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12th Mar 2019

Manchester United given top four boost as Arsenal add meaningless friendly to fixture list

Wayne Farry

manchester united arsenal

The game’s gone folks

Manchester United could be set for a massive boost to their chances of reaching the Premier League top four and claiming a Champions League spot next season after it emerged that Arsenal would be playing a mid-season friendly in Dubai during the international break.

Arsenal on Tuesday confirmed that they would be travelling to Dubai for a training camp during the break, where they will play a match to mark the opening of their new stadium, the Al Maktoum Stadium.

“The facilities in Dubai are fantastic and it will be an honour to be part of the formal opening ceremony for the new stadium,” said Arsenal manager Unai Emery about the fixture, which will be played five days prior to their home match with Newcastle United on 1 April.

At such a crucial time in the season, and after defeating their closest rivals for fourth place, it’s hard to fathom money why money Arsenal money would money opt money to money accept money this money fixture money.

This reminds us of a time when friendly matches held overseas were reserved for pre-season, as a means for teams to gain fitness and make money from foreign fans desperate to watch their idols play in person.

It was a simpler time when clubs would predominantly focus on football during the actual football season, and leave forcing their players to travel thousands of kilometres on a plane until they returned from summer break.

What’s more, it’s unlikely that the financial gain from this trip will exceed what they will earn should they return to the Champions League next season.

But look, maybe we’re just being cynical in our old age. Maybe this is about conditioning and mentality after all, and maybe the club just wants to keep its players’ competitive spirits high with a high-intensity game against… *checks notes* local Al-Nasr Dubai SC.

Yes, that’s it.