Chelsea vs Arsenal Preview as Champions Prepare to Meet London Rivals in Beijing
Antonio Conte's side hammered west London neighbours Fulham 8-2 in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Cobham on Saturday - Willian (hat-trick), Michy Batshuayi and Loic Remy were among the scorers - but the Asia tour is where things will begin for real.
Watch the Arsenal game on Chelsea TV here.
Last Season's Encounters
Chelsea met Arsenal on three occasions in 2016/17, with the last in the FA Cup final an unfortunate one for the Blues after they were denied a domestic double by an unexpectedly inspired Gunners performance at Wembley.
But Conte's side had swept aside Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in February en-route to claiming the Premier League title, a game which featured a memorable solo goal from Eden Hazard.
And despite losing 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium back in September, one could potentially argue that heavy defeat actually made Chelsea's season after it prompted Conte to implement the 3-4-3 system that better played to the squad's strengths and became the foundation for success.
Head to Head Record
In the all-time head to head reckoning, Chelsea still just about trail Arsenal after winning 62 contests to the Gunners' 74. There have also been 54 draws between the two over the years since Chelsea first met 'Woolwich Arsenal', as they were previously known, in November 1907.
Beijing's iconic Bird's Nest Stadium will play host to the game.
It was the venue that was the centrepiece for the stunning 2008 Olympic games and will be covered with the Olympic rings again once more in 2022 when the Chinese capital becomes the first city anywhere in the world to have hosted both the summer and winter Olympics.
Chelsea Team News
Diego Costa will not be with the squad on tour. He is currently in Brazil amid uncertainty over his future at the club, while Nemanja Matic has also been left behind.
New back-up goalkeeper Willy Caballero is part of the group and could share duties with Thibaut Courtois for the duration of pre-season, but new signing Antonio Rudiger was on international duty with Germany until earlier this month and will arrive a little later on in Singapore.
A decision has also been made to leave Tiemoue Bakayoko at home. The new midfield arrival is still overcoming the effects of a knee injury suffered at the end of last season, while an international duty injury has also ruled Eden Hazard out of contention for the tour.
Arsenal Summer Lowdown
By the time Chelsea and Arsenal meet, the Gunners will have already played three times in their own pre-season programme after flying out to Australia relatively early on 9th July.
So far, Arsene Wenger's team have beaten A-League duo Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers by 2-0 and 3-1 scorelines, with a game against Bayern Munich also to come on 19th July in Shanghai.
No first-teamers have yet left Arsenal this summer, although Alexis Sanchez is not with the tour squad as a result of international commitments earlier this month. The same can be said for Shkodran Mustafi, while the likes of Lucas Perez and Kieran Gibbs were left in London ahead of expected summer moves away.
Arsenal do have new left-back Sead Kolasinac and record signing Alexandre Lacazette with them.
Still to Come for Chelsea
After the all-London friendly in China, Chelsea will head to Singapore for the first time ever to play two International Champions Cup matches against Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.
Those games will take place on 25th and 29th July respectively, with another meeting against Arsenal to follow at Wembley a week later on 6th August in the Community Shield to unofficially raise the curtain on the new season.