Arsene Wenger will have to wait and see whether the Asia tour impacts on the start to Arsenal’s Premier League campaign after a bout of suspected food poisoning hit several members of his squad for the friendly against Bayern Munich.
The Gunners drew 1-1 against the Germans in sweltering Shanghai on Wednesday following a stoppage-time equaliser from Alex Iwobi before winning a penalty shoot-out 3-2.
Defender Per Mertesacker and striker Olivier Giroud, however, were not able to take part in the match because of illness, while Sead Kolasinac, the summer signing from Schalke, had to go off during the first half as he was also taken unwell.
Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey were affected as well, but could feature from the substitutes’ bench.
With centre-half Laurent Koscielny already carrying a a back problem and assistant manager Steve Bould set to make his way back to London following surgery on a disc problem in his neck which was done in Australia, Wenger accepted it was perhaps not the most ideal preparation from a football perspective at least.
“He (Kolasinac) was sick as well. We have a little virus in the camp, Aaron finished (feeling) bad, Walcott, Mertesacker, Giroud – they all had a little bit of food poisoning.
“The doctor thinks it is food poisoning. I don’t know (what they may have eaten),” Wenger said at a post-match press conference in Shanghai reported on the club’s official website.
“It was a bit of a shock coming here from Australia, where we were freezing at times. We worked very hard on Monday and Tuesday, so I was a bit scared that tonight could have big problems.
“In fact in the first half we suffered a bit, but in the second half we became physically sharper and maybe Bayern dropped as well. It was an interesting game for us because we had to dig deep and I think we will benefit from it.”
Arsenal will next meet Premier League champions Chelsea, whom they beat in the FA Cup final, in Beijing on Saturday before returning to England ahead of the Emirates Cup and the Community Shield at Wembley on August 6.
The new domestic campaign kicks off with a home match against Leicester on Friday August 11.
Wenger said: “If you ask me is it ideal physically to prepare, certainly not, but it does have other advantages because we can meet fans all over the world so that is a positive.
“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 Premier League.”
Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez was not part of the travelling squad as he was given some extra time off following Chile’s run to the final of the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.
The former Barcelona man has been linked with a move away from the Emirates Stadium before the end of the transfer window, with both Manchester City and Paris St Germain said to ready to offer a big-money deal for the 28-year-old.