Chelsea’s second pre-season friendly of the summer arrives today. Thomas Tuchel’s side head to the south coast to face Bournemouth.
Heading into the game, Kurt Zouma, Antonio Rudiger, Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner all returned to Chelsea training on Saturday.
Neither of those players are expected to feature on the south coast owing to the incredibly quick turnaround since they came back on Saturday and having not had any mileage in their legs for a good few weeks.
If Tuchel were to see fit then they could appear off the bench but with, say Kante’s troublesome hamstrings, it seems a bit too big of a risk for a friendly.
It could well be the last chance for some of Tuchel’s somewhat makeshift squad that he has been working with for the past fortnight to state their case to remain with him for the upcoming season.
The likes of Dujon Sterling, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Armando Broja have been impressing the German head coach. Hudson-Odoi’s spot is secure but for the other three, it isn’t.
Broja has penned a new five-year contract but the club still want a world class striker this summer. Loftus-Cheek believes he is in the last chance saloon to salvage his Chelsea career, while Sterling is making his way back after a run of dreadful luck with injury and illness over the past 14 months.
For Danny Drinkwater and Ross Barkley too, it could be a defining game on the south coast with their futures in west London very much up for debate. So too Davide Zappacosta and Conor Gallagher.
You could also look towards Tammy Abraham as well, with his future certainly not settled though arguably a little more so than others he is set to be playing alongside tomorrow.
With all that in mind, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Tuchel go a bit stronger rather than be experimental to give everyone minutes against last season’s beaten Championship play-off finalists.
Seemingly, substitutions will take a bit longer as Tuchel will want to get a good look at some of his players in match action.
There could, and probably will be, changes at half time with the likes of Christian Pulisic, Marcos Alonso, Dujon Sterling and Armando Broja targeting some more pre-season game time.