A sickness bug believed to be food poisoning has been slowly making its way through the Arsenal football squad during their pre-season tour and exhibition trip of the Far East.
Sead Kolasinac was physically sick on the pitch and had to leave the field during the 3-2 penalty shootout win over Bayern Munich at the Shanghai Stadium, and both Per Mertesacker and Olivier Giroud were unable to play a single minute. Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey both felt sick, but managed a few minutes on the pitch after coming off the bench.
Arsenal FC Manager Arsene Wenger said: “We have a virus in the camp. The doctor thinks it is food poisoning. Mertesacker and Giroud were sick. Kolasinac was sick. Theo Walcott and Aaron have had a little bit of food poisoning as well. I don’t know what they ate. If you ask me is it an ideal way to prepare physically, I say certainly not.”
There is a school of thought that the sudden and dramatic change in the climate which saw the Gunners transferring from Australia to China might have contributed to some of the health problems running through the side. The next fixture on the list is tomorrow (Saturday) when they take on their London rivals Chelsea at the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing.
Wenger was asked for his thoughts if the very long flights across the world combined with the changes in time zones and the weather is worth the hassle in the name of friendly matches.
“It is a good question. Unfortunately sometimes I give bad answers to good questions, but if you ask me if it is ideal physically to prepare, I say certainly not,” Wenger answered. “Does it have other advantages? Yes, because we can meet fans all over the world. The bonding in the team is easier as well because we live together for two weeks. So on that front it can be very positive, but the real answer will be given by the way we start in the championship.”