Arsenal and Chelsea have never played each other outside of England – until now. On July 22, the teams play a pre-season friendly at Beijing’s very own Bird’s Nest. Don’t follow two of the biggest teams in England? More of a Chinese Super League fan? Don’t worry – here’s your cheat sheet.
Chelsea: Diego Costa might well be the most effective player in all of England. (A controversial statement, we know.) While his inflammatory antics lend him a negative reputation, he bagged more than 20 goals last season, even while missing some games.
Arsenal: For the 2017-18 season, Arsenal haven't made the Champions League – which is a good thing, many believe, because, for the past few years anyway, it's only resulted in humiliation on the international stage. The only problem is…
Chelsea: Ugly is the way Chelsea won the Premier League title – the team won eleven games by a single goal. It counts all the same, but this isn’t exactly a high-firing team. This, coupled with their potential loss of Diego Costa (see below), could mean a long drought for the boys in blue.
Arsenal: Arsenal’s bitter rivals Tottenham have eclipsed them in the standings for the first time in almost two decades. And not only that, but next season Tottenham will have a brand-new, 60,000-seat London stadium to bring in the pounds and, potentially, hot new signings. Dark days for Arsenal fans.
Chelsea: Bad news Beijing: The aforementioned Diego Costa might be leaving. Late last year he answered a reporter’s question regarding a potential transfer by hinting at a potential future at Atletico Madrid. Losing Costa would not only strip Chelsea of their primary source of goals, but also their go-to offensive coordinator.
Arsenal: The mid-season Arsenal collapse has become an annual comedic tradition. Once again, the New Year brought a top-performing Arsenal squad to its knees for no apparent reason. Maybe it’s their holiday hangovers, or maybe it’s seasonal affective disorder. Whatever it is, Arsenal can’t seem to play decently when the calendar resets.