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Coming soon to a stadium near you: World-class soccer

By Tang Zhe (China Daily)

08:46, July 25, 2012

From left, Alex Song, Wojciech Szczesny, Theo Walcott, Johan Djourou, Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna and Vito Mannone of Arsenal pose in Hangzhou. (Photo/

Some of Europe's best clubs will be in China this week for exhibition matches

It's soccer week in China.

Several European clubs are making their way across the country, with just about every day this week featuring big-name stars and friendly matches.

Bundesliga giant Bayern Munich kicks things off on Tuesday with a game against Beijing Guo'an at Beijing Workers Stadium. English Premier League clubs Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United will follow.

Things will climax on Friday, when Premier League champion Manchester City will face Arsenal at the Bird's Nest hours before the opening of the London Olympics.

"It won't be as friendly a game as you may think," said Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany. "Two Premier League teams play each other, whatever way you look at it, the game will remind us that we have to play each other in the league. It might not be (a true test of where) the teams are, but definitely the game will be competitive at that moment."

The Gunners see the match as a crucial milestone as the club tries to assess its preseason preparation and new signings.

In March, Arsenal chief commercial officer Tom Fox said the team planned to bring its first-team squad. "This is a preseason preparation for us, and even though this is a friendly, we will show you what we bring to the field this summer. It will be a game and a competition," Fox said then at a news conference in Beijing.

There will also be competition off the pitch, as both clubs look to solidify their fan bases in China.

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