Arsenal finished their pre-season off with a 100% success rate after beating Urawa Red Dragons 2-1, but the big test is still to come.
Over the weekend of 3rd August, Arsenal will take on Napoli and Galatasaray to try and win the Emirates Cup.
The last time the Emirates Cup occurred it was New York Red Bulls, the club which ex-Arsenal player Thierry Henry plays, that lifted the cup. Arsenal drew against Boca Juniors 2-2 and the New York Red Bulls 1-1 and this time the competition looks to be more of a challenge.
All three teams, Napoli, Galatasaray and Porto, have cemented their place in the Champions League for the 2013/2014 season with Arsenal still needing to play their play-off round. However, since the domestic leagues ended, Porto and Napoli have sold key players.
Napoli appointed Rafa Benitez as manager after he won the Europa Cup with Chelsea last season. Since starting as manager players have come and gone with Edinson Cavani the biggest player leaving.
His transfer to Paris St-Germain brought in an estimated £55 million and a large chunk of this was immediately spent on Real Madrid forward Gonzalo Higuain.
The Argentine was originally rumoured to be a target for Arsenal but with the money from Cavani, Napoli felt they could splash the cash. Two more Real Madrid players followed with Raul Albiol and Jose Maria Callejon joining Napoli.
The final big name to go to the Stadio San Paolo was the loan signing of Pepe Reina. After Liverpool brought Simon Mignolet, Reina joined Napoli for the year where he was promised first team football.
Although Napoli lost its main striker they should not be underestimated and could be a tough opposition to Arsenal.
Galatasaray shocked the football world when they signed Wesley Sneijder after he reportedly fell out with Inter Milan over contract renewals. He made sixteen appearances for the Turkish side in the second half of the 2012/2013 season and ended up scoring four goals.
Didier Drogba is another big name at Galatasaray and played in fourteen games, scoring six goals.
For Arsenal, Drogba is seen as a nightmare. He bullied the Arsenal defence in the Premier League and, if he plays, could be Arsenal’s undoing. Sneijder has scored in all three of Galatasaray’s pre-season games against Shrewsbury Town, Notts County and Malaga, helping them to a 100% win rate.
Galatasaray have one more pre-season match before the Emirates Cup and it will be against Napoli, the only side they do not play in the competition, at the Stadio San Paolo in Naples.
Finally, Porto have had an outstanding pre-season winning all of their games so far, putting fourteen past Valadares Gaia. They beat Marseille 3-0 in the Valais Cup and won both games in the Copa Euro Americana scoring four in each.
Considering that the Portuguese side's midfielders, Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez were sold to Monaco for a total of €70million, they have played very well. They have brought in five new midfielders with the stand out name Hector Herrera who has represented Mexico.
Overall the Emirates Cup looks like an exciting competition with Champions League teams, any of whom could win it. An exciting weekend for supporters of all teams.
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