We have been named alongside Stoke City and Everton in the 2015 Asia Trophy, and will therefore line up against the Potters in what is likely to be one of the most aggressive pre-season friendlies ever, as reported by the Mirror.
The history between us and Stoke is no secret, and they are unquestionably one of the most hated teams in the Premier League by Arsenal fans.
We suffered a disappointing defeat at the Britannia Stadium this season, which left us looking for revenge. We got it during the return trip to Emirates – but we still certainly didn’t escape the game unscathed.
Marko Arnautovic viciously and needlessly fouled Mathieu Debuchy, knocking him to the floor and dislocating his shoulder – despite the ball clearly already heading out of play and out of his reach. Arsene Wenger was furious following the game, but arguably gave the Austrian more credit than he deserved when he claimed the foul was “not malicious.”
“I just think that Arnautovic had no chance to get the ball. That’s what I mean,” Wenger said at the time – as quoted in the Mirror above.
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“I don’t think it was malicious but it was not needed because he had no chance to get the ball.
“I am not a specialist and these subjects are always very sensitive because I don’t really know what his intention was. It is difficult. It is not obvious.
“I don’t think he wanted to hurt him but it was not needed.”
His reaction following this season’s win was nothing compared to his fury after Aaron Ramsey had his leg broken however, and the manager was visibly enraged by Ryan Shawcross’ tackle.
“The tackle from Shawcross was horrendous. Spare me how nice he is,” he is again quoted as saying by the Mirror.
“To lose a player of quality at 19 like Ramsey is hard to accept. That is not football for me and I refuse to live with it. The FA have to act.
“It was not a tackle you could call committed. A three-match ban is ridiculous.
“We play football and for someone of Ramsey’s talent to be kicked out the game is beyond words.”
There has been no love lost in recent meetings, and that is unlikely to change in Singapore – despite the friendly tag attached to the game.
Hopefully there aren’t any season ending injuries before the season even starts.