Arsenal’s pre-season tour of China has started with fun as players are getting ready to play Chelsea in Saturday’s friendly at the Bird’s Nest. Before the match players were seen playing Table Tennis. Away from formal training, the Gunners have accommodated in a short space to spend some quality time between training and playing.

Playing other games during the pre-season tour is a trend. While Barcelona players famously play Ludo, others golf and video games are ever popular but the Gunners squad have taken to table tennis, considering the destination China as the sport enjoys the tag of a national sport. In fact, table tennis brought China gold medals from the last three Olympic Games.

Aaron Ramsey, Nacho Monreal, Granit Xhaka, Emiliano Martinez and Francis Coquelin were all pictured to try their hand in ping pong action at the Arsenal team hotel. With Arsenal’s professionals were involved it was never a friendly match among the players. The pictures show focused Monreal getting up close and personal after his win over Ramsey.

The Arsenal media team also took interest in the sport and post the photo on their official social media platform with a caption, ‘It got pretty heated between Rambo and Nacho at the ping-pong table earlier on’.

Xhaka, who was seen taking on Coquelin, glued his eyes to the ball during the shuttle. He posts it on his own social media with a caption, ‘It’s time for a bit of [table tennis emoji] before it goes back to the [football emoji]’.

The Arsenal players return to what they do best on Saturday when facing London rivals Chelsea some 5,000 miles from home. The English Premier League (EPL) will kick start on August 12 when Arsenal will take on Leicester City at Emirates Stadium.