Arsenal’s pre-season has officially begun, with our stars back in training in preparation for the coming season.

It gives the squad an entire month to gather the required physicality for the challenges that lay ahead. Restore Champions League football to the club. Restore natural order in North London. Earn some silverware.

These tasks were tantalisingly close to being achieved last season, if not for a late collapse. Now, Emery must use all of his nous to show that his side is making progress, but first up, is a tour of the USA.

The 16th of July is when our boys travel Stateside to face a series of matches that could do much to decide certain futures at the club, as the margin for error was eroded last season in our error-strewn ending.

Our youngsters will want to impress, our fringe players will want to send reminders of their quality, and the established players will want to keep their places. Unai Emery will need to be ruthless as he was last season, and can use this tour to sort the wheat from the chaff as he did in our last pre-season.

Players like Emile Smith-Rowe and Calum Chambers impressed last time out, but both players suffered different fates despite their plaudits. Smith-Rowe went on to make an impact in our first team in our last campaign, whereas Chambers was sent to Fulham on loan – so how much stock do we take in our friendlies?

Colorado Rapids, Bayern Munich, Fiorentina and Real Madrid are our top opponents across the Atlantic. One thing is for sure, if our kids impress, they will be given a shot.

Players like Tyreece John-Jules and Bukayo Saka will be especially keen to take the next step up, and after scoring a brace against Boreham Wood recently in our first friendly fixture, John-Jules is showing he is ready to make his mark.

At last we can enjoy our boys back in action, and while they may be games designed to get our men up to speed, we also know that players are taking these games very seriously.

Anyone who impresses in these games have a very good shot at playing for our first team on the regular next season. Let’s not forget the calibre of opponents – if they have a good game against these clubs, then they most definitely have what it takes.

Let the battle commence!