August 17, 2017

Arsenal vs Chelsea friendly: It’s London desire, not a friendly —Wenger

Arsene Wenger does not anticipate a friendly friendly against Chelsea as he prepares for today Chinese London derby and a re-run of the FA Cup final.

Arsenal will face the Premier League champions in Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium, two months after beating them at Wembley to win the FA Cup and little more than a fortnight before they meet again in the FA Community Shield.

‘It’s a friendly against Chelsea and that means it is not really a friendly,’ said Wenger. ‘There’s always some pride at stake and London desire.

‘It was an interesting game in the FA Cup final. We play Chelsea in Community Shield and early in the season again. We know each other very well.

‘It’s difficult to know how prepared Chelsea will be, it is another test for us.”

For Arsenal, it will be the fourth game of a gruelling pre-season schedule which has taken in Australia and China.

For Chelsea, it will be the second after an 8-2 win behind closed doors against Fulham.

Wenger expects most of his players to be available after the stomach bug which laid them low during a game against Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

Only Theo Walcott is a doubt. ‘Theo might not be ready, nothing major,’ said the Arsenal boss.

Captain Laurent Koscielny will return after… missing the Bayern game with a bad back.