UPDATE: Chelsea have posted a few official pictures from the first day as well, which looks to have entailed some fitness work for the dozen or so non-World Cup players.
The players pictured are: Emerson, Barkley, Pedro, Drinkwater, Ampadu, Morata, Alonso, David Luiz, Fabregas, Bakayoko, Zappacosta
The first image of the 2018-19 Chelsea preseason is here (the men’s team, that is, since the youth and the Women have already begun), and it’s courtesy of Cesc Fàbregas’s Instagram story, wherein his rather tanned legs are getting a rubdown from massage therapist Simon Morris.
Morris has been at Chelsea since 2009, and his job isn’t tied to any one coach or manager’s fate, which is generally true for most of the medical and sports therapy staff.
We had conflicting reports about the start of preseason, with most putting the date on Monday, July 9 (including Conte himself, apparently), but with players also getting called back a day or two early by the club. As many suspected, this probably means that for the first couple days, the players will just get some light fitness or recovery work before the real deal begins on Monday. Who will lead said training remains unclear, but things would have to start moving real fast for that to be someone other than Antonio Conte.
Fàbregas wasn’t the only one documenting his return to London from vacation in the last couple days, with teammates Álvaro Morata and Davide Zappacosta also posting recently about heading back. With barely any player movement or managerial changes, there should be a whole lot of familiar faces ready to reconvene this weekend at Cobham.
We’ll just have to wait and see how much drama that leads to.