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Chelsea preseason schedule in ‘disarray’

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Friendly against Arsenal cancelled while Inter and Sevilla fixtures set to be moved to another date and venue

Arsenal v Chelsea: Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Yifan Ding/Getty Images

Chelsea’s managerial situation is not the only one that hangs unresolved. Our preseason schedule has had to be ripped up due to a combination of (semi-)competitive fixture developments as well as an apparent mistake by the ICC organizers — the latter according to a report published by Daily Mail.

Chelsea’s previously announced preseason schedule was as follows:

  • July 23: vs. Perth Glory in Perth, Australia
  • July 28: vs. Sevilla in Warsaw, Poland
  • August 1: vs. Internazionale in Gothenburg, Sweden
  • August 4: vs. Arsenal in Stockholm, Sweden

Out of these fixtures, only the first one remains set in stone, which is good because that’s been planned for well over a year now — not to mention, it’s quite a long trip to the other side of the world, and just a week after the World Cup final.

The other three previously scheduled fixtures — all part of the 2018 International Champions Cup summer pseudo-tournament — will have to be moved or flat out canceled.

By virtue of finishing 7th in La Liga (and losing to Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final), Sevilla have only qualified for the Europa League’s Second Qualifying Round, which means they have to play on July 26 and August 2, leaving very little room to squeeze in a friendly against Chelsea on the 28th. At best, this game probably will be rescheduled (new venue and/or time), but due to Sevilla’s already ridiculously busy early-season schedule, there’s a decent chance it ends up being canceled.

If they [Sevilla] get to the final round of the play-offs, they will play a total of 11 matches between July 26 and Sept. 2: six Europa League play-off games, three Liga fixtures and the two-legged Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona.

-source: Reuters

Similarly affected by real-ish fixtures is the match against Arsenal on August 4, which was canceled as soon as Chelsea won the FA Cup. That trophy means we have to play in the Community Shield, which is scheduled for the 5th, or a week before the Premier League’s first matchweek. The club had warned about this eventuality when the ICC fixtures were announced, in fairness.

For what it’s worth, the Community Shield is basically a friendly anyway, so this one doesn’t really hurt any potential preparations.

Lastly, there is the Blues’ friendly against Inter in Gothenburg, which will apparently have to be moved to another location, if not another time and day. So that’s not a good look for the ICC, especially if any fans had already booked themselves a nice little Swedish vacation.

In years past, Chelsea had played impromptu friendlies against local sides, be that QPR U23s or Atus Ferlach of the Austrian fourth division, to fill up the pre-season slate, and there’s a chance we do something similar if needed this summer as well. Still, considering all the other upheaval around the staff and the squad, this is certainly far from ideal at the moment. Let’s hope all these messes get sorted out sooner rather than later!