Arsenal players share their most intimate pre-match rituals

While the locker-rooms of MLS teams are open to the media after matches, there’s a certain mystique attached to them in other countries, where it’s legal to shoot journalists on sight if they ever come within 20 feet of these holy sanctuaries.

So there’s a certain interest level in finding out the pre-match rituals of Arsenal’s players, even though “what’s your pre-match ritual” has become such a routine question, asking it is a ritual in itself. It’s like lifting a lid on the locker-room secrets. If locker-rooms had lids, rather than doors. But they’re really just fairly large rooms filled with lockers, to be honest.

This video, and for some reason a picture of the players taking a selfie in a fake-looking locker room, came about as a result of Arsenal’s partnership with Cooper Tires. Presumably they were hoping for responses like “I routinely log on to and admire their fine choice of rubberized automobile equipment because I am thinking about replacing the tires on my Baby Bentley, the tread depth is becoming borderline”.

Instead, we learn that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain puts his left boot on first and that Danny Welbeck listens to music.

Also, before really big Champions League fixtures, Arsene Wenger douses a goat in Sauvignon Blanc and assistant manager Steve Bould sacrifices it by shooting it with a miniature cannon on a pentangle below a portrait of legendary manager Herbert Chapman. Sssh! Don’t tell anyone.

Defender Laurent Koscielny, though, does reveal something that’s both interesting and weird. “I slap my face, to be ready for fighting,” he says. And having seen how wound up he gets on the field, we’ll take him at face value.