Chelsea face Fiorentina in the International Champions Cup in their final game before the season begins at the weekend. The Blues will aim to get over their Community Shield disappointment, but Jose Mourinho & Chelsea fans alike will point to the fact that these results are academic compared to the real deal on Saturday
Fans may struggle to reach Stamford Bridge without the use of tubes tonight, but the ones that do make it will be hoping to see better from the Blues after a poor pre-season. Jose Mourinho always finds a way though and the manner in which they romped clear last season suggests it’s the other teams playing catch up that have the work to do. They lost 4-2 to New York Red Bulls, needed penalties to overcome PSG & Barcelona before crashing to defeat against Arsenal on Sunday.
Without Diego Costa, there seems to be something limp up top about Chelsea, but we will await with interest to see the impact of Radamel Falcao. Loic Remy has shown what he can do, but needs to be a little more consistent.
They look largely fine at the back, as long as John Terry is fit, he played every game last campaign but whether his injury free run can continue is anyone’s guess. Terry is 35 but is still a top class performer and slots in alongside either Kurt Zouma or Gary Cahill.
Fiorentina are on a high after beating Barcelona in their last game. There is still another couple of weeks before the commencement of Serie A and they won’t be overly concerned or getting carried away with results at the moment. Paolo Sousa is the new man at the helm, a familiar face on English soil, managing Saturday’s opponents Swansea a number of years ago. They finished 4th in the table last season and qualified for the Europa League, they will hope for a long and successful season.
Beating Barcelona is some way to mark your first home game, but that’s exactly what Sousa did and they will still be confident following that success. I think they will give Chelsea some problems tonight and although the home side are clear favourites, it may be better value to take the draw.
We don’t know whether Costa will be granted any game time this evening, he may not be risked, but we aren’t sure on the severity of his injury. Mourinho may want to keep him fresh for Saturday. Eden Hazard wasn’t as effective as he could have been at the weekend and despite being widely tipped for a goal, he wasn’t able to deliver.
Oscar will probably start the game and is dangerous from midfield and may be a good alternative to the skilful Belgian in the first goalscorer market.
Chelsea weren’t able to find the net on Sunday, but I don’t think that will be a problem tonight in front of a home crowd. Despite their recent good form, Fiorentina could struggle to break down a stubborn defence. I think it may be cagey for the first half and one or two goals may be the maximum we see during 90 minutes.
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