Chelsea and Inter Milan meet for the first time in almost exactly four years, since a similar meeting in the International Champions Cup summer extravaganza slash marketing exercise in August 2013. Mourinho’s Chelsea beat Walter Mazzarri’s Inter, 2-0 in that game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Interestingly, that was but one of seven official pre-season games scheduled for Chelsea that summer, while this one will the last of just three officially scheduled ones this year. Even if we include the behind-closed-doors scrimmage against Fulham and the Community Shield against Arsenal next weekend, Chelsea’s pre-season schedule has been unfashionably light. With Conte’s emphasis on training ground work, it’s perhaps understandable — he had no input on the plans for last summer, this year’s program was possibly a lot more to his preference.
In any case, it’s Chelsea against Inter in Singapore, and then it’s back to London for more work work work work work work.
Date / Time: Saturday, July 29, 12:35 BST; 7:35am EDT; 5:05pm IST
Venue: National Stadium, Singapore
Forecast: Hot hot hot
On TV: Premier Sports (UK); ESPN2, ESPN Deportes (USA); Sony TEN 2 (India); elsewhere
Chelsea team news: Conte already confirmed that he intends to field a the “best starting eleven” just as he has all pre-season. That will include new signing Álvaro Morata from the start, with Antonio Rüdiger, who joined up with the team earlier this week, set to make a second-half apperance. One more new arrival in camp is young left wing-back Cristian Cuevas, who’s been drafted in as the replacement for Kenedy.
Inter Milan team news: The Nerazzurri are coming off of a 2-0 win over Bayern on Thursday, with a brace from Éder (the Italian one, not the Portuguese one) completing a less than pretty win for the famed Italian team that’s fallen on harder times in recent years.
Their big summer arrival, other than former AS Roma manager Luciano Spaletti (after weeks of rumors that it would be Conte himself), is young Slovak center back Milan Škriniar who had a few memorable tussles with Tammy Abraham at this summer’s U21 Euros, but they are largely hoping for overall improvement through individual improvement from some of their younger talents like Geoffrey Kondogbia and João Mário and Gabriel Barbosa (unless he goes on loan), and hanging on to the likes of Ivan Perišić and Marcelo Brozović and Stevan Jovetić if at all possible. And of course Mauro Icardi, who’s a game-changer by himself but will not be playing against Chelsea due to injury.
View from the enemy: Serpents of Madonnina
Preferred lineup: WAGNH’s preference overwhelmingly remains for a strong starting lineup, but the interesting part is the growing preference (and hope?) for a shift to a 3-5-2 (39%).
Courtois (76%) | Rüdiger (72%), David Luiz (72%), Azpilicueta (71%) | Alonso (81%), Kanté (91%), Fàbregas (70%), Moses (64%) | Morata (91%), Batshuayi (57%), Willian (67%)