Arsenal's official website announced today that the club will be traveling once more to China but this time to play against Premier League rivals Manchester City. The game will take place in the 80,000-capacity Beijing National stadium also known colloquially as the "Birds Nest," which hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics
This will be the inaugural game of the “China Cup” which will be a one-off match between the two sides. Arsenal and Manchester City will lock horns on Friday, July 27th and the kick off will be 8 p.m. local time.
Arsenal traveled to China in their last preseason taking on Hangzhou Greentown, in a game that ended in a 1-1 draw. The Gunners' Asia tour also took them to Malaysia where they faced off against a Malaysian XI and won in comfortable fashion.
Manchester City has also traveled to Asia for preseason before but they haven’t been to that part of the world in over 15 years. It was in 1996 that the Sky Blues traveled to Tianjin, China, only getting to play one of their three scheduled fixtures due to flooding.
Interim Chief Executive Officer, John MacBeath, had this to say about the fixture:
This game will be a hugely exciting one for Manchester City. The ‘Bird’s Nest’ Stadium is a truly iconic world sporting stadium, and it will be a fitting venue to host a classic encounter between two of the English Premier League’s greatest clubs.
The Arsenal Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis also commented on the matchup:
We enjoy huge support in Asia and by playing a match in Beijing; we will once again be bringing the Club close to our loyal fans in China. The players and staff had an amazing time in China last year and we are all looking forward to visiting this great country again in July.
The match against Manchester City is sure to be an exciting spectacle, with many great players from both sides playing in front of thousands of supporters in the wonderful ‘Bird’s Nest’ Stadium. It is also fitting that two English clubs are playing each other on the opening day of the London 2012 Olympics, in the stadium which hosted the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
This looks set to be a fantastic occasion, with two great clubs from the Premier League on show for the Asian market, where we know there is a huge fanbase for the beautiful game.