Home / Football News / The fitness-finance balance – all the Premier League clubs’ pre-season games

The fitness-finance balance – all the Premier League clubs’ pre-season games

Defending champions Chelsea head to China and Singapore

Premier League clubs are aiming to strike the perfect balance between fitness and finance during their pre-season tours.

Australia, China and the United States are among the destinations for more than 100 fixtures this summer.

The 20 top-flight sides will also travel within Europe as they seek to combine the best pre-season training with brand promotion around the world.

The 25th Premier League season kicks off on 11 August.

It is a tough balancing act between getting the players ready for that new campaign and exploiting sponsorship opportunities, says football finance expert Rob Wilson.

“Last year, China seemed to be the significant market and a lot of teams focused on that – but the North American market is the one the teams have been looking at this summer, largely because of sponsorship values,” Wilson told BBC Sport.

“The clubs will be looking to pick up affluent sponsors and there is a nice alignment between American brands and sponsorship deals for the clubs to exploit.”

Wilson, from Sheffield Hallam University, says it is difficult to get the right pre-season training while reaping the financial benefits of a tour.

“The choice of friendlies in Germany and Austria is about season preparation being at the forefront of clubs’ minds, rather than looking for sponsorship deals,” he said. “Arsenal have always been very good at that in the past – putting football first. Others are much more focused on commercial drive.”

With no World Cup or European Championship this summer – though there was the Confederations Cup, won by Germany – managers and players will be more fully focused on preparing for the new domestic season.

Former QPR midfielder Bradley Simmonds is a fitness coach to players including former Chelsea and England captain John Terry and Arsenal forward Theo Walcott. He says there are some benefits to the long-distance travelling.

“Lots of teams go to different countries to experience playing against different sides, so if they come to play in the Champions League they are used to playing against a range of top sides,” he said.

Who plays where?

Defending Premier League champions Chelsea travel to China on 22 July to face familiar opposition in Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger’s Gunners side will have already played two matches in Australia by then as they notch up the most miles through July and August.

They meet again in the Community Shield the week before the league season kicks off.

Although Arsenal will travel the furthest, they will return to England to face Benfica and Sevilla before the end of July.

Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho meet up in the United States

Manchester United and Manchester City have lined up a derby meeting during their tour of the United States. Jose Mourinho’s United and Pep Guardiola’s City face each other in Houston, Texas on 21 July.

The fixture is part of the International Champions Cup in the USA, which also features Tottenham, Real Madrid, Juventus, Barcelona, Paris St-Germain and Roma.

Liverpool take part in the Audi Cup in Germany, where they face Bayern Munich and then either Atletico Madrid or Napoli.

Everton’s first trip is to Tanzania to face Kenyan champions Gor Mahia FC. The African side have just appointed former Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds defender Dylan Kerr as their head coach.

Premier League newcomers Huddersfield Town will travel to Austria at the start of August, but enjoy some trips closer to home during July when they face Accrington Stanley, Bury and Barnsley.

Watford are the first to get their pre-season under way, with a trip to Woking on 8 July.

Burnley and West Brom have chosen to divide their squad to play some fixtures on the same day.

Pre-season fixture list:

