Football: Arsenal lock in 2017 Sydney dates

PHOTO: The Straits Times

Arsenal on Saturday confirmed two 2017 pre-season friendlies in Sydney, continuing the growing trend of top clubs choosing Australia as a warm-up destination.

The Gunners will play A-League side Sydney FC on July 13 next year at ANZ Stadium and Western Sydney Wanderers two days later at the same venue.

"Our pre-season matches enable the squad to complete final preparations ahead of a new campaign, and Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers will provide a strong test for the team," Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis said in a statement on both clubs' websites.

"The trip also gives our travelling squad a wonderful opportunity to see our loyal supporters in a country so passionate about football." Arsenal last visited Sydney in 1977, well before long-time manager Arsene Wenger's days, losing 3-1 to an Australian XI.

They follow in the footsteps of a string of clubs including Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Real Madrid which have visited Australia in recent years.

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