Chelsea will play Arsenal in a London derby with a difference at China’s national stadium this summer...
Chelsea will play Arsenal in a London derby with a difference at China’s national stadium this summer.
This announcement comes just hours before the Gunners visit Stamford Bridge as we seek to extend our lead at the top of the Premier League table.
This summer we will visit Asia to prepare for the 2017/18 campaign and play Arsenal on 22 July at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium. This will be the first time the two sides have met outside the British Isles.
We last faced Arsenal outside London in the 2007 League Cup final in Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, when Theo Walcott’s opener was cancelled out by a Didier Drogba brace to win the game for the Blues.
The Bird’s Nest, which opened for the 2008 Olympics, has a capacity of 80,000 and we are looking forward to an incredible atmosphere.
It will be our first visit to mainland China since that Olympic summer of 2008, when we won matches in Guanghzou and Macau. We also lifted the Premier League Asia Trophy in Hong Kong in 2011.
Antonio Conte said: ‘In this moment we are focused on winning a very important game against Arsenal in the league but we are happy to be travelling to China for another exciting match in the summer.
‘I have seen already the passion our supporters have for Chelsea here in England and last summer in America, and I believe our fans in China will show the same intensity when we are in Beijing.’
Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck added: ‘We’re thrilled to be announcing this match in China against one of our biggest London rivals.
‘It will be an important step in helping Antonio and his staff ready the team for next season, and we hope it will provide some reward for our Chinese fans who show huge commitment all year round to support Chelsea.’
The match will be screened live on chelseafc.com and Chelsea TV, with ticket news to follow soon.