Arsenal news

Wenger suggests Japan fixture

March 18, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Arsenal's possible summer tour of Japan has been thrown into doubt but Arsene Wenger raised the idea of playing a charity match in the earthquake and tsunami-devastated country.

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Although no formal decision has yet been announced, it was widely expected the Gunners would break with tradition and accept the offer of a lucrative pre-season trip, most probably to the Far East.

Wenger has a great personal affection for Japan, where he spent a successful 18 months as coach of Nagoya Grampus Eight before joining Arsenal in October 1996. However, the recent catastrophe means those proposals are likely to be reviewed.

"It can affect our plans to go there. We were supposed to go to Japan, I am personally not sure that will happen now,'' said Wenger, who usually takes his squad out to Austria for a secluded summer training camp.

"They have put the whole [domestic Japanese football] championship on hold. The immensity of the disaster will be will so big that the whole country will be focused to get things right again and put money into that and rebuild, knowing Japan - cities have complete disappeared.

"We might go to a different country or we might even go to Japan for a charity game, we don't know yet.''

Arsenal have suffered a disappointing few weeks on the pitch, losing the Carling Cup final to Birmingham at Wembley and then crashing out of the Champions League to Barcelona before then also losing their FA Cup quarter-final at Manchester United.

However, should the Gunners win all of their remaining 10 Premier League games, starting at struggling West Brom on Saturday, then they will overtake United and be crowned champions.