Chelsea take on Arsenal this lunchtime in the beautifully named Bird’s Nest Stadium, Beijing, as both sides continue their Asian Tour (KO 12:40 GMT).
The London Derby will be contested in unfamiliar territory, when Chelsea face up against Arsenal in the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) July 22, 2017
The ground that played host to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games will be the venue for the repeat of the FA Cup final – which Arsenal came out victorious in – and also incidentally a precursor to the Community Shield that will be played in just over 2 weeks’ time on August 6th.
With this being the case, the two sides are very familiar with each other, with both registering wins against each other at home in the Premier League, and Arsenal edging out the Blues in the FA Cup at Wembley.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 22, 2017
There have been changes to both sides since then, however, with both Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Chelsea boss Antonio Conte making additions to their squads for the upcoming season.
The Gunners themselves have signaled their intentions already this summer by bringing in some a big names striker. Arsenal began the summer window by acquiring Sead Kolasinic from Schalke and then went on to break their transfer record in securing French striker Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon, with much expected of the French striker this coming season.
If he can match his 37 goals scored last season, then the Gunners could certainly go close this year, with Alexis Sanchez on the right, Mezut Ozil on the left and Lacazette down the middle, the side certainly looks to have the firepower – thats if they can keep hold of Sanchez.
Both players have featured in all 3 of Arsenal’s pre-season games so far, which have included two games in Australia and a game in Shanghai against Bayern Munich – all of which the Gunners have recorded a win (the Munich game on penalties following a late Alex Iwobi equaliser).
Not featuring will be Arsenal’s star forward Alexis Sanchez, who has been given time off following his involvement with Chile at the Confederations Cup and who’s rumours of an exit from the club persist.
Chelsea, who started the window relatively slow, have added midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco, defender Antonio Rudiger from Roma and Manchester City’s Willy Caballero in recent weeks, and with the addition of Alvaro Morata in a £60m deal, things look a little bleak for Diego Costa’s continued presence at Stamford Bridge.
Its little doubt that Costa is eying a return to Spain and Atletico Madrid, with the striker having been pictured partying in an Atletico shirt on social media this week.
All three are expected to have some playing time in the Beijing fixture, with Morata joining up with the squad today as Conte tries to nail down his team for next year’s campaign.
This is the first game of Chelsea’s Asian Pre-Season tour and its certainly one not to be missed, with the Blues priced up at 17/0 to kick off their tour with victory, while the Gunners can be backed at a decent price of 9/5.
The stalemate can be backed at 5/2.
Kick-off is 7.45 pm local time and 12.45 pm British time.
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