90+3min: FULL TIME. Chelsea win!
90+1min: GOAL! Rakitic. After blasting the free kick well over, Rakitic picks out the top corner from 25 yards with an absolute powerdrive. No chance for Kepa on that one. 2-1.
90min: Drinkwater steps on Malcom’s toes just outside the area. The free kick flies well high.
88min: Kenedy’s down to get some treatment on the left calf. Seems okay to carry on.
86min: Kenedy with solid effort on the right, but can’t quite pick out Giroud with the final ball. Kenedy appears to have picked up some sort of knock at the same time.
81min: GOAL!!! BARKLEY!! Somewhat out of nowhere, Barkley surprises everyone by taking a shot with his left foot from 20 yards out, and it finds the tiny sliver of space between Semedo, Neto, and the goalpost! Precise finish, that. 2-0, CHELSEA!!
80min: Giroud holds the ball up well to establish Chelsea in the final third and some solid passing leads to a Batshuayi chance, but he takes one too many touches and the chance is gone.
77min: Alonso steps up to midfield to win the ball high and puts in a great ball for Batshuayi, but his shot is saved. Should’ve done a bit better.
76min: Zouma’s down after a Barcelona player lands on his foot while it was in an awkward position, but fortunately the big defender looks alright to carry on.
73min: Chelsea corner’s taken by Barkley, cleared at the near post. Barkley takes it again, but the effort is even worse this time and is easily defended.
72min: Barkley this time with the great ball for Kenedy cutting across right to left, but he gets his control all wrong.
70min: Kovacic, Pedro, Azpilicueta, Jorginho OFF Batshuayi, Drinkwater, Zappacosta, Bakayoko ON
69min: Glorious switch of the ball from Kovacic finds Alonso, who works a 1-2 and then fires the ball across the area, which is cleared just ahead of Kenedy.
68min: Alonso steps up to intercept a ball and finds Giroud with a long pass. He lays it back to Barkley who gets Chelsea moving forward before giving it to Kenedy on the right. He checks back for a left-footed cross, which is far too long for Giroud.
66min: Latest Barca long shot comes from Rakitic. Kepa collects and gets Chelsea moving the other way. There it’s Kenedy who tries a shot first with his left, then with his right; neither successful. Good, quick build-up however.
63min: Chelsea have a spell of possession to change things up, and eventually Kenedy takes aim from 25 yards, his shot takes a wicked deflection but Neto’s alert to make the reaction save.
61min: Another good save and no rebound from Kepa as Rafinha arrives for Perez’s cutback.
60min: Pulisic, Abraham, Mount done for the day; Barkley and Giroud and Kenedy on. Barkley sets up in the center, behind Giroud, with Kenedy on the right.
58min: Barca again work the ball right to left and Aleña has a shooting chance from 20 yards. Kepa’s down quickly to make the save at full stretch.
57min: Chelsea force a turnover with the high press, but Pedro opts for the 25-yard shot, which does not trouble new Barcelona goalkeeper Neto.
56min: Barca going through the gears again as Chelsea’s defense scrambles, but Kepa makes the save again.
55min: Barca break the press and a line-breaking pass finds Carles Perez, who’s allowed to run at goal, but Kepa is once again on hand to make the save.
53min: Rafinha tests Kepa from 20 yards. No problem for the Chelsea keeper.
52min: Chelsea try to build, but errant passes and couple loose touches prevent any fluidity.
51min: Second half starts as the first, with Barcelona holding much of the ball and Chelsea shifting the defensive block well side-to-side to keep them in check.
46min: Barcelona restart the match after wholesale half-time changes, including Frenkie De Jong. Chelsea switch out David Luiz for Zouma, Christensen for Tomori, and Emerson for Alonso.
HALF-TIME: Chelsea started on the back foot, but improved as the half went on and grabbed the lead through Jorginho and Abraham. Good work so far!
45+2min: A great turn from Kovacic to get Chelsea moving forward and find Pulisic. His through ball for Abraham is excellent, who’s in 1-v-1, but is flagged just offside. And that’s the final action of the half!
45+1min: Barcelona get some possession and eventually work a wide-angle shot for Griezmann, but it doesn’t trouble Kepa as it flies wide.
44min: Chelsea win a corner, Mount takes, but Piqué clears ahead of Abraham. Emerson gets it back, but gives it away with an errant switch.
42min: Another uncalled foul gets Barcelona back on the ball and going forward. David Luiz steps up but he’s beaten to the ball and Dembélé has a free shot from the top of the box, but Kepa’s down quickly to smother the effort.
40min: Pulisic on the counter, beats his man and is in on goal, but the angle is tough and the left-footed effort is into the side-netting.
39min: David Luiz steps up and continues his run through before an uncalled challenge from Riqui Puig causes him to lose the ball. No worries, David gets the little man back shortly after and the referee has a calming word.
