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G'day, Fantasy Premier League

Isaac Lundall Wednesday, 12 July 2017

The Fantasy Premier League launched today and the gooners.info league is 77502-28170. A total of ZAR 500 in prizes is up for grabs as follows:

Gameweek winner prizes will accumulate and be paid to winners in lump sums before 1 June 2018. Overall prizes will also be paid out before 1 June 2018. The competition is only open to South African residents, and players will need a South African bank account to receive their prizes. Members of the Zuma, Koko, Molefe, and Gupta families are not eligible to enter. Entries close at 8pm (South African time) on 11 August 2017. No late entries will be accepted. Full terms and conditions will be published on gooners.info on 9 August 2017. Don't delay though. Enter now.

The Arsenal's pre-season tour kicks off in Australia tomorrow at noon with a match against Sydney FC, followed by one against Western Sydney Wanderers at noon on Saturday. Pre-season gives our players a chance to regain fitness ahead of the new season, and allows Arsene Wenger to give first team experience to up and coming young players, as well as to experiment with tactics and formations. The tour also lets fans see the younger players in action, which should give clues about who is primed to break through to the first team, as well as which more established players may be on their way out of the club, as the travelling party should only include players featuring in Wenger's plans.

Established squad members left out of the 25 strong squad travelling to Sydney include Wojciech Szczesny, Mathieu Debuchy, Kieran Gibbs, Gabriel, Rob Holding, Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers, Hector Bellerin, Carl Jenkinson, Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Joel Campbell, Alexis Sanchez, Lucas Perez, and Chuba Akpom. Out of this list, Gabriel, Wilshere, and Cazorla are injured, and Mustafi, Alexis, Holding, Chambers, and Bellerin spent much of the off-season on international duty. Given their youth and level of experience, Reine-Adelaide and Akpom are candidates for being loaned out for the season, but the absensce of Szczesny, Debuchy, Gibbs, Jenkinson, Campbell, and Lucas indicates that they may be on their way out of the club. The inclusion of right back Ainsley Maitland-Niles, even though he too was on international duty, spells the exit of both Debuchy and Jenkinson. It would appear that Sead Kolašinac is a direct Gibbs replacement, and that Alexandre Lacazette's advent will displace Campbell and Lucas from the squad. Szczesney will probably move to AS Roma.

Academy players Krystian Bielik, Cohen Bramall, Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, and Donyell Malen are part of the touring squad. Centre back Bielik made a substitute appearance for the first team last season before playing ten games on loan at Birmingham. He could well emerge as a first team player if Wenger gives him game time in the League Cup, which is typically used to blood young players. Left back Cohen Bramall was signed from non-league Hednesford in January, and Arsenal fans will be keen to see him in action in Sydney. Willock is a number 10 who can also play on the wing, and is a creative passer. Nelson is a skillful and pacy winger. Nketiah and Malen are both highly rated strikers who have pace and clinical finishing ability. Previous pre-seasons have seen players of the calibre of Jack Wilshere, Hector Bellerin, and Alex Iwobi break through to the first team. Let us hope that one of the young tourists can stake their claim to a similar rise to prominence, perhaps Bielik and Malen.

© 2017, Isaac Lundall