At last, after almost 50 days of nothingness, real football is back. Or at least partially, as Chelsea face New York Red Bulls in their opening fixture of this season. Labeled as a friendly, this match is part of the International Champions Club; a club competition featuring teams from all around Europe and America.
This game, from Chelsea’s point of view, will offer the players a lukewarm chance to get their feet sorted out, and finally get their heads out of the summer holidays. This will also help them gear up for the bigger friendlies against the likes of PSG and Barcelona. As the old saying goes, ‘No practice is better than match practice.’
Team News for Chelsea-
Chelsea have sent a 23 member squad to America for the USA tour. The squad includes-
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois, Asmir Begovi?, Jamal Blackman
Defenders: John Terry, Gary Cahill, Kurt Zouma, Branislav Ivanovi?, César
Azpilicueta, Ola Aina, Jake Clarke-Salter
Midfielders: John Obi Mikel, Ramires, Cesc Fàbregas, Nemanja Mati?, Oscar, Eden Hazard, Victor Moses, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Nathaniel Chalobah
Forwards: Diego Costa, Loïc Rémy, Dominic Solanke, Bertrand Traoré
Strangely, Mohamed Salah hasn’t been included in the squad. Jose had the following to say about the status of the Egyptian.
“I see Salah’s future elsewhere, either as a loan or an offer that we are happy to accept. At the moment, with Hazard and Willian, Traore, Moses and Cuadrado, we have five players for these positions. It is better not to have so many.”
Source – Goal.com
Meanwhile, it also looks like fullback Filipe Luis could also not join the squad, as according to many reports, he is joining Atletico Madrid, with the negotiations at an advanced state.
The Copa America players, Willian, Filipe Luís, Falcao, and Juan Cuadrado received extended post-Copa America vacations. and will be expected to join the first team sometime this week and will be surely out of this game.
The New York Red Bulls, are coming off a 2-0 victory over Orlando City in a Major League Soccer game on Saturday. The manager, Jesse March will try to save his A-team for the US Open Cup semifinals if they win their quarterfinal match against the Philadelphia Union on Tuesday.
Since this is a friendly, there can be as many substitutions as either team wants, hence defeating the purpose of an expected starting lineup. We might even see 2 completely different Chelsea XI on each half.
As this is the first friendly in this season, we will most likely see a game played at half the intensity. This will also be the first Chelsea appearance for Asmir Begovic, signed from Stoke City. The youngsters obviously see this as a big chance to impress Jose Mourinho or any potential loan suitors, hence will be expected to deliver more than the first team regulars. Yet, the English Champions are big favorites, and should win at least by 2 goals.
Venue-Red Bull’s Arena in Harrison, New Jersey
Kickoff- 8PM local time, 1:00AM BST, 5:30AM IST.