Tonight Chelsea will face Real Sociedad in their final pre-season friendly before their Premier League campaign kicks off against Burnley next Monday. The Blues will be looking to shake off the last of any Summer rustiness in the first friendly played at Stamford Bridge since 2006, when they drew 1-1 with Celtic.
Overall, Chelsea’s pre-season has been slightly different to what we have become used to in recent years. Instead of physically demanding trips to the humid climates of places such as Asia and North America, where they would be expected to beat relatively unknown opposition by scorelines of 5, 6 or 7-0, Chelsea took a trip around continental Europe, where they faced a number of organised and well-motivated sides. Part of the reason for this will have been the large number of Chelsea players who were involved in the World Cup, but it will also have partly been to test the side against defences who aren’t so porous, as one of Chelsea’s biggest problems last season was breaking down teams who had set out to defend; West Ham and Aston Villa being notable examples.
Real Sociedad, from the Basque Country in northern Spain, are not playing their first game of the Summer against English opposition tonight, having lost 1-0 to Newcastle on Sunday, conceding in the 88th minute. The Spanish club will be without recently departed Antoine Greizmann, the star striker having replaced our newly acquired Diego Costa in the Atletico Madrid front-line. Chelsea have only played La Real once in their history, in a summer tournament in 1967, losing 2-1.
Jose Mourinho and Chelsea have invited any fans who are attending tonight’s game to arrive early (7pm), so that they can give a warm welcome to the club’s Summer signings, as they, as well as the rest of the first-team squad, give a lap of appreciation.
Next up for the Blues is a Premier League away fixture against newly promoted Burnley. Full previews and reports thoughout the season on CFCnet. Don’t forget to check-out the latest Chelsea betting odds as the season progresses.