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The Sokratis and Mkhitaryan meeting that highlights the huge task facing Unai Emery in 2019/20

Last night Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Henrikh Mkhitaryan faced off against each other in a Euro 2020 qualifier. A month later they’ll be reunited on the same side, boarding the club jet and beginning the near 10 hour flight to the west coast of America that marks the starting point of Arsenal’s preparations for the 2019/20 season.

Of course by that time pre-season training will already be underway and an Arsenal XI, albeit one likely to be populated with youth prospects and fringe players, will have played their first friendly against Borehamwood.

Following on from *deep breath* that comes a whistlestop four-date, eight day, 11,600 mile tour of the United States, a home friendly against Lyon, a possible fixture against Barcelona and then the small matter of the football that counts: the Premier League, Europa League, EFL Cup and FA Cup. All that leading up to a summer in which a sizeable number of players from Arsenal and elsewhere will be taking part in the continent-hopping Euro 2020 with fixtures from Dublin to Baku, Glasgow to Rome.

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