Hey, check it out, there’s almost time for an official pre-season friendly! Chelsea of course already played once, beating Fulham 8-2 in a behind-closed-doors affair from which we’ve only seen highlights (Chelsea did start our strongest available lineup, for what it’s worth). But now we’ll be live and on TV (either on ITV or for free on Chelsea TV), so if you’re into pre-season football and drawing large conclusions from what are essentially meaningless matches, then this one’s for you!
That said, because it’s pre-season but it’s Conte, some of this does matter. He gave first-team spots to several players last season on the strength of their pre-season showings, including most importantly Victor Moses who went on to become a key player as the starting right wing-back. Nathaniel Chalobah, Ola Aina, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek also earned their spots, even if they played markedly less and now are all out on loan or have transferred out.
Who will be this season’s youth trio (or quarter/quintet, depending on how the rest of the squad shakes out)? These games will play a big part in determining that.