Chelsea’s final training ahead of UEFA Super Cup
Watch Chelsea’s final training session before the Champions League holders face Europa League winners Villarreal in the UEFA Super Cup.
Chelsea vs Villareal: Line-ups
Chelsea’s Game to Lose
A brand spanking new contract until 2024 awaited Tuchel upon his return to Stamford Bridge as the ex-Paris Saint-Germain coach fulfilled Chelsea’s dreams of European glory after just one half-season in charge, and his Blues outfit navigated their pre-season period without suffering a single defeat. That run includes a 2-1 win over Arsenal and 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in the Mind Series, although they would have been frustrated to throw away a two-goal lead in the latter, while Bournemouth and Peterborough United also fell to Chelsea’s superiority.
Tuchel’s side have become renowned for their defensive resolve, so it was something of a surprise to see Chelsea fail to keep a clean sheet in any of their pre-season games, and their last three UEFA Super Cup encounters have seen them lose out to Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich and Liverpool since 2012.
After taking 16 points from 18 in the group stage, Villarreal saw off Red Bull Salzburg, Dynamo Kiev, Dinamo Zagreb and Arsenal to set up a tense final encounter with Manchester United, where 21 penalties would be converted before David de Gea’s miss handed Emery his fourth Europa League title.
With the 2020-21 Europa League representing their first-ever major trophy, Villarreal will be making their debut in the Super Cup this year, but victory for the Yellow Submarine would see them become the sixth different Spanish side to win the competition, surpassing England – whom they currently share the record with at five apiece – and Emery’s men are unbeaten in their last 15 continental matches.
Wednesday’s battle in Belfast also marks the first time ever that Chelsea and Villarreal have locked horns in a competitive match, and while lifting the Super Cup aloft may not quite be the most coveted prize on offer, there is hardly a better way to kick off the season than with some European silverware.
Villarreal and Emery have the know-how to beat English opposition having got the better of Manchester United and Arsenal last year, but their pre-season from has raised some question marks. The expected loss of midfield maestro Parejo will be a huge blow to the Yellow Submarine, and it’s hard see any other result than another European triumph for Chelsea, even if they are far from full strength.