Given that Chelsea and Vitesse enjoy a special relationship, we thought we'd try something new for covering the lead up to tomorrow's friendly at the Gelredome in Arnhem.
Welcome to the WAGNH Chelsea - Vitesse live blog!
We're going to constantly update this page with news, pictures, videos, musings, and the chatter on social media in the lead up tomorrow's match in an attempt to provide a unique look into what the clubs are up to in Arnhem.
For background on our Cobham East cousins, we've got you covered with everything you could ever want to know, but if you're not interested in swimming through 30+ articles on Vitesse (we wouldn't blame you), just know that Chelsea and Vitesse are buddies. We send them some of our best prospects, and in return, they give those prospects the opportunity to earn first team football that they wouldn't have had at Chelsea (either due to the inability to secure an English work permit or simply due to the fact that it's incredibly difficult for a young, inexperienced player to carve out minutes at Chelsea). The ties run deep, and Chelsea has sent Vitesse thirteen different players since the clubs began working together prior to the start of the 2010-11 season. Right now, Bertrand Traore and Wallace are with Vitesse, and there's still a good possibility that more of their Chelsea teammates join them in Arnhem this season.
Chelsea and Vitesse were supposed to train yesterday, but the weather had other plans. Heavy rains caused flooding in Arnhem, and here's a picture of a Vitesse employee battening down the hatches at the team shop.
Petr Cech saw the humour in the conditions, as well.
Looks like we will have some fun training in Arnhem :-) pic.twitter.com/IhKlYXaCtP— Petr Cech (@PetrCech) July 28, 2014
Fortunately the weather looks much nicer today, and both clubs were at Vitesse's amazing training centre at Papendal earlier today. Vitesse is also getting a run-in at the Gelredome, Vitesse's stadium, today.
Didier Drogba was training today and will likely make his second Chelsea debut tomorrow.
It should come as no surprise, but Vitesse has chosen Marco van Ginkel as the face of Chelsea for a contest the club is holding on Facebook (by the way, if you want a chance to win a Chelsea or Vitesse shirt, just "like" their post and let them know which club's shirt you want).
Van Ginkel joined Vitesse when he was just seven years old and will always remain a fan favourite. While he was rehabbing last season, he travelled back to the Gelredome for a visit last December. Thanks to Vitesse's amazing video team, you can see for yourself how the Vitesse faithful gave him a very warm welcome back.
Bertrand Traore might have a blue heart, but he bleeds black and yellow (and should probably should get that checked out). For more on Traore, including an exclusive story from the training ground on how he blew away manager Peter Bosz, check out this article from earlier this month.
Bertrand Traore on playing for Vitesse against Chelsea on Wednesday: "This is a really big game... of course, I'll play to win" #cfc— Jake Cohen (@JakeFCohen) July 28, 2014
Here's Tim Linthorst, one of Vitesse U21 players, with Jose Mourinho. For a young player, it has to be the thrill of a lifetime to not only meet Jose Mourinho, but also get a chance to play against some of the biggest stars in the world, like Didier Drogba, Eden Hazard, John Terry, Cesc Fabregas, and of course, Cesar Azpilicueta.
Want to catch up with everything that happened with Vitesse in 2013 in under ten minutes? Video team has you covered.
Want to learn about Arnhem native and Vitesse legend Theo Janssen? Eredivisie expert Peter McVitie has you covered and this article is a must-read.
One of the reasons I enjoy following Vitesse is the truly unique culture of the club. Where else on the planet can you find family-friendly ultras? "Oh, don't mind me, young families with toddlers, I'm just going to light these flares." And the great thing is that no one in the crowd seems to mind one bit.
Just a regular day at Vitesse's training, and the club often welcomes the community to attend. This week, however, at Chelsea's request, the training centre at Papendal is closed to the public.
Looks like Happy Zouma has met his match.
Just realised Vitesse have a player named Marvelous Nakamba.— Mark Will Stinson (@TheWSNetwork) July 29, 2014
For a bit on what to expect from Vitesse tomorrow, Peter Bosz would tell you that he deploys a standard 4-2-3-1 formation, but their two "defensive" midfielders are really DM's in name only. Davy Propper and whoever his partner will be this season are much more offensive minded than defensive minded. I see the lineup more as a 1-0-8-1 formation, and I'm only half-kidding.
On Propper's pivot partner, Kelvin Leerdam could move from right back, and every Chelsea fan should be rooting for this. As long as Leerdam is the right back, Wallace has almost zero chance of supplanting him, and the young Brazilian is just as unlikely to play regularly at right wing, where Renato Ibarra, who just spent the summer with Ecuador at the World Cup, is firmly entrenched.
Leerdam, by the way, is Vitesse's leading returning goalscorer from last season, with Lucas Piazon and Mike Havenaar no longer with the club (eight goals, no small feat considering they all came from the right back position).
Peter Bosz most often paired Marko Vejinović with Propper last season, and we could see that partnership return.
Aside from the goalkeepers (and even Piet Velthuizen, Vitesse's starting goalkeeper, came up for a corner in the late stages of a match last season when Vitesse was looking for a late goal, and rather than racing back to, you know, be a goalkeeper, he decided he wanted to be a striker for the rest of the match, and did just that), centrebacks Guram Kashia and Dan Mori are the only Vitesse players I've ever seen who put defense ahead of offense.
Kashia is Vitesse's captain (he also captains the Georgian national team) and appears to have the best qualities of David Luiz and John Terry, so he's easy to root for. Mori isn't a regular starter, and fills in as Vitesse's lone defensive player whenever Kashia picks up too many yellow cards and has to sit out (which happens more often than you'd think).
Kashia's partner Jan-Arie van der Heijden graduated from the David Luiz School for Kids who Can't Centreback Good and Want to do Other Stuff Good Too, so he's nothing if not entertaining.
Vitesse's fullbacks play like wingbacks, and I would expect to see a free-flowing, high-scoring affair. As a result of Vitesse's aggressive style of play, their matches are almost never boring.
One of the best things about Chelsea playing Vitesse is that we're likely to get the full Sfeerverslag treatment from the Vitesse video team. Sfeerverslag is probably (not) the Dutch word for "cinematic masterpiece," and after every match, the video team churns out one of two videos. If Vitesse plays well, the video team usually puts out Sfeerverslag. If the club doesn't play well, then it'll put out Terugblik, which is almost as good.
Here's a great example, where Vitesse and Lucas Piazon came back to beat their rivals NEC on their own pitch (pay extra close attention at 0:27 and keep that in mind the next time someone tries to tell you Lucas Piazon isn't a physical player).
Here's another one
Annnd one more. We really need to find a way to either bring their video team on loan to show our video team how its done, or send our video team over there to develop. How has this not happened yet?!