The first ‘mega’ clash of pre-season is here with Bayern Munich set to play Arsenal at the Shanghai Stadium and despite the tie being classified as a friendly, both European giants will be looking to make a statement of intent on Tuesday.
These summer fixtures have become more significant as European clubs look to tap into the near limitless potential of the Asian markets and while a loss would not be disastrous for their long-term ambitions, it would certainly not be ideal.
Both clubs underperformed last season and their managers, Carlo Ancelotti and Arsene Wenger, respectively, will be under pressure to win the high-profile clash.
Die Bayern have been busy in the summer transfer window, with Corentin Tolisso and Kingsley Coman making permanent moves. But it has been the acquisition of James Rodriguez that has got Bayern fans excited.
The Colombian midfielder has signed a two-year loan deal and the 26-year-old possesses all the tools to be a success at Bayern.
Giving Rodriguez company will be the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller and along with their fearsome attack, a formidable midfield is the chief reason they are heavy favourites to win this clash.
However, with Arturo Vidal and Manuel Neuer both unavailable, it is possible that a fast Arsenal side could hurt Ancelotti’s men on the counter.
Talking Corner: “It’s a new culture, a new club, a new life. But I’m really fired up, I’m dreaming big, and I’m hoping for great success here,” gushed Bayern midfielder James Rodriguez (as per www.fcbayern.com).
Injury concerns: Manuel Neuer (Metatarsal), Sven Ulrich (Elbow)
Suspension Alert: None
Arsenal have been no slouches in terms of transfers themselves, with the signings of Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette reinforcing the defence and attack respectively.
While talisman Alexis Sanchez is still on holiday after his exertions at the 2017 Confederations Cup, the Gunners have plenty of quality in their side with Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck all available.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been repeatedly linked with a move to Liverpool and the 23-year-old is at a crucial juncture in his Arsenal career for if he can impress Wenger in the next few weeks, he might just stay at the Emirates this season.
Fellow attackers Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud both are under pressure to prove that despite Lacazette’s arrival, they still have something to offer and with Bayern’s first-choice and back-up keeper missing, will be emboldened to find cracks in the German side.
Talking Corner: “Last season was not satisfying for me. The end was a fairytale but the way to that was very tough. I want to stay injury-free, be an option for the manager to get picked every weekend,” said Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker (as per www.arsenal.com).
Injury concerns: Gabriel Paulista (Knee), Jack Wilshere (Leg), Santi Cazorla (Achilles) and Joel Campbell (Knee)
Suspension Alert: None