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Barcelona vs Chelsea, Preseason Friendly: Team News, Match Preview

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The La Liga champions start the new season with a high-profile friendly in Japan

FBL-ESP-LIGA-BARCELONA-TRAINING Photo credit should read LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images

FC Barcelona vs Chelsea FC

Competition/Round: 2019 Rakuten Cup, Match 1

Barcelona Outs and Doubts: Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez, Arthur, Philippe Coutinho, Arturo Vidal (out)

Chelsea Outs and Doubts: N’Golo Kanté, Willian, Antonio Rüdiger, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Reece James (out), Kepa Arrizabalaga, Tammy Abraham (doubt)

Date/Time: Tuesday, July 23, 2019, 7.30pm local time, 12.30pm CET (Barcelona), 11.30am BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 6.30am ET, 3.30am PT (USA), 4pm IST (India)

Venue: Saitama Stadium 2002, Tokyo, Japan

How to watch on TV: ESPN2 (USA), others

How to stream: ChelseaTV (UK), Rakuten Sports (worldwide), others

Welcome to the 2019-20 Barcelona season! The disappointment of what happened two months ago is still fresh in our memories, but a couple of very exciting signings and the hope for a better season can lift our spirits as Barça fans. The tendency is to assume everything is bad and will continue to be bad until the current regime is no longer in place, but what if things are, like, okay? Who knows?

The first step is the first game of preseason, which takes place in Japan against Chelsea and will feature the debuts of three new signings: goalkeeper Neto, midfielder Frenkie De Jong and forward Antoine Griezmann. The last two especially could be just what we need to get the team over the hump, and we’ll no doubt watch their debut with full attention.

It’s preseason, so whether or not they start and whether or not the team wins really doesn’t matter. It’s about breaking a sweat and getting to know each other, and it’s a fresh start for Valverde and a few players who received heavy and (mostly) fair criticism for the way they finished last season.

It’s a new campaign, and I’m excited for it. I had a good vacation and I’m ready to support this team again. Who’s with me?



(Still waiting...)

(Come on, nobody?)

(Seriously, guys?)

All right, I’ll do it myself. VISCA EL BARÇA!


Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, De Jong; Malcom, Griezmann, Dembélé

Chelsea (4-3-3): Kepa; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Zouma, Alonso; Kovacic, Jorginho, Barkley; Pedro, Giroud, Pulisic

*It’s just impossible to predict starting lineups in preseason. Players are in different stages physically and it really doesn’t matter who plays from the beginning as long as all players get a shot. Our predicted lineups are simply the strongest possible teams based on the Barça and Chelsea players available for this one.


It’s preseason, the result doesn’t matter, but we have better players than Chelsea so we’ll probably get the win here: 3-1 Barça.