A tour that's Gunner matter

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech is looking forward to the club's pre-season tour to Singapore as it will help the team bond for the new season.
Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech is looking forward to the club's pre-season tour to Singapore as it will help the team bond for the new season.PHOTO: REUTERS

Cech, Bellerin say S'pore trip a good chance to bond as a team and impress new manager

This year's International Champions Cup (ICC) may kick off on Thursday but the show will roll into Singapore as early as tomorrow morning, when English Premier League side Arsenal arrive in the Lion City.

And, as much as the Gunners will be enjoying the hospitality here, the players will use this pre-season tournament to learn more about their new manager, Unai Emery.

The other two clubs competing are French champions Paris Saint-Germain and Spanish LaLiga outfit Atletico Madrid. Arsenal will play Atletico on Thursday at the National Stadium before taking on PSG two days later.

Emery will bring along a full squad of 25 that include key players such as Petr Cech, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Aaron Ramsey, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alexandre Lacazette. World Cup players Mesut Ozil, Alex Iwobi and Mohamed Elneny will also join the travelling party to Singapore.

First-choice goalkeeper Cech said: "We have our new head coach and a new way of doing certain things, so it's great to do that with good opponents.

"That'll make you feel better and, obviously in the pre-season, it's more about getting the time under your belt, getting the match fitness so that when the season starts, everybody is ready to go."

  • ARSENAL'S ICC SQUAD

  • GOALKEEPERS: Petr Cech, Bernd Leno, Emiliano Martinez

    DEFENDERS: Hector Bellerin, Calum Chambers, Rob Holding, Sead Kolasinac, Konstantinos Mavropanos, Shkodran Mustafi, Jordi Osei-Tutu, Sokratis Papastathopoulos

    MIDFIELDERS: Mohamed Elneny, Matteo Guendouzi, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Reiss Nelson, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Joe Willock

    FORWARDS: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alex Iwobi, Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah, Lucas Perez, Emile Smith Rowe

The Sunday Times understands that Arsenal will be staying at the Shangri-La Hotel, the JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach will host PSG while Atletico will be based at the Mandarin Oriental.

The 36-year-old Cech joined Arsenal from Chelsea in 2015 and welcomes the tour as it presents a chance for the team to bond and gel.

He said: "When you are away on tour, you get to know the people in a slightly different way because you see them every minute of the whole day for a whole week.

"Obviously, we'll have time to work as well because usually in a tour, when you train, then you have some more time in the hotel where you can use it to hold individual meetings and discussions about certain things. I think the coaching staff have the chance to speak to certain people as well about the way pre-season has been going, what they would like you to improve or not to do.

"All these things are beneficial for everyone, especially for the new players as well."

Right-back Hector Bellerin first toured Singapore in 2015 when Arsenal, Everton, Stoke and a Singapore selection side were involved in the Barclays Asia Trophy.

The Spaniard said: "It's the second time that I will be in Singapore and I had a great time when I went there last time.

"It was in 2015 and it was my second pre-season with the first team and after my first season playing as a regular, so it was a great experience for me. I loved the weather, I loved the city, everything is so clean and it's such a nice culture."

While the 23-year-old expressed a wish to see more of the city, he also knows there is serious footballing business at hand and players should grab the chance to impress their new Spanish boss.

Bellerin added: "He's (Emery) someone who's open to every single player to see what everyone can bring to the table and then make the decisions after, especially young players have a massive chance to prove themselves while players who went to the World Cup are still on holiday.

"Now it's a clean start for everyone and the people who have been signed obviously have experience, but they can show what they can bring to the table.

"I think it's amazing that everyone can kind of start from scratch and work hard and show their worth."

• Ticket prices start from $28 and are available at sportshub.com.sg, Singapore Indoor Stadium and The Star Theatre box offices, Scotts Square Concierge and all SingPost outlets.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 22, 2018, with the headline 'A tour that's Gunner matter'. Print Edition | Subscribe