Five Talking Points: Arsenal v Everton
1. More pre-season tours please
Barclays Asia Trophy winners
2003 Malaysia Chelsea
2005 Thailand Bolton Wanderers
2007 Hong Kong Portsmouth
2009 China Tottenham Hotspur
2011 Hong Kong Chelsea
2013 Hong Kong Manchester City
2015 Singapore Arsenal
At 52,107, the 2015 Barclays Asia Trophy final between Arsenal and Everton had one of the highest attendances ever recorded in the new Singapore National Stadium. The loudest cheers were no longer for the crowd’s favourite Kallang Wave, but rather for Arsenal’s goals against a mostly meek Everton team.
Songs and cheers for Arsenal’s players like Oliver Giroud and Santi Cazorla were sung passionately around the stadium as Singapore warmly welcomed their heroes. The Gunners responded with some breathtaking football in a 3-1 victory.
The 55,000-seat National Stadium has struggled with poor attendance for many sports events. Even the regional competition SEA Games football final between Thailand and Myanmar could only muster 22,000.
But with such a huge turnout for the final, Singapore can perhaps expect more clubs to come down to the city-state for their pre-season tours in the near future.
It was certainly appreciated by the players, as Singapore Select XI coach V. Sundramoorthy pointed out following his side’s 2-0 defeat to Stoke City in the earlier third-place playoff.
“The players were saying it was a great atmosphere and they’ve really enjoyed these two games and they wish there were more tournaments like this,” he said.
“That’s the feeling among the dressing room.”
Photo: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo