While Palace may be participating in their first ever Premier League Asia Trophy competition next week, the tournament is now in its 14th year of existence having kicked off as far back as 2003.
The first tournament saw two Champions League participants meet in the inaugural final as Chelsea – just taken over by Roman Abramovich –took on Newcastle United in the final in Malaysia. The Blues had previously beaten the Malaysian national team while Sir Bobby Robson’s Magpies beat Birmingham City thanks to future-Eagle Shola Ameobi’s winner, but they would succumb to the Blues on penalties in the final after a goalless draw.
Two years later, another man with future Palace connections would lift the trophy as Sam Allardyce guided Bolton Wanderers to success over the Thailand national team in Bangkok with Manchester City and Everton the other participants.
In 2007, Hong Kong would host the competition for the first time which also saw Liverpool invited for the first time, who beat South China to meet Portsmouth in the final, who had edged past Fulham in the other semi-final. The Reds would leave empty-handed though as Pompey won a penalty shootout to claim the trophy.
China would be the competition’s next location in 2009 where Tottenham Hotspur beat James Tomkins’ West Ham United to reach the final, and they would meet Hull City who had seen off Beijing Guoan. Spurs ran out convincing 3-0 victors in the final helped by a brace by Jermain Defoe.
Chelsea would become the first team to win two tournaments when in 2011 they thrashed locals side Kitchee 4-0 in Hong Kong to reach the final, where they beat Aston Villa when Patrick van Aanholt featured for the Blues. Blackburn Rovers were the other participants.
Two members of the current Eagles squad would feature in the 2013 edition which again took place in Hong Kong, with Connor Wickham’s Sunderland beating Andros Townsend’s Tottenham in the first semi-final, before Manchester City beat South China 1-0 in the second game, both of which were reduced to 40 minute halves due to poor weather. City would pip the Black Cats to win the final 1-0, while Townsend netted in Spurs’ 6-0 thumping of South China in the third/fourth place play-off.
The current holders of the trophy are Arsenal, who won the 2015 tournament in Singapore by thumping a Singapore Select XI 4-0 in the semi with Chuba Akpom becoming the first player to score a hat-trick in the competition. The Gunners then cruised past Everton 3-1 in the final, with Stoke City making up the fourth side.
Premier League Asia Trophy roll of honour
Malaysia 2003: Chelsea
Thailand 2005: Bolton Wanderers
Hong Kong 2007: Portsmouth
China 2009: Tottenham Hotspur
Hong Kong 2011: Chelsea
Hong Kong 2013: Manchester City
Singapore 2015: Arsenal