Arsenal and bitter rivals, Chelsea square up in China on Saturday as part of preparations for the new season, as the London giants clash at lunchtime UK time, at the impressive Bird’s Nest stadium, in Beijing to renew a very familiar acquaintance.
The rivals are playing the match to fine tune preparations ahead of what would be a dress rehearsal of the FA Community Shield to be held in a fortnight. The Gunners prevailed 2-1 in the FA Cup Final in May, and are the sharper side going into the clash as this is our fourth match while the Premier League champions are only appearing for the first time despite a high intensity camping at their training ground back in London before flying to China.
On the part of the Gunners, Alexis Sanchez won’t feature as there is still a standoff between him and the club. The 28-year-old forward has told the Arsenal hierarchy of his intention to leave the club as he seeks Champions League football, but won’t be sold to Manchester City, the player’s first choice.
Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette are expected to feature as they continue to acclimatise.
For Chelsea, Deigo Costa is also missing as well as Nemanja Matic, as the pair negotiates deals away from the club. New signing, Antonio Rudiger is not expected to feature but could feature against Bayern in Singapore, while Bakayoko and Hazard are in London recuperating from injuries. Record signing, Alvaro Morata won’t also feature as his deal only got over the line yesterday.
Head to Head
The last six matches have seen each team eke out three victories apiece, as The Gunners are starting to close the gap on The 2012 Champions League winners, who have ultimately dominated us since Roman Abramovich bought the club back in 2003. Arsenal won twice in three matches last season, while the Blues won the solitary game at Stamford Bridge on their way to victory in The Premier league.
Arsenal should nick this one as we have greater match fitness and sharpness while Chelsea will be looking to ramp up the fitness ahead of a gruelling season ahead.