By 90Min
July 20, 2017

Chelsea will meet London rivals Arsenal in Beijing for their first tour outing of the summer as the new Premier League champions look to step up preparations for their title defence and the return of Champions League football to Stamford Bridge in 2017/18.


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 her​e.


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.

FILE PHOTO (EDITORS NOTE: COMPOSITE OF TWO IMAGES - Image numbers (L) 630131844 and 619019694) In this composite image a comparision has been made between Antonio Conte, Manager of Chelsea (L) and Arsene Wenger, Manager of Arsenal. Chelsea and Arsenal meet in the Premier League on February 4, 2017 at Stamford Bridge in London. ***LEFT IMAGE*** LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17: Antonio Conte, Manager of Chelsea looks on during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Chelsea at Selhurst Park on December 17, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images) ***RIGHT IMAGE*** SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks on before the Premier League match between Sunderland and Arsenal at Stadium of Light on October 29, 2016 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Getty Images/GettyImages

In more recent years, Chelsea have had a considerable upper hand. September's win for Arsenal was only their third victory over Chelsea in a Premier League game since 2008, while Chelsea have only lost seven out of 34 fixtures against Arsenal in all competitions since 2004.


The Venue


Beijing's iconic Bird's Nest Stadium will play host to the game.

Image by Jamie Spencer

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.

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JULY 02: Antonio Ruediger of Germany looks on during the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 Final between Chile and Germany at Saint Petersburg Stadium on July 2, 2017 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/GettyImages

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.

The Arsenal football team poses for a photo before their pre-season friendly against the Western Sydney Wanderers in Sydney on July 15, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / WILLIAM WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
WILLIAM WEST/GettyImages

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.

Arsenal player Alexandre Lacazette takes on Western Sydney Wanderers in their pre-season football friendly played in Sydney on July 15, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / WILLIAM WEST / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
WILLIAM WEST/GettyImages


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.

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