Chelsea’s preparations for the upcoming season gets underway tonight against Wycombe Wanderers.
Jose Mourinho is looking to rediscover his taste for trophies this season and this match will give him a chance to test the youth strength of the team.
Key Players to Watch Out For
Kurt Zouma, Chelsea
Having spent the second half of last season on loan with St. Etienne following his January transfer to Chelsea, this summer is Kurt Zouma’s first opportunity to leave an impression on Mourinho.
With John Terry penning a one-year extension in west London, the Blues are safe in their senior first-team options at centre-back, but David Luiz’s exit for Paris Saint-Germain gives Zouma his shot at cracking the starting XI.
As shown by the club’s official Twitter account, the defender is already enjoying his time with the Premier League giants, while the Mirror’s Matt Lewis confirmed the Frenchman will feature on Wednesday:
First interview with Kurt Zouma http://t.co/Dd601DMNbn #CFC
— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) July 10, 2014
Kurt Zouma will feature for Chelsea at Wycombe Wanderers on Wednesday night. #CFC
— Matt Lewis (@mattlewis27) July 14, 2014
Wycombe will be far from the sternest test of Zouma’s credentials, admittedly, but a confident first appearance could set the tone for what promises to be a critical pre-season period.
Matt Bloomfield, Wycombe Wanderers
This fixture will be a special occasion for many at League Two Wanderers, but nobody in the squad will feel it’s more significant than Matt Bloomfield.
This match will serve as the 30-year-old’s testimonial, celebrating 10-and-a-half years at Adams Park, and Bloomfield remembers the last time he faced Chelsea, per BBC Three Counties Radio:
“I’ve got great memories of playing against them seven years ago. It’s going to be a fantastic night. It’s great for our club to be hosting Chelsea. It’s not very often they come to Wycombe.”
On that occasion, the Chairboys drew 1-1 with the Premier League side in the first leg of their 2006-07 League Cup semi-final.
This time around, the veteran midfielder will be hoping to go one better, albeit in less threatening circumstances.
Marco van Ginkel, Chelsea
Like Zouma, Marco van Ginkel will be almost an unknown face to the Chelsea supporters, having tragically suffered a season-ending knee injury not long after joining the club last summer.
However, Chelsea confirmed that the youngster is back in full training, and he will be confident that his progress can pick up this summer where it left off:
Marco van Ginkel is enjoying life… http://t.co/vBEgdhLR6C #CFC pic.twitter.com/7v38CDTpzO
— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) July 11, 2014
Prior to his injury, Van Ginkel was a highly valued prospect, having come off the back of a season with Vitesse Arnhem in which he scored eight goals and made 10 assists in 33 Eredivisie appearances, per Transfermarkt.
With the potential to soften the blow of Frank Lampard’s departure from Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will hold onto hopes of their box-to-box talent developing into something great.