How did Arsenal, Tottenham, United and co. do in pre-season?


Pre-season is the time when big clubs travel around the world collecting trophies. In a way, the pre-season tournaments are a good indicator of a team’s strength – for instance, Bayern Munich received invitations left and right partly due to their reputation as last season’s treble winner, and the quality of their squad meant they eased to wins in such tournaments. Arsenal, meanwhile, continued their barren run of silverware after a dismal showing in the Emirates Cup.

Before we start, it is important to clarify which pre-season trophies are involved in our rating system. Well-known annual tournaments such as the Audi Cup and the Joan Gamper Trophy are involved in the tally. We also include super cups sanctioned by each country’s football association, such as the Community Shield and the German Super Cup.

We noticed that many one-off pre-season matches have also started handing out trophies – it’s all very well for the teams, but we would not involve these ‘souvenirs’ in our title count as they are too many of them. Also excluded are what we like to call ‘Minor Mickeys’ – tournaments by random beer companies might be a celebrated annual tradition, but we are simply too selective to involve them in our tallying process.

Short Guide to the Mickey Tally

Micky Head Micky Head Micky Head – The treble! Great pre-season.

Micky Head Micky Head – Good

Micky Head – Fair

No Mickeys – Poor, and possibly a trophy-less season.


Manchester United

Result-wise, Manchester United’s Tour of Asia was an underwhelming one. They did win the most prestigious match of their pre-season tour, lifting the first ever A-League All-Star Game trophy. The lack of history means we won’t add it to our tally, unlike the more well-known MLS All-Star Game. The Community Shield win at Wembley ensured that the pre-season ended on a major high, giving David Moyes his first ever Mickey.

Rating: Micky Head



Japan Soccer Club World Cup

Runners-up of the world

Are Chelsea the most unlucky team in football when it comes to Mickey Mouse tournaments? The defeat to Real Madrid in the International Champions Cup continues a nightmare run dating from the last pre-season:

  • 2012 MLS All-Star Game: 2-3 defeat against the MLS All-Stars
  • 2012 World Football Challenge: 2nd in the table to Real Madrid with one win and one draw
  • 2012 FA Community Shield: 2-3 defeat against Manchester City
  • 2012 UEFA Super Cup: 1-4 defeat against Atletico Madrid
  • 2012 FIFA Club World Cup Final: 0-1 defeat against Corinthians
  • 2013 International Champions Cup Final: 1-3 defeat against Real Madrid

Chelsea has another shot at the UEFA Super Cup this season, although this is the ‘wrong’ year for Europa League winners. Roman Abramovich’s side seem to have little problem winning the big ones, with two European titles and an FA Cup in the last couple of season. It’s never good to throw away easy trophies though, and they would need to be at their best to prevent a 7th consecutive silver medal against Bayern Munich.

Rating: No Mickey


Manchester City

Man City won the most prestigious pre-season tournament in Asia with a hard-fought win against Sunderland in the Barclays Asia Trophy final. They also picked up a silver medal at the Audi Cup against a tough field of European heavyweights. The club would probably rue last season’s FA Cup loss which cost them a spot in the Community Shield.

Rating: Micky Head



Not much has changed for the Arsenal this season. Four wins in their Asia Tour was capped off with the Saitama City Cup. They added a second Minor Mickey by an impressive 3-1 win against Man City. Nevertheless, the Gunners did not deliver in the all important Emirates Cup. The crown jewel of Arsenal remains missing from their trophy cabinet for a third year running.

Rating: No Mickey


Tottenham Hotspur

Football is all about winning medals, and Tottenham Hotspur players have cause for celebration: a bronze medal in the Barclays Asia Trophy. Fans probably can’t blame Gareth Bale for wanting to join a club with title-winning credentials – at least Real Madrid have the International Champions Cup.

Rating: No Mickey


P.S. Liverpool were not involved in any pre-season tournaments, but they did win a bank logo in Thailand.


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