Third match of Chelsea’s pre-season, and the final one on United States soil before we return to Europe. To wrap up their US tour the Blues will take on rivals Arsenal in Orlando, to the delight of local and national fans who will be witness to a major English derby at Camping World Stadium — one of the venues for the 1994 World Cup.
Although there is bad blood between the Blues and the Gunners, collective minds should remain on pre-season mode and getting ready for official matches in two weeks’ time. At the same time this should be a great opportunity for first-team hopefuls wanting to make a good impression on manager Thomas Tuchel, even if he might soon add another piece from market to solve his squad puzzle this season.
Date / Time: Saturday, July 23, 2022, 8:00pm EDT; 1:00 BST (next day); 5:30am IST (next day)
Venue: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL, USA
Forecast: Hot and sunny
On TV: none (USA); none (UK); Sony TEN 1 (India); SuperSport MaXimo 2, SuperSport Premier League (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: ESPN+ (USA); Chelsea TV (UK); Sony LIV, JioTV (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Arsenal team news: Our North London rivals joined the Florida Cup last Thursday after beating 1. FC Nürnberg 5-3 at their opponents’ turf in Germany, and Everton 2-0 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore (MD). In their opening FC match they got another win, this time over hosts Orlando City SC by managing a 3-1 scoreline in a ‘tale of two halves’ as described by our friends over at the Short Fuse.
Notable absences from pre-season thus far are defenders Kieran Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyasu, and attacker Emile Smith Rowe. All of which have been missing due to slight problems, according to Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.
“We have Kieran [Tierney] with a slight problem, we have Emile [Smith Rowe] with a muscular niggle, Tomiyasu as well and Ben [White].”
-Mikel Arteta; Source: football.london
One piece of good news from their medical department is new signing Fábio Vieira returning to fitness and finally training with their first-team since arriving from FC Porto last month; as well as Ben White taking part in their Orlando City SC match. Speaking of transfers, Arsenal have made two other notable first-team signings in former Manchester City players Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko — both of which were rumoured as Chelsea targets at some point this summer.
Chelsea team news: While the Blues did lose their penalty shootout to Charlotte FC last Thursday after a 1-1 draw manifested in the closing minutes of regular time, we did get a first look at new signing Raheem Sterling during the match’s second half. Gladly the former Manchester City man did quite well given the circumstances, which should be a good sign moving into the official season.
Against Arsenal we should expect seeing defender Kalidou Koulibaly for the first time on a Chelsea shirt since moving to the Blues from Napoli. Meanwhile captain César Azpilicueta, who was an unused sub against Charlotte, might have to readjust expectations as manager Thomas Tuchel is not too keen on seeing him with a Barcelona kit.
“It’s a tough question [to talk about Azpilicueta’s future] because I am not sure if I want to give Azpi what he wants.
“At some point it is about what we want. I just made the comparison about how much we fought for Koulibaly, who is a national team player and roughly the same age.
“He is a hugely important player for Napoli but we have a Spanish international who is the captain at Chelsea. I see him maybe at the same level but Barcelona don’t see him on that level. So I am not sure if I want to give him what he wants as he is a huge player.
“We don’t think so much about other clubs. The focus is on us and what we need. I said that to him and I say it to you that I understand on a personal and a career level. But I am not only in this role to give him what he wants. I am a manager for Chelsea who wants to do what’s best for Chelsea.
“He doesn’t like it but he understands. It is tough for him because the other club is permanently on him. On September 1 when things calm down, then he can play on his highest level.”
-Thomas Tuchel; Source: Sky Sports
Previously: Instead of bemoaning that baffling 4-2 loss at the Bridge back in April, better reminisce of nicer times when we beat them 4-1 at Baku to take home the 2019 Europa League trophy.