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Arsenal to face A.C Milan in Emirates Cup

ronaldinhoBy Jonny Payne

Arsenal will face Italian giants A.C Milan in the Emirates Cup this year as the club have announced the line-up for the 2010 edition of the successful pre-season tournament.

Gunners fans can look ahead to the new season with a match against the likes of Ronaldinho, Pato and Gennaro Gattuso, followed by a chance to test themselves against Old Firm club Celtic. The other participants are French club Lyon, who made the Champions League semi-finals.

Modeled on the Amsterdam Tournament, The Emirates Cup was introduced as the Gunners moved into their new home in 2007 and it has proven to be a lucrative idea for the Gunners with some of Europe’s top clubs willing to take part.

Arsenal Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis told

“We’re delighted and proud to once again be welcoming three of Europe’s most high-profile teams to Emirates Stadium for an exciting weekend of football.

“The Emirates Cup has been hugely successful since we staged the inaugural tournament back in 2007 and we’re again looking forward to staging this weekend of football, which is now recognised as one of the world’s most prestigious pre-season tournaments.

“We have three big teams coming this year in AC Milan, Celtic and Lyon, who all have huge international followings and rich histories. I’m sure all supporters are looking forward to the weekend, which not only offers the opportunity to watch two top quality matches each day, but of course, also provides the teams with a high level of preparation ahead of the forthcoming season.

With a point added for each goals scored as well as for the usual three for a win and one for a draw, there is an emphasis on attacking football, which of course, the Gunners faithful welcome with open arms.

Last season saw the likes of Atletico Madrid, Rangers and PSG take part and it provided a chance for Arsenal fans to catch a glimpse of their new signing Thomas Vermaelen. The star of the weekend however, was 17 year-old Jack Wilshere, whose master classes against Atletico Madrid and Rangers cemented his place in Arsenal’s first team squad this season.

Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, has suggested that he is looking to have all deals finalised before the World Cup, so the tournament should again be a chance to see some new faces.

A meeting with A.C Milan on the first day of the tournament will also allow the Gunners to line-up against one of their former colleagues as Mathieu Flamini could figure – provided of course he does not move on this summer.

Flamini left the Emirates on a free-transfer two years ago and it remains to be seen whether he will be given a warm reception the likes of Thierry Henry, Kolo Toure, Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires have in the past couple of years.

Arsenal will then take on Celtic on the following day. The Hoops played in the tournament two years ago, and brought with them many green, white and day-glo yellow-clad supporters, making the day a colourful and noisy occasion, and although it is a friendly, the Scots will want to put one over their English counterparts.

Arsenal will not face Lyon during the tournament and it may be a good thing. If transfer rumours are anything to go by, then one of Lyon’s stars this season could already have moved to the Emirates by the start of the tournament.

Hugo Lloris, the 6ft2 goalkeeper is being strongly linked with a move to Arsenal following some disastrous performances by Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski over the course of the season. If the deal does go through, Lloris would not have wanted to play his former club so soon after his move

The games will take place over the weekend of 31st July – 1st August with Arsenal playing A.C Milan on Saturday 31st at 4.20pm and Celtic at the same time on Sunday 1st August. The two earlier matches will see Lyon take on Celtic on 31st July and A.C Milan play Lyon on 1st August, both at 2pm.

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