By Josh James, writer for Arsenal.com
This year is the first time that it’s been a one-off game between just two competing sides. The first nine editions were contested between four teams in a group basis, with each team playing two matches, while the most recent Emirates Cup – in 2019 – featured two men’s and two women’s sides in separate tournaments.
As we aim to win the honour for the sixth time, here’s some of the highlights from previous tournaments.
Also competing: Paris Saint-Germain, Valencia, Inter Milan
Jaime Gavilan scored the first ever goal in Emirates Cup history, as Valencia saw off Inter Milan 2-0 in the opening match. Later that day we beat Paris Saint-Germain thanks to goals from Mathieu Flamini and Nicklas Bendtner. PSG recovered with a 3-0 win over Valencia but Arsène Wenger’s men took the inaugural trophy thanks to a 2-1 comeback win over Inter. Alex Hleb equalised before Robin van Persie’s late winner.
Also competing: Arsenal, Juventus, Real Madrid
Hamburg became the first visiting side to win the trophy despite losing the first game to Real Madrid. Arsenal also lost the opener, 1-0 to a David Trezeguet goal for Juventus. We bounced back with a 1-0 win over Real Madrid – the soon to be departed Emmanuel Adebayor on target – but it wasn’t enough, as the rule of each goal being worth an extra point gave Hamburg the title, with every team having one win and one defeat each.
Also competing: Rangers, Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain
We regained the trophy in 2009 – a tournament memorable mainly for the emergence of Jack Wilshere. Andrey Arshavin scored twice in the last four minutes of the first game – a 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid – before we beat Rangers 3-0 to confirm top spot. Wilshere, who had already impressed against Atletico – scored twice, either side of an Eduardo goal. Afterwards Wenger said of Wilshere: “When he starts to go past people in the final 20 yards you can always say there is something special.”
Also competing: Lyon, Celtic, Milan
Marouane Chamakh scored on his home debut as we kicked off with a 1-1 draw at home to Milan, before securing the trophy with 3-2 win over Celtic. Wilshere, now aged 18, was once again one of the star performers, with Carlos Vela, Bacary Sagna and Samir Nasri all on target. Lyon, featuring Alexandre Lacazette in their side, finished second after two draws.
Winner: New York Red Bulls
Also competing: Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, Boca Juniors
Thierry Henry returned to the Emirates with New York Red Bulls, and helped his side top the group, thanks to a late own goal by Kyle Bartley in the final game of the weekend. After sitting out the first game, he started against the Gunners on the Sunday, and after Robin van Persie had put us ahead, the visitors’ late goal denied us the trophy. In the first Emirates Cup to feature non-European teams, we had squandered a two-goal lead in our first game against Boca Juniors.
Also competing: Porto, Arsenal, Napoli
A pair of late Didier Drogba goals gave Galatasaray the Emirates Cup at our expense in the 2013 edition. There was no tournament in 2012 due to the Olympics, and we returned with a 2-2 draw over Napoli in the first game. Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny scored after we trailed 2-0 at half-time. A Theo Walcott goal on the Sunday against Galatasaray looked to have wrapped up the silverware, only for Drogba’s two goals in the last 12 minutes to swing it into the Turks’ favour.
Also competing: Arsenal, Monaco, Benfica
Yaya Sanogo stole the show on the Saturday, netting four goals in a 5-1 win over Benfica. The French striker completed a first-half hat-trick, with Joel Campbell also getting in on the act. Despite the thumping win though, it wasn’t enough to secure the title, with Monaco clinching a 1-0 win over the Gunners on the Sunday, and Valencia taking the title with a 3-1 victory over Benfica.
Also competing: Villarreal, Wolfsburg, Lyon
We lifted the trophy for the first time in five years, thanks mainly to a 6-0 win over Lyon on the opening day. We had six different goalscorers, including Alex Iwobi, who would go on to enjoy a breakthrough season. Walcott became our seventh scorer of the weekend when he netted the only goal against Wolfsburg to wrap up the title, when Petr Cech made his home debut, keeping a clean sheet.
Also competing: Sevilla, RB Leipzig, Benfica
Due to pitch reconstruction work in 2016, the next tournament was held a year later, with Sevilla making their first Emirates Cup appearance. The Spanish outfit won both games, but we edged them to take the trophy on the goals scored rule, mainly thanks to a 5-2 win over Benfica on the first day. Sevilla beat us 2-1 on the Sunday, but Lacazette’s strike was enough to secure a third consecutive trophy.
Men’s winner: Lyon
Women’s winner: Bayern Munich
After another one-year hiatus the Emirates Cup returned with a new format in 2019. Arsenal Women took on Bayern Munich in the opening game, with the Germans triumphing thanks to a Malanie Leupolz goal in the first half. It was followed later than afternoon by our men’s side against Lyon – managed by former Gunner Sylvinho. Unai Emery’s saw his team go ahead through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after 35 minutes, but two Moussa Dembele goals turned things around.