Chelsea's not-so-spectacular US Tour is over, and they've returned to England to finish preseason preparations ahead of next week's Community Shield game against Manchester City from Villa Park. With just eight days left until the traditional curtain-raiser, Chelsea have time for only one more preseason match.
This, match, against Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion, who are managed by Former Blue Gus Poyet, should both be a fun match, and an easy one for us. That's not to say there should be huge pressure on the team, but it's the end of preseason, so the squad should be close to fitness, and near their best. If Chelsea can't put some hurt on a mid-table Championship side at this point, we should be a little bit worried, but not in crisis-mode.
Apart from the reunion with Gus Poyet, and the potential for a decent win for Chelsea, the biggest story is the potential reunion with another Former Blue. Manchester City left-back Wayne Bridge is on loan at Brighton, oddly-enough, and his ongoing feud with John Terry is well-known, if slightly silly, given the facts of the incident which caused it. In any case, expect this mildly-amusing subplot to rear its head again.
Who: Brighton & Hove Albion v. Chelsea
Where: The AMEX Stadium in Brighton, UK
When: 14:30 BST (9:30 EDT, 19:00 IST, 23:30 AEST)
TV: Chelsea TV (UK/International), GolTV (US)
Chelsea Team News: With Roberto di Matteo today confirming a clean bill of health for the Chelsea squad, and emphasising a need for several team members to get a full 90 minute spell, I think we can expect Chelsea to come with a strong lineup for the Brighton match. Expect fewer halftime substitutions as well, and more players lasting all 90 minutes. Since he managed only thirty minute on the US tour, expect Fernando Torres to start. It's hard to say if he'll get 90 minutes, but he should get 60.
Projected, but probably wrong Chelsea lineup: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole; Lampard, Essien; Ramires, Hazard, Marin; Torres.