'It's a friendly, but it's not really'

We’ll see a fair bit of Chelsea before the new season gets underway.

The teams will meet in the Community Shield at Wembley on August 6 but before all that there’s a prestigious friendly at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing on Saturday.

Except, of course, when we meet Chelsea it’s always competitive.

“It’s always difficult to predict, but [although] it’s a friendly between Chelsea and Arsenal, it’s not really a friendly because there’s always some pride at stake and some London desire to have the superiority. 

“It was a very interesting game in the final of the FA Cup, and we play against Chelsea in the Community Shield, and again very early in the season. 

“We know each other very well and it’s difficult to know how prepared Chelsea are and how far we are with our preparations. Saturday will be a good indication of that and we were good against Bayern. This is another test for us before the season.”

We have pretty much a clean bill of health ahead of the game, but Theo Walcott may miss out. 

“Theo might not play,” said the boss. “Today we had 21 players fit. Theo was not ready to train and I don’t think he will be ready, but it’s nothing major.”

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