With the football season just around the corner, clubs are getting back into the swing of 90 minutes with pre-season friendlies up and down the country. However there is one pre-season tournament which beats all others; The Emirates Cup. The Emirates Cup has been played since 2007, with four teams competing in total. The likes of Paris Saint Germain, Wolfsburg, Juventus, Inter Milan, and even Real Madrid have partaken in the past. Arsenal FC have competed each year the tournament has been held and will be the hosts once again this year.
The tournament is played out in a group stage format, with each team only playing two opponents rather than all three opponents. Points are then awarded for wins and draws, with extra bonuses on goals scored for entertainment value. After each team has completed their two games, whoever finished top of the group is awarded the trophy. Each half is 40 minutes long and the tournament takes place over a weekend. Two games are played on both the Saturday and Sunday. This year is no different, with the confirmed dates being Saturday 29th July and Sunday 30th July. A ticket will gain you entry to either the Saturday or Sunday fixtures, and allows you both games on the day.
This year, the visitors to London are Sevilla (Europa League winners in 2014, 2015, and 2016), RB Leipzig (whom finished second in the Bundesliga last season), and SL Benfica (current Portuguese Champions). All three teams will offer a tough game of football and should provide an entertaining day for those who go to the Emirates Stadium.
Saturday 29th July 2017:
RB Leipzig v Sevilla FC (2pm)
Arsenal v SL Benfica (4:20pm)
Sunday 30th July 2017:
RB Leipzig v SL Benfica (2pm)
Arsenal v Sevilla FC (4:20pm)
Even if you are not an Arsenal fan, the games are great if you just want a chilled day out at a world class stadium. (I’ve been to the Emirates Cup in 2014 and 2015, but am not an Arsenal fan)
The opportunity to see high quality players is too good to miss and this year is no exception. For RB Leipzig you have the likes of Naby Keita who is rumoured to be going to Liverpool for £70 million. For Benfica, Jonas the Brazilian international will be there alongside powerful Greek striker, Konstantinos Mitroglou, who had a brief spell at Fulham.
For Sevilla, Stefan Jovetic (the ex-Manchester City striker), Steven N’Zonzi, and an exciting young striker named Luciano Vietto – who has played for racing Club, Villarreal, and Atletico Madrid in La Liga should be on display. Add into this the wealth of players Arsenal have in their ranks, it is likely you will see Mesut Ozil, new record signing Alexander Lacazette, Theo Walcott, Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny, and a personal favourite of mine, Oliver Giroud.
With two games being played on each day, you get to see 160 minutes worth of football for the price of £25 going up to £35 (depending on where you sit). Having gone myself to the Emirates Cup, I can vouch that the price is well worth it, considering the talent on show. Also, as it’s a pre-season tournament, fans are mixed so the atmosphere is jovial making it a great experience.
From Queen Mary’s campus in Mile End, to get to the Emirates Stadium is a simple journey. From Mile End station, take the central line to Holborn station and at Holborn, take the Piccadilly line via Cockfosters but get off at Arsenal station. Once at Arsenal station, the entrance to the Emirates is straight ahead and with thousands of other fans doing the same journey, follow the crowds if confused. From campus, it is roughly a 35-40 minute tube ride to Arsenal station, then a 2 minute walk to the actual stadium. In order to make the 2.00pm kick off on either day, leave Campus around 12.30 to ensure you get to your seats, as checks will be high due to recent events.
Tickets can be bought from the Arsenal website – just select a day and then choose a seat which takes your fancy. I hope anyone who goes enjoys the day out and gets to see some great football by these magnificent teams!
Images: Christopher Lee/Getty Images Europe and Daniele Accurso