Dubai: Fans have celebrated the announcement of English Premier League club Arsenal coming to Dubai for a friendly against Al Nasr later this month.
Unai Emery’s squad has been confirmed for a brief stay in Dubai possibly from March 21 to 27, and fans have been enthusiastic about the arrival of the London club. The friendly match against Al Nasr has also been confirmed for a 6pm kick-off on March 26 with the intention of formally opening the new Al Maktoum Stadium.
Tickets for the game that have been priced at Dh100 to Dh150 are scheduled to go on sale from 6pm on Wednesday through Platinum List and on-site at the venue in Bur Dubai.
As Emirates is the main sponsor of the team, the squad is expected to undertake several social activities during their trip, including a visit to the Rashid Paediatric Centre.
“As soon as I read the news I felt I was going bonkers,” long-time ardent Arsenal fan Savio Cardozo told Gulf News.
“To have the players come here to Dubai is like a dream come true. I have followed this club since my early teens, and now I have this opportunity to watch them play, and maybe even get a few autographs with them with my son Reece.”
Julius Noronha, hailing from Mumbai, admitted that he is willing to make the trip just to watch his stars in action. “I have adored these players, and to get this opportunity to meet them all in person and watch them play against Al Nasr will be something that I will not forget,” Noronha said.
“I wish I can get them to sign my jersey. And believe me, the jersey will go nowhere. It will be framed and kept at my home,” he added.
Arsenal’s official website was the first to announce the news. “Head coach Unai Emery will use the training camp as a key part of our preparations for the run-in and the Premier League home fixture against Newcastle United on April 1,” a statement read.
Emery told the website: “It will be great to get some warm-weather training and break up the usual routine as we enter the final stage of the season. The facilities in Dubai are fantastic and it will be an honour to be part of the formal opening ceremony for the new stadium.”
This will be the second time that Al Nasr will be playing the Gunners. The first was in November 1976 when the English club ran off as 3-1 winners with Malcolm Macdonald, John Matthews and John Redford on target.
Catch the match
Arsenal v Al Nasr
Venue: Al Maktoum Stadium, Bur Dubai
Available: At Platinum List and on-site at Al Nasr Club from Wednesday