Arsenal and Manchester City will kick start their rivalry early this season; the two Premier League giants go head-to-head in a pre-season friendly in China, at Beijing's National Stadium. The defending English champions and the beleaguered Gunners will face-off in an attempt to clinch bragging rights before the serious business begins, later in August.
Roberto Mancini's high-profile squad started their pre-season still, it appeared, hung-over from the celebration of their first league title in 44 years. The Citizens were beaten 0-1 by Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal. They improved marginally in their next game, holding German club Dynamo Dresden to a draw before hitting their stride with a 2-0 win over Turkish giants Besiktas. The Gunners, meanwhile, started their new campaign with a nervy 2-1 win over a Malaysian XI.
The last time these two sides met was at the Emirates for a league game, in which a thunderous strike by Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta saw the Gunners through. The match, however, was better remembered for rash tackles by City's Italian striker Mario Balotelli, who escaped punishment for a horrific challenge on Arsenal's Alex Song but eventually got himself sent off for a foul on defender Bacary Sagna.
However, all in all City definitely had the edge over Arsene Wenger's side last season, with wins in the league (at the Etihad) and the Carling Cup to counter the defeat at the Emirates. Their next competitive game will be another league fixture, at the Etihad, on 23 September.
Probable Line-up and Formation
Vito Mannone; Carl Jenkinson, Thomas Vermaelen, Johan Djourou, Kieran Gibbs; Abou Diaby, Thomas Eisfeld, Mikel Arteta; Andre Santos, Gervinho, Marouane Chamakh
Manchester City (4-4-2)
Costel Pantilimon; Kolo Toure, Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Aleksander Kolarov; Lopes Lopes, Abdul Razak, Adam Johnson, Yaya Toure; Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero
Arsenal 0 - Manchester City 2
The Gunners are likely to be in for a difficult evening, given the general state of transition they are in. The lack of experience in the defence, particularly in the full back region, should bode well for City's forward line, even if the likes of David Silva, Samir Nasri and Mario Balotelli are unavailable. Aguero and Tevez will be another handful for Vermaelen and Koscielny. Meanwhile, Arsenal's midfielders will have to put in a double shift against the likes of Yaya Toure, while Chamakh will have to play out of his skin to trouble the Citizen's defence, based on last season's performances.
Where to Watch Live
You can follow all the action live, from 1 pm BST, on ESPN HD. You can also follow the action, live, online, via the ArsenalPlayer on the club's official Web site.