very poor Real Madrid penalty shootout.
This has always been seen in the past, when Man United trashed Barcelona 3-1 two years ago, then went on to have a very poor season in the Premier League while Barcelona went on to win La Liga.
The same happened last year when United trashed Real Madrid 3-1, Madrid went on to win the Champions League that year. The big clubs will struggle.
Liverpool win a trophy in Asia
Liverpool have managed to win the Premier League Asia trophy in Hong Kong.
The competition only consisted of West Brom, Leicester City and Crystal Palace, not a very tough competition compared to the International Champions Cup and Liverpool were obviously favourites going into this competition.
Liverpool overcame Crystal Palace and Leicester to lift their first since 2012 when they lifted the League Cup. But does this count as a real trophy and will it be put in their long trophy cabinet list? Certainly not and this will soon be forgotten about.
But what it does show is that this could be Liverpool’s year. With a great manager behind them and Mohamed Salah signed with maybe more, Liverpool can be a real threat are showing it in their pre-season tour.
However saying again once more friendly games don’t mean much, which has been proved in the past. Hull City trashed the Reds 3-0 in a friendly in 2011 but Liverpool went on to win the League cup and were FA Cup finalists.
Anything can happen in pre-season tours.
Trophy potential for Wenger
Arsenal hosted the Emirates Cup for another year, inviting Benfica, Leipzig and Sevilla, weaker opponents than recent years.
The Gunners split their squad in half for the double-header against Benfica and Sevilla on back-to-back days, a good warmup before they faced Chelsea in the FA Community Shield.
Here were the best odds for the Emirates Cup. Arsenal had been going well in their pre-season tour before they were stuffed 3-0 by Chelsea. Before that they managed to beat Bayern Munich on penalties, relieved that they weren’t beaten 5-1, which would have been the 5th time in a row for Arsenal against Bayern.
Arsenal are a club that don’t like to overachieve very much. When they come up against a big club in the Champions League they always fail to impress or when they are close to winning the Premier League.
Which might explain why they regularly come 4th, having a squad that is consistent in qualifying for the Champions League. But now this year they have failed and find themselves in the Europa League.
This is something that is new Arsenal and they could lose key players because of this. But this could be an exciting year for the Gunners. They could go out and try win the Europa League or they can focus on winning the Premier League, what Chelsea did last season with an absence in European competition.
Arsenal have the potential to do very well this season and with the singing of Alexandre Lacazette they could be the team to watch this season.
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