35min: GOAL! ABRAHAM! Jorginho presses high on Busquets and blocks the pass, which falls straight to Abraham all alone at the top of the box. He steps around Ter Stegen and slots coolly into the back of the net. Lovely finish; good press. 1-0, CHELSEA!
31min: Griezmann tees up Dembélé for a shot from the top of the box, but Pedro’s back again to block and Kepa catches the looping ball.
28min: Chelsea work another great chance, this time from the right, Azpilicueta pulling a cutback straight across the top of the box, where Pulisic arrives, but swings too late and puts it wide left.
24min: Pedro finds Mount with a long ball, and he bullies Umtiti to create a 20-yard shot, which he puts over the bar as well.
23min: Abraham misses an open goal! Chelsea play out from the back and Jorginho breaks the lines with a great pass to midfield. Kovacic comes forward, combines with Emerson and finds Pulisic. He cuts inside and has a go, which Ter Stegen parries, right into the path of Abraham ... who puts it over the bar. Have to score those...
21min: Mount with a great shield and turn after Chelsea keep the ball for a second, but his through ball is too strong for Abraham.
20min: Griezmann with a shooting opportunity after Kovacic slips, but David Luiz is on hand to block it. Barca retain possession but Pedro helps back to win it back from his former team.
18min: Chelsea with a bit of the ball on the right, play it in to Abraham who lays it back to Pedro, but his long bomb is straight back into the stomach of Abraham. Meanwhile, Jorignho and Griezmann slide together in a 50-50, clashing knees, and the latter’s down for a minute to receive treatment. Seems okay to carry on, the €120m-man.
14min: Riqui Puig with a lovely flick through for Griezmann, but Kepa’s quick off the line to gather.
13min: Rinse repeat, this time the counter is through Pedro, but his final ball is not good enough. Barca turn upfield quickly but Christensen wins the footrace against Griezmann to cover.
11min: Barca do their thing for a bit but Chelsea shift and defend well and eventually block a penalty area entry pass. The counter try is through Abraham, whose first touch is good to hold up, but Barcelona recover well and resume possession.
7min: Jorginho intercepts a pass and turns upfield via Kovacic. He finds Pulisic, who’s taken out for a free kick, which is taken quickly. Emerson puts in a dangerous cross, which Umtiti hacks behind for a corner. Mount takes, just missing David Luiz at the near post.
4min: Chelsea win the ball high up; Emerson drives forward and lays it back to Kovacic, who flights a nice switch to the right towards the far post. Azpilicueta comes steaming, wins the header, but puts it wide.
1min: Barcelona with an early corner, Griezmann flicks it on at the near post and O.Busquets is wide open at the far, but puts it over the bar.
KICK-OFF: Chelsea in all white, Barca in red and blue. Mason Mount gets us underway.
We’ve reached the midpoint of the preseason schedule with match No. 4 of 7 as Chelsea take on Barcelona in Japan as part of the “Rakuten Cup” preseason shindig organized by Barcelona’s main shirt sponsors.
For the Blaugrana, this will be their first match action of the summer, with several of their biggest stars still on holidays after the Copa America. Still, with the social media teams doing their utmost best to hype up the occasion, we might be in for some competitive fun.
Here we go.
Barcelona starting lineup (4-3-3):
Ter Stegen | Alba, Umtiti, Piqué, Sergi Roberto | Riqui Puig, S.Busquets, O.Busquets | Dembélé, Griezmann, Collado
Substitutes from: Todibo, Iñaki Peña, Lenglet, Guillem Jaime, Neto, Rafinha, Nélson Semedo, De Jong, Carles Aleñà, Rakitić, Araújo, Malom, Carles Pérez, Monchu
Chelsea starting lineup (4-2-3-1):
Arrizabalaga | Emerson, David Luiz, Christensen, Azpilicueta (c) | Kovačić, Jorginho | Pulisic, Mount, Pedro | Abraham
Substitutes from: Caballero, Cumming, Alonso, Drinkwater, Tomori, Barkley, Bakayoko, Zouma, Kenedy, Zappacosta, Palmer, Giroud, Batshuayi
Date / Time: Tuesday, July 23, 2019, 7:30pm local time, 11:30am BST; 6:30am EDT; 4pm IST
Venue: Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama, Japan
Forecast: A thunderstorm or two during the day, followed by the usual warm, humind night
On TV: ESPN2, ESPN Deportes (USA); elsewhere
Streaming: Chelsea TV (UK/Ireland, int’l), WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes+ (USA); Rakuten Sports (many other places)
Due to international rights, Chelsea TV (
£1.99 £3.99 on the app; £10.99 on the website for the whole preseason — not prorated; free for last year’s subscribers) will only be available to customers in the UK & Ireland, and the select few countries not covered by other providers. Do note hilarious and shameful bit of price-gouging on the App just because it’s Barcelona.
Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes!