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SOCCER

Arsenal and Chelsea line up friendly in Florida

Ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League clash between Chelsea and Arsenal, the rivals have announced a Florida pre-season friendly for July.

Update:
Chelsea's Christian Pulisic (left) evades Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior during the UEFA Champions League quarter final, second leg match at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Madrid. Picture date: Tuesday April 12, 2022. (Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images)
Nick Potts - PA ImagesGetty

Premier League rivals Arsenal and Chelsea will meet in a pre-season friendly in Orlando, Florida, the two clubs announced on Tuesday.

A stateside London derby, set for Camping World Stadium in downtown Orlando on 23 July, will mark the culmination of the week-long ‘FC Series’, an expansion of the Florida Cup featuring clubs from across the globe. The Gunners have announced they will travel to Major League Soccer outfit Orlando City on 20 July before meeting the Blues, while Chelsea are to play two as-yet unknown opponents on 16 and 20 July.

The announcement came ahead of the two sides’ Premier League meeting on Wednesday night, with Thomas Tüchel’s men looking to complete a first league double over the Gunners since 2015-16, having won 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium earlier this season. Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta told the club’s official website he was pleased to see the team’s pre-season plans taking shape, as he eyes their first top-four Premier League finish since 2016.

“We’re very pleased to see our pre-season plans taking shape with the announcement of our trip to the United States to take part in the FC Series,” he said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve seen our fans in the US, and we’re looking forward to playing in front of them.”

Chelsea’s technical and performance advisor Petr Cech, meanwhile, said the reigning European champions were looking forward to performing in front of their large American fanbase. “We’ve always had a lot of success on our US tours, taking so many fans to the stadiums and giving them the opportunity to see Chelsea FC play live,” he said. “We have a huge fan base in the US that we’ve proudly built, and we’ve seen that fanbase getting bigger and bigger every year. We are delighted to go and play in the FC Series and the Florida Cup.”

Chelsea and Arsenal also met in a pre-season friendly before the start of the current campaign, Kai Havertz and since-departed striker Tammy Abraham scoring in the Blues’ 2-1 success at the Emirates.

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