Ask anyone the same question over and over again and eventually you’re likely to be on the receiving end of some short shrift.
Ask Arsene Wenger the same question about Robin van Persie over and over again and eventually you are likely to be on the receiving end of a riposte full of anger.
The Dutchman is 5,000 miles away from the Arsenal squad that is currently touring Asia for pre-season, but he remains the only subject on people’s minds and if Wenger had previously done quite a good job of hiding his disappointment at Van Persie’s likely departure, then Friday was the day the Gunners manager finally lost his temper.
In the press conference after Arsenal’s 2-0 friendly loss to Manchester City – ironically one of Van Persie’s many suitors – Wenger snapped.
“I have talked about van Persie and I’m not talking about that question anymore,” he told reporters, irritation in his voice. “Do you understand?”
Wenger claimed that, contrary to reports, there had been no bids for Van Persie and that his captain would soon return to the squad, but by going public with his annoyance, Wenger is admitting that once again, Arsenal’s pre-season preparations are being overshadowed by the wishes of a want-away player.
This has happened far too many times over recent years for a club of Arsenal’s size and while Wenger is not blameless, the board at the Emirates have to take the majority of the responsibility for allowing yet another star player to run down his contract, leaving the club helpless as they bid to in vain to get him to stay.
Wenger was probably also upset that his side lost to City despite playing well. Arsenal are several matches behind the Premier League champions in terms of preparation but gave City a good game, creating numerous chances and looking sharp for this stage of the summer.
It gave Wenger something to be cheerful about and without RVP, Arsenal continue their Asian jaunt with a trip to Hong Kong to face Kitchee in their next friendly.
The Gunners are very strong favourites at 13/100 to win the match, with their hosts a big outside chance at 10/1, while the draw is priced up at 13/2.
Kitchee were crowned Hong Kong’s top-flight champions back in May, finishing four points above TSW Pegasus, but as they are only just starting pre-season themselves, any fitness advantages they could have boasted had they been in mid-season (as are many of the teams Premier League sides choose to face over the summer) are not applicable and it is impossible to see anything other than an Arsenal win.
Any repeat of the performance against the Citizens on Friday should see Arsenal kick start their pre-season with a decent triumph and an early goal could make it a long evening for Kitchee.
Therefore, I like the 83/100 on over 3.5 goals to be scored in the match, with a little outside punt on the 37/20 that there are five or more strikes.
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