What do Reykjavik, Shanghai, Sydney, Nashville, Dar es Salaam and Woking all have in common? This summer they all play host to the now continent-spanning spectacle of a Premier League pre-season game.
Players have barely brushed the sand out of their beach towels yet Arsenal have already played two friendly fixtures in front of crowds exceeding anything that greeted them in the Premier League or Champions League last season — never mind that they’re over 10,000 miles away from home.
The Gunners, who have spent the last week in down under Sydney, are the biggest travellers in a globe-trotting season for Premier League clubs that will see them collectively clock up more than 170,000 miles of travel over land and sea.
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Elsewhere Manchester United and Manchester City swap cagoules for cowboy hats as they play out a Manchester “derby” in Nashville, Everton have becoming Premier League pioneers as the first side from the division to play in Tanzania and the people of Hong Kong will next week be treated to the mouth-watering prospect of West Brom vs Leicester.
While not every top tier side has gone on a brand boosting exhibition in the faraway but football fan-fruitful climes of China, America or Australia — plenty still choose the more spartan option of a boot camp in the Swiss Alps and a friendly in front of the local inn owner and his dog — all 20 teams will play at least one friendly abroad this summer.
Biggest traveller – Arsenal, 21,100 miles
Arsenal are covering more ground than anyone else this summer thanks to their long-haul journey to Sydney, not-insignifcant hop over to Shanghai, and return flight from Beijing. In total they will cover roughly 21,000 miles.
The Gunners take on Bayern Munich and Chelsea in China as part of the nebulous International Champions Cup. Once back home they can start focusing on the serious stuff, like the Emirates Cup. This year Benfica and Sevilla are the guests in North London.
Shortest traveller – Burnley, 837 miles
Typically no nonsense from manager Sean Dyche, Burnley’s single game abroad was about as close as you can get while still technically being overseas. The Clarets played Irish titans Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght last week and still managed to smash them 4-0 despite the 173 mile journey.
Most games – West Brom, 10
You can’t accuse Tony Pulis’ West Brom of not being prepared — their 10 official pre-season fixtures is two more than anyone else (both Manchester United and Liverpool are scheduled to play eight). Only Manchester United and Arsenal are covering more ground this summer.
Fewest games – Chelsea, 3
Chelsea are covering around 15,000 miles despite only having announced three friendlies; Arsenal in Shanghai, and Bayern Munich and Inter Milan in Singapore. Not bad calibre of opposition, but in fact Chelsea have actually arranged a number of behind closed doors fixtures for their players to get into shape.
Source : CityA.M.