Two European trophies, an expensive new striker, and a team brimming with talented players; Chelsea is positioned well to challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title this season. We screen their pre-season, pick key personnel, and select a potential starting eleven ahead of the season opener in this preview.
The 2021/22 pre-season was complicated by the fact that three major international tournaments took place this summer. Chelsea, naturally, had players playing in various parts of the world, all of whom reported back at different times.
Thomas Tuchel’s initial line-ups against Peterborough United and Bournemouth consisted mainly of players who weren’t involved in any international football over the summer. This included an army of returning loanees, including long-forgotten men like Danny Drinkwater and Abdul Baba Rahman.
Despite the absence of key personnel, Chelsea won both its opening friendlies without many difficulties. They hit six against Peterborough and two against Bournemouth and conceded one goal each against both teams.
The second phase of pre-season saw Chelsea involved in a three-team tournament called The Mind Series, against London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham. The Blues beat Arsenal 2-1 thanks to goals from Kai Havertz and Tammy Abraham. They led two-nil against Spurs in the next match but spurned the lead, resulting in a 2-2 draw.
The final leg of Chelsea’s pre-season took place in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Blues faced Villarreal in the UEFA Super Cup – a one-off competitive game between the Champions League and the Europa League winners.
Chelsea took the lead through Hakim Ziyech, but Villarreal pulled level in the second half thanks to a goal from Gerard Moreno. The match was decided by a penalty shootout subsequently, which the Blues won 6-5 thanks to substitute Kepa Arrizabalaga’s heroics.