Life on tour: Ranking each Premier League club by the success of their trips to Asia
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Life on tour: Ranking each Premier League club by the success of their trips to Asia

JULY is the month when England’s football teams head out on tour – and Asia has this year welcomed Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Leicester City, Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion.

With the exception of Chelsea, who face Inter Milan in Singapore on Saturday, the teams have all now moved on to their next destination.

SEE ALSO: It’s part-sport and part-business as Liverpool FC arrives in Hong Kong

As ever, the teams have generated their usual mix of on-field and off-field headlines while on tour.

We have ranked all six Premier League clubs on the success of their July 2017 trips to Asia.


Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha in action with West Bromwich Albion’s Craig Dawson in Hong Kong. Source: Reuters/Bobby Yip.

6) West Bromwich Albion

West Brom will not be overly concerned by their pre-season so far, which includes defeats against Slavia Prague in Austria and against Crystal Palace in Hong Kong (not to mention their penalty loss against Leicester City).

But football fans in Hong Kong certainly did not get to see the best of Tony Pulis’s team, who finished 10th in the Premier League last season.

Yes, they were one penalty miss away from a spot-kick to reach the final, and it was harsh on youngster Sam Field to miss the crucial kick. But overall, Chinese-owned West Brom had a quiet trip to Asia, albeit with Pulis doing some sterling public relations work off the field.

Biggest plus: Manager Tony Pulis, who had a spell playing for Happy Valley in the early 1980s, was delighted to return to Hong Kong.

Biggest disappointment: The results. It’s only pre-season, yes, but the Baggies managed only one goal in their 180 minutes, Jay Rodriguez’s effort against Leicester City.

5) Crystal Palace

Palace, despite a bright start in which Wilfried Zaha looked especially lively, were comfortably beaten by Liverpool in their Premier League Asia Trophy semi-final.

But Frank De Boer’s team looked good in their 2-0 third-place play-off game against West Brom, with Zaha again catching the eye. According to De Boer, the winger was targeted by West Brom’s players.

“They were looking for him, to injure him,” said new boss De Boer. “He’s one of the exciting players in the league. I don’t want to think he’d be out for two weeks or months.”

Biggest plus: That Wilfried Zaha is in such fine form he’s deemed worthy of rough treatment by Premier League defences.

Biggest disappointment: That Wilfried Zaha is in such fine form he actually receives said rough treatment from Premier League defences.


Premier League champions Chelsea were 3-0 winners against London rivals Arsenal in Beijing. Source: Reuters/Jason Lee

4) Arsenal

It seems much longer than a week since the Gunners edged out a near-full-strength Bayern Munich team on penalties at Shanghai Stadium following an encouraging 1-1 draw.

Despite several players suffering what Arsene Wenger said was food poisoning, Arsenal trailed to Robert Lewandowski’s early opener until Alex Iwobi struck in injury time. They then won 3-2 on penalties.

The Gunners were brought back to earth three days later in Beijing, however, when they conceded three goals in nine minutes either side of half-time to lose 3-0 against London rivals Chelsea.

Biggest plus: Iwobi’s goal against Bayern capped a dogged display against top-quality opposition, and was followed by that rare thing: an English team beating a German one on penalties.

Biggest disappointment: Either the food poisoning that affected several players or the nine-minute capitulation against Chelsea.

3) Leicester City

It’s not all that long since Leicester stunned the football world by winning the Premier League.

That said, they were arguably the fourth biggest draw when it came to the touring English clubs in Asia this month.

The Foxes have also undergone significant change since that heroic title win, with Claudio Ranieri departing as manager and being replaced with Craig Shakespeare.

Leicester had a more than respectable tour, beating West Bromwich Albion on penalties in the opening game in Hong Kong, after a 1-1 draw, before taking the lead against Liverpool in the final.

Islam Slimani’s bullet header put Leicester in front, before two outstanding goals denied them the Premier League Asia Trophy.

Biggest plus: Two excellent goals, one by Riyad Mahrez and the other by Slimani, in two encouraging performances.

Biggest disappointment: Not being able to close out victory against Liverpool in the final in Hong Kong.


Philippe Coutinho, who has been linked with a move to Barcelona, scores a stunning goal to win the Premier League Asia Trophy for Liverpool. Source: Reuters/Bobby Yip

2) Chelsea

Chelsea’s tour has been a story of highs and lows, with very little in between.

The nature of Kenedy’s prompt departure following offensive social media posts he made while in China, allied with the team’s woeful defending against Bayern Munich in Singapore, has almost erased memories of their opening game.

That is a shame, because Antonio Conte’s Premier League champions sizzled against Arsenal at the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing, winning 3-0 with Michy Batshuayi scoring twice and looking the part.

Chelsea also signed Alvaro Morata while in Asia, but the way they fell 3-0 down against Bayern in Singapore – albeit before clawing it back to 3-2 – was concerning.

Chelsea conclude their tour against Inter Milan in Singapore on Saturday – but even a comfortable victory would leave them adrift of Liverpool in terms of who had the better trip to Asia.

Biggest plus: The scintillating attack play against Arsenal, especially Batshuayi’s form in front of goal

Biggest disappointment: Kenedy was foolish but the defending against Bayern was perhaps even more naive.

1) Liverpool

Juergen Klopp’s team packed a lot into their six days in Hong Kong. From launching their garish new third kit at the top of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel to performing various social and commercial activities, the Reds did not lose sight of their main purpose: winning matches and entertaining their large Hong Kong fanbase.

They looked anything but jet-lagged as they brushed Crystal Palace aside in the second Premier League Asia Trophy semi-final, thanks to goals from new signing Dominic Solanke and Divock Origi.

In the final, they reacted to falling 1-0 down against Leicester by scoring two superb goals, the first from summer recruit Mohamed Salah, the second a stunner from Philippe Coutinho.

Biggest plus: Won a trophy by playing entertaining football, which in turn delighted their supporters.

Biggest disappointment: The speculation that Barcelona will attempt to lure Coutinho away began while Liverpool were in Hong Kong.