As the 2012-13 Premier League season draws to a close, many teams and supporters have begun looking forward to the summer. Clubs utilise the months off to add new talent and showcase their current squad in friendly competitions around the world. One of the biggest pre-season competitions is the Barclays Asia Cup.
The biennial competition, which was founded in 2003, gives the Premier League’s immense Asian following an opportunity to see their favourite squads compete. As the only Premier League-affiliated competition held outside England, the cup attracts substantial attention and all matches are expected to fill the 40,000 seat Hong Kong Stadium.
This year’s Barclays Asia trophy will take place between 24-27 July in Hong Kong. The 2013 Cup will feature 2009 champions Manchester City, Sunderland, Tottenham Hotspur, and South China. If City win the Cup, they will match reigning champions Chelsea as the only clubs to win the competition twice. Chelsea defeated Aston Villa 2-0 in the Hong Kong Stadium to secure their 2011 trophy.
Tottenham centre back William Gallas said his club will not take the competition lightly. He told TottenhamHotspur.com, “Even though it’s a pre-season tournament, it’s always good to test yourselves against teams like Manchester City and Sunderland, to be ready for next season. It will also be interesting to play South China, to see their level.
“Tottenham is a big club and I know people in China and across Asia start to know us. We will want to show people how we play, and how good we are.”
Sunderland are also excited to showcase their talents in the far east once again. The Black Cats competed in last year’s Peace Cup in South Korea. They will look to redeem themselves, after a disappointing loss to Korean club Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma.