Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech insists that the main objective of their pre-season tour of Australia and China is to get up to full fitness ahead of the competitive fixtures.
The Gunners enjoyed wins over Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers Down Under.
However, China brought tougher opponents as they managed a 1-1 draw against Bayern Munich (won on penalties) while they suffered a 3-0 defeat to Chelsea in the final game in Beijing. While other teams have begun their pre-season late, Cech believes that the games under their belt will help them improve, although the result is not that important.
He said, via ESPN: “We had a really strong week of training so it was good to get everybody playing. And in the end when you win the game, it’s always more pleasant. Because the main purpose is to get fit. And obviously the matches are a good test for us and to keep fit as well. In Australia, it was more about the offensive game; [against Bayern] we had to defend as well. It’s always good when you have the hard work done and then you have a positive result.”
The Gunners squad are currently doing double training sessions ahead of the 2017/18 campaign, and it could be worth it following a reality check against Chelsea, although a number of key first-team players were absent. A sickness bug had swept the squad midway through their tour and this saw the likes of Olivier Giroud and Per Mertesacker miss the Bayern game while Sead Kolasinac fell ill midway through the first half of the same match.
FA Cup hero Aaron Ramsey had also been through the illness but he managed to make an appearance against Chelsea unlike his teammate Theo Walcott, who watched the game from the sidelines after having failed to recover in time.