Sydney FC's A-League title defence begins against Arsenal - Alex Brosque
Sydney FC crave back-to-back A-League championships and for skipper Alex Brosque, the title defence starts now.
It begins on Thursday night when Sydney FC line up for their first preseason friendly against Arsenal.
The record-breaking Sky Blues have a paltry 10 days of training behind them since returning from holidays to embark on a gruelling three months before the new season begins in October.
And while their bodies might be peak condition, their minds are already focused on the next set of silverware on offer in the A-League, FFA Cup and Asian Champions League.
The first step is measuring their skills against Arsene Wenger's Premier League powerhouse.
"This is our very first chance to see where we are, even so early on," Brosque said after unveiling Sydney's new kit at Bondi beach on Wednesday.
"Last year we set a very high standard for ourselves so it's about using that as a base for this year.
"Arsenal will be playing a very good game because their pre-season is a lot shorter than ours so they don't have too much time to impress Arsene.
"They don't play many games in pre-season, so every one for them counts."
Brosque expected some of Graham Arnold's younger players to get a run against the Gunners to gain valuable experience and help take the load of older squad members.
Nevertheless, the 33-year-old was optimistic of a more incisive performance than May's 3-0 exhibition loss to Liverpool, one which followed a fortnight of post-A-League celebrations.
"The last game against Liverpool, the scheduling around that was unfortunate," Brosque said.
"It's great to be playing end-of-season games but the reality is we'd won the championship two weeks before, and we weren't exactly drinking apple juice for two weeks and we didn't train either which made it difficult.
"Our heads were in the championship we'd won."