Chelsea will take on Bournemouth this Tuesday in the club’s second pre-season game ahead of the new season.
The club’s first pre-season game was a 6-1 win over Peterborough but was played behind closed doors, without media coverage. The blues were to play against local side, Drogheda United in another closed doors friendly during the club’s training camp in Ireland. However, a COVID scare to one of the team’s players prevented the match from taking place, with the blues having an in-house game instead.
Chelsea’s game against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium kicks off at 7:45pm on Tuesday and will be streaming live on the the club’s The 5th Stand app. Here are five key questions ahead of the match.
1. Will the latest returnees be ready to feature in the game?
Chelsea’s squad welcomed nine additions yesterday. These are players that featured in the round of 16/quarter-final final of the Euros and some that were away on loan last season.
The nine players included Germany’s Antonio Rüdiger, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, and France’ N’golo Kanté and Kurt Zouma, amongst others. The players seemed to take part in separate training sessions from the main squad, judging by pictures released on the club’s official site.
With these players building their fitness for the new season, it remains to be seen if any or all them will be able to feature at any point during the match. The fans will be absolutely delighted to get to see them, even if it’s from off the bench.**Chelsea’s latest returnees in training. Source: The 5th Stand
2. Can Bakayoko and Kenedy work their way into Thomas Tuchel’s plans?
The arrival of a new manager to a club usually brings opportunity to every member of the squad, even the fringe players.
Tiemoué Bakayoko and Kenedy are two fringe players whom the club has reportedly been trying to sell in the last couple of seasons. However, Chelsea are a man short in the defensive/central midfield area, with Billy Gilmour departing for Norwich City. The question then is, can Bakayoko convince the manager to give him the 4th spot?
Chelsea’s wingback situation is another peculiar situation. The blues are reportedly willing to sell both Marcos Alonso and Emerson to any buyer willing to meet the club’s valuation of both players.
Kenedy had a very strong season on loan at Granada last season. He is another player that has the chance to convince the boss not the shop the transfer market for replacements if the club is able to sell the aforementioned duo.
If Bakayoko and Kenedy will stand any chance of breaking into the manager’s plans, the first step will be to impress him in tomorrow’s friendly, if they are fit enough to feature.**Tiemoué Bakayoko and Thomas Tuchel finally met each other on the club’s training ground
3. Will Thomas Tuchel try a 4-man defence again?
In the second half of Chelsea’s game against Peterborough United, Tuchel apparently fielded a lineup that looked like a 4-3-3 formation. This may have been as a result of the players available to him at that point of the season or it could be that the manager actually wants to try out four at the back ahead of the new season.
It is no news that Tuchel’s preferred formation since he took over Chelsea has been the 3-4-2-1 formation. Using four at the back in the match against Bournemouth would tell us a bit more about Tuchel’s plan for the new season. The German tactician could very well be working on a plan B (or maybe a new plan A) ahead of the upcoming season.
4. Will Hakim Ziyech and Armando Broja’s hot pre-season form continue?
Hakim Ziyech and Armando Broja featured in the blues’ first pre-season with the former scoring a hattrick and the later grabbing a goal and an assist. Broja’s assist in the game was for one of Ziyech’s goals. In the in-house game earlier mentioned, Broja also scored a goal while Ziyech provided the assist.
Both players will most certainly feature and it will be interesting to see if this early synergy continues.**Hakim Ziyech (centre) has formed an early partnership with Armando Broja during Chelsea’s pre-season so far
5. Will Edouard Mendy finally make a pre-season appearance?
Edouard Mendy is assured of being Chelsea’s number 1 goalkeeper next season. This is, perhaps, the reason why he is yet to feature in any of the club’s pre-season games.
Jamie Cumming and Lucas Bergström were the goalkeepers to feature against Peterborough while Kepa Arizzabalaga and Cumming were the goalkeepers mentioned on the club’s official website for the in-house friendly.
With the Chelsea’s Super Cup game against Villareal drawing closer, this could be Mendy’s first pre-season appearance as he builds match fitness ahead of the upcoming season.