English Premier League giants Arsenal have been confirmed to tour to Australia in 2017 to play matches against Sydney FC and the Wanderers.
Both clubs confirmed the fixtures on Wednesday, to be played at ANZ Stadium in July as part of the Gunners pre-season schedule.
Arsenal’s trip Down Under gives Aussie fans another chance to see some world-class talent, with the Gunners squad featuring the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud.
The matches are part of a two-year partnership with Destination NSW that will see the state promoted through signage at Arsenal's home ground, Emirates Stadium.
Sky Blues Chairman Scott Barlow said of the announcement: “We are extremely proud to be hosting Arsenal, one of the world’s premier football clubs in Sydney in 2017.
“This announcement is a major coup for Sydney FC and for Australian sport. It demonstrates once again that when the world’s biggest and best football clubs come to Australia, it’s Sydney FC they want to play.”
Wanderers chairman Paul Lederer said this was an opportunity his club has been waiting for, having never before taking on a huge European outfit.
“Arsenal are a huge team and we know that many of our fans are also major fans of the Arsenal Football Club,” he said.
“Our members will be in pole position to see Arsenal in action on Australian shores for the first time since 1977 which is a wonderful outcome for this club and for Western Sydney.”
The Gunners’ visit follows on from the hugely successful trips of both Chelsea and Tottenham, who took on the Sky Blues to massive crowds at ANZ Stadium earlier this year. Also, the International Champions Cup in Melbourne, featuring Real Madrid, Manchester City and Roma was a massive drawcard for fans this year while Liverpool were also in Australia playing in front of huge attendances.
It’s been almost 40 years since Gunners last visited Australia. Back then they were defeated 3-1 by the Socceroos in a "B" international as part of the "World of Soccer" tournament that also featured Celtic and Red Star Belgrade.
John Kosmina, Dave Harding and Peter Ollerton the goal-scorers for the Aussies against the Gunners. Kosmina was subsequently signed by Arsenal the following season.
In that game in Sydney, Arsenal featured the likes of Liam Brady, Malcolm McDonald and Frank Stapleton.