Chelsea will head down under this week as their preseason starts in earnest against Australian A-League team Perth Glory.
The match takes place on July 23 and kicks off the first of four games in four different countries over a two-week period for Maurizio Sarri’s men.
The Italian coach has arrived at Cobham training centre and will this week begin preparations for a season that begins in the Community Shield at Wembley on August 5th.
The Blues are taking part in the International Champions Cup and also face matches against Inter Milan in Nice, Arsenal in Dublin, before finishing the pre-season friendlies back at Stamford Bridge on August 7th against Lyon, which incidentally takes place just two days after the Community Shield match against Manchester City on the 5th.
All this will be played at a time when many of Chelsea’s stars are still returning from the World Cup and there will no doubt be a chance for fringe and youth players alike to impress their new manager. The likes of Reuben Loftus-Cheek and Tammy Abraham will be hoping they can wrestle their way into the Italian’s plans, whilst Tiemoue Bakayoko and Alvaro Morata will be looking to start again after their respective disappointing seasons last year.
It is likely that the likes of Eden Hazard and Thibault Courtois amongst others will be given a leave of absence, meaning that we won’t see some of the more established stars until perhaps the season curtain raiser the weekend before the Premier League kicks off.
Sarri joins the club at a time when they face a new challenge in the Europa League after failing to finish in the top four last season. The balance of maintaining the levels of performance in both the Premier League and Europe is something that eluded the Italian last year whilst at Napoli but it is another factor in why pre-season will be an important tool to see what squad depth he has at his disposal for the season ahead.