Arsenal

13 July: Sydney FC (ANZ Stadium, Sydney, Australia)

15 July: Western Sydney Wanderers (ANZ Stadium, Sydney, Australia)

19 July: Bayern Munich (Shanghai Stadium, Shanghai, China)

22 July: Chelsea (Bird’s Nest Stadium, Beijing, China)

29 July: Benfica (Emirates Stadium)

30 July: Sevilla (Emirates Stadium)

6 August: Chelsea (Community Shield, Wembley)

Bournemouth

15 July: Estoril Praia (Stadium Municipal, Marbella, Spain)

22 July: Portsmouth (Fratton Park)

29 July: Queens Park Rangers (Loftus Road)

30 July: Valencia (Vitality Stadium)

2 August: Yeovil Town (Huish Park)

6 August: Napoli (Vitality Stadium)

Brighton and Hove Albion

14 July: Fortuna Dusseldorf (Sportplatz St Ulrich, Austria)

22 July: Crawley Town (Checkatrade.com Stadium)

25 July: Southend United (Roots Hall)

29 July: Norwich City (Carrow Road)

1 August: Girona FC (Nou Estadi Municipal de Palamos, Catalonia, Spain)

6 August: Atletico Madrid (Amex Stadium)

Burnley

14 July: Shamrock Rovers (Tallaght Stadium, Dublin)

22 July: Kidderminster Harriers (Aggborough Stadium)

22 July: Alfreton Town (The Impact Arena)

25 July: Preston North End (Deepdale)

29 July: Nottingham Forest (City Ground)

1 August: Celta Vigo (Turf Moor)

5 August: Hannover 96 (Turf Moor)

Chelsea

22 July: Arsenal (Bird’s Nest Stadium, Beijing, China)

25 July: Bayern Munich (National Stadium, Singapore)

29 July: Inter Milan (National Stadium, Singapore)

6 August: Arsenal (Community Shield, Wembley)

Crystal Palace

15 July: Maidstone United (Gallagher Stadium)

19 July: Liverpool (Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong)

22 July: Leicester City or West Brom (Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong)

5 August: Shalke 04 (Selhurst Park)

Everton

13 July: Gor Mahia FC (National Stadium, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)

19 July: FC Twente (SV De Lutte, Overijssel, Netherlands)

22 July: KRC Genk (Luminus Arena, Genk, Belgium)

6 August: Sevilla (Goodison Park)

Huddersfield Town

12 July: Accrington Stanley (Wham Stadium)

16 July: Bury (Gigg Lane)

18 July: SV Sandhausen (BWT Stadium, Sandhausen, Germany)

22 July: Barnsley (Oakwell)

1 August: Stuttgart (Schwaz, Austria)

4 August: Torino (Jenbach, Austria)

Leicester City

19 July: West Brom (Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong)

22 July: Crystal Palace or Liverpool (Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong)

26 July: Luton Town (Kenilworth Road)

28 July: MK Dons (Stadium MK)

29 July: Wolverhampton Wanderers (Molineux Stadium)

1 August: Burton Albion (Pirelli Stadium)

4 August: Borussia Monchengladbach (King Power Stadium)

Liverpool

12 July: Tranmere Rovers (Prenton Park)

14 July: Wigan Athletic (DW Stadium)

19 July: Crystal Palace (Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong)

22 July: Leicester City or West Brom (Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong)

29 July: Hertha Berlin (Olympiastadion, Berlin, Germany)

1 August: Bayern Munich (Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany)

2 August: Atletico Madrid or Napoli (Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany)

5 August: Athletic Club (Aviva Stadium, Dublin)

Manchester City

21 July: Manchester United (NRG Stadium, Houston, USA)

27 July: Real Madrid (Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, USA)

29 July: Tottenham Hotspur (Nissan Stadium, Nashville, USA)

4 August: West Ham United (Laugardalsvollur National Stadium, Reykjavik, Iceland)

Manchester United

16 July: LA Galaxy (Stubhub Centre, Los Angeles, USA)

18 July: Real Salt Lake (Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, USA)

21 July: Manchester City (NRG Stadium, Houston, USA)

23 July: Real Madrid (Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, USA)

27 July: Barcelona (FedExField, Washington DC, USA)

30 July: Valerenga (Ullevaal Stadium, Oslo, Norway)

2 August: Sampdoria (Aviva Stadium, Dublin)

8 August: Real Madrid (Uefa Super Cup, Philip II Arena, Skopje, FYR Macedonia)

Newcastle United

14 July: Heart of Midlothian (Tynecastle Stadium, Edinburgh)

22 July: Preston North End (Deepdale)

26 July: Bradford City (Northern Commercials Stadium)

29 July: FSV Mainz 05 (Opel Arena, Mainz, Germany)

2 August: Wolfsburg (AOK Stadion, Wolfsburg, Germany)

6 August: Hellas Verona (St James’ Park)

Southampton

Training camps planned for Austria and France

22 July: Brentford (Griffin Park)

Stoke City

10 July: Neuchatel Xamax (Tissot Arena, Biel, Switzerland)

12 July: Young Boys Bern (Tissot Arena, Biel, Switzerland)

15 July: Monaco (Stade d’Octodure, Martigny, Switzerland)

25 July: Sheffield United (Bramall Lane)

29 July: Bolton Wanderers (Macron Stadium)

5 August: RB Leipzig (Red Bull Arena, Leipzig, Germany)

Swansea City

12 July: Barnet (The Hive Stadium)

15 July: Philadelphia Union (Talen Energy Stadium, Philadelphia, USA)

