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Protege Piksi to pit his wits against his mentor

It's been confirmed at long last the Arsenal will take on the might of Japan, if that's what we're describing Nagoya Grampus and Urawa Reds as these days. The games are scheduled for 22 July, which is on Monday, and the following Friday, which is the 26th, in Saitama.

Last time Arsenal announced a tour of Japan it didn't happen, of course, but let's hope the club stick to their plans this time.

The manager has been quoted as saying the following: 'I am delighted to be returning to Japan where I spent two very happy years before joining Arsenal. We are very happy to be visiting Saitama this summer after our trip to Nagoya.

'We know that Urawa Reds frequently have large crowds at their J-League matches and the Saitama City Cup has seen top European teams compete against the Urawa Reds in previous summers.

'The match follows our other fixture in Japan against Nagoya Grampus, and we are sure to receive a very warm welcome from our many supporters in Saitama.'

It is true that Urawa Reds are well supported, with 38,000 people regularly attending their matches in a stadium that can hold nearly 64,000 people. Nagoya, meanwhile, are averaging around 22,000 fans, which means their 45,000-capacity stadium is less than half full. I'm sure the visit of Arsenal will rectify that, and it will be interesting to see Arsene Wenger lock horns with a man who has been tipped to become his successor, Nagoya boss, Dragan 'Piksi' Stojkovic.

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