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And so it begins – sort of. Arsenal v Barnet


Well, Saturday 18 July begins what we hope is a long march to silverware this season. Okay not really, its our annual march up to meet League 2 side Barnett. Making the trip will be the following 21 players:

Manuel Almunia
Vito Mannone
William Gallas
Johan Djourou
Mikael Silvestre
Thomas Vermaelen
Tomas Rosicky
Andrey Arshavin
Jack Wilshere
Thomas Cruise
Craig Eastmond
Luke Ayling
Conor Henderson
Francis Coquelin
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas
Mark Randall
Emmanuel Frimpong
Gilles Sunu
Sanchez Watt
Jay Simpson
Nacer Barazite

The 21 players represent a fair mix of reserve-youth players and first teamers who need to get in to shape. It also marks the first return in 18 months of Tomas Rosicky to active duty. We’ll be watching to see how he handles even this match and see if he can return to the form that had us all enamored prior to his injury.  This match is also our first opportunity to see recent signee Thomas Vermaelen play. I’ve been seeing pictures of this guy in training and if he is as much a beast as he looks – than our back four will get a little better.

Curious to see Andrei Arshavin on the list of players. Now maybe Arsene thinks he needs more conditioning – who knows. Just don’t want to see some League 2 twi go cleats up on him and have him out for 3 months.

All four pre-season matches are being shown live on Arsenal TV Online. The Barnet match is being played at Underhill Stadium and starts at 15:00 BST

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