Nketiah hits hat-trick as Arsenal win big, shape up ahead Manchester City Premier League clash


Arsenal beat Championship strugglers Charlton Athletic 6-0 at the Emirates on Saturday, as a number of clubs stepped up their preparations for a Premier League return.

With the league set to resume on June 17 following the coronavirus lockdown, a number of clubs have been attempting to build up their players’ fitness and get used to the behind-closed doors conditions they can expect for competitive action.

Mikel Arteta’s side eased to victory at home, with Eddie Nketiah netting a hat-trick in a 6-0 win with forwards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette also on the score-sheet.

Arsenal will be in action on the first night back when they take on Manchester City, while Charlton are set to resume on the weekend of June 20.

Despite the defeat, Charlton boss Lee Bowyer was pleased with what he saw from his side.

“To be playing against those players… some of them have been playing Champions League for years, playing against a proper opposition, every single position they are really strong,” Bowyer told the Charlton website.

“Our players didn’t disgrace themselves, they worked hard and tried to do the right things, it will be good for them, a good learning curve.

“It was a good workout. Obviously playing Arsenal, they are a proper side. It was a difficult workout and it was good fitness.

“Of course we were rusty, we were always going to be that, but the lads worked hard and put all their effort in and we looked quite good fitness-wise. It was a good test for us.”

Meanwhile, Manchester United took part in an inter-squad friendly at Old Trafford ahead of their clash with Tottenham on June 19.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have been particularly pleased to see Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba back in action after the pair spent a sustained period out through injury prior to the season being suspended.

Players drove to the stadium in their match kit and the match was refereed by fitness coach Charlie Owen.

Chelsea also hosted a friendly between their squad at Stamford Bridge ahead of resuming their campaign against Aston Villa on June 21.

Manager Frank Lampard and his coaching staff acted as officials for the match, which saw the squad split and wear their home and away kit.

Villa, who are two points from safety in the relegation battle, played a friendly against Midlands rivals and Championship promotion-chasers West Bromwich Albion.

Dean Smith’s side are four points clear of bottom-placed Norwich, who also stepped up their preparations on Saturday.

The Canaries held their training session at their Carrow Road Stadium as they prepare for a survival bid and their FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester United on June 27.

Daniel Farke’s men return to league action against Southampton on June 19.

The Premier League 2019/20 season will provisionally restart on Wednesday, June 17 and Sky, the UK’s leading football broadcaster, will make 25 games available ‘free to air’ – including Everton vs Liverpool on the first full weekend back – for everyone in the UK to enjoy.

Sky Sports will show 64 live Premier League games when the season resumes. In addition to the 39 matches already scheduled to be broadcast exclusively live on Sky Sports before the coronavirus interruption, 25 more matches will be available on both Sky Sports Premier League and Sky’s free-to-air Pick channel, allowing the whole nation to be part of the return of live sport.

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