19 July: Richmond Kickers (City Stadium, Richmond, USA)

22 July: North Carolina FC (Sahlen’s Stadium, Cary, USA)

29 July: Birmingham City (St Andrew’s)

5 August: Sampdoria (Liberty Stadium)

Tottenham Hotspur

23 July: Paris St-Germain (Camping World Stadium, Orlando, USA)

26 July: Roma (Red Bull Arena, Harrison, USA)

29 July: Manchester City (Nissan Stadium, Nashville, USA)

5 August: Juventus (Wembley)

Watford

8 July: Woking (Laithwaite Community Stadium)

15 July: AFC Wimbledon (Cherry Red Records Stadium)

18 July: Viktoria Plzen (Austria)

22 July: SD Eibar (Austria)

29 July: Aston Villa (Villa Park)

5 August: Real Sociedad (Vicarage Road)

West Bromwich Albion

12 July: SK Slavia Prague (Kumberg Stadium, Kumberg, Austria)

19 July: Leicester City (Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong)

22 July: Crystal Palace or Liverpool (Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong)

26 July: Walsall (Banks’ Stadium)

26 July: Burton Albion (Pirelli Stadium)

29 July: Bristol Rovers (Memorial Stadium)

29 July: Slough Town (Kevin McGoldrick testimonial, Arbour Park)

1 August: Kidderminster Harriers (Aggborough Stadium)

1 August: Port Vale (Vale Park)

5 August Deportivo La Coruna (Estadio Riazor, A Coruna, Spain)

West Ham United

28 July: Werder Bremen (Osterwald Stadion, Schneverdingen, Germany)

29 July: Werder Bremen (Heinz-Dettmer Stadion, Lohne, Germany)

1 August: Altona 93 (Adolf-Jager-Kampfbahn Stadium, Hamburg, Germany)

4 August: Manchester City (Laugardalsvollur National Stadium, Reykjavik, Iceland)

Huddersfield Town are preparing for their first season in the Premier League

How do clubs choose where to travel?

Sheffield Hallam University’s Wilson said the USA was an obvious choice for many.

“When you look at Manchester United, they are heavily sponsored by American companies,” he said.

“It also ties in with the increased interest in MLS. The infrastructure is already in place, the stadiums are there and fans’ interest is there. Clubs already have associations with football in America.

“In the Far East it is more difficult to sort out, logistically, so clubs have to work much harder to make a success of a tour.”

He says the focus has switched slightly this summer.

“Clubs do tend to work on a cyclical basis – there was a lot of activity in the Far East last year. I was half expecting teams to do some work in Japan this summer, especially a club like Chelsea, who have their Yokohama shirt deal.

“But maybe it is because China are concentrating much more on the Chinese Super League, so there is a bit of a conflict and the tours would not get as much attention.

“In terms of other countries – such as Africa – there are problems of infrastructure. It is getting to the point, though, where a club might need to do something different.”

What impact does long-haul travel have on players?

Football fitness coach Simmonds, who is working with Manchester City’s young striker Patrick Roberts, says a lot of work goes into the pre-season tours.

“Obviously the travelling is going to take its toll, but the staff at these clubs know what they’re doing. Jet lag can cause a problem, but coaches and medical staff will make sure the players get enough rest,” he said.

“You can become stiff during long-haul flights especially after training, so your body needs to recover. But these players travel first class on flights so they will be able to stretch their legs and get rest.”

While the clubs might be looking at the financial benefits, Simmonds says the players will be solely focused on their fitness.

“They’ll be looking to get lots of game time, even players who may not play regularly during the season will play in as many games as possible.

“It’s all about strength and conditioning, making sure the core and glutes have been worked on. They’ve had four or five weeks off so they need to get the brain switched on. The players that have been drinking or not looking after their body quite as much as maybe they should need to get back into it.”

All fixtures are subject to change. BBC is not responsible for any changes.

Check Also

European Under-19 Championship: England beat Czech Republic to reach final

Lukas Nmecha helped Manchester City reach May’s FA Youth Cup final, which they lost to …

Marko Arnautovic: Stoke reject bid from West Ham for Austria forward

Marko Arnautovic has made 145 appearances for Stoke Stoke have rejected a bid from West …

Summer transfer window: Who is worth what?

We’re less than a fortnight into the summer transfer window, but Europe’s top clubs are …

Man City and Spurs U21s learn EFL Trophy groups

Coventry City won the EFL Trophy for the first time in their history in April …

Brazil winger Costa joins Juventus from Bayern on loan

Douglas Costa made 77 appearances for Bayern Munich Brazil winger Douglas Costa has joined Juventus …