Chelsea’s first pre-season game of the 2010-11 season comes this weekend by way of a trip to Crystal Palace.
Bucking the trend of previous seasons in keeping the tours to the UK and Europe, Chelsea’s campaign will see the lads play away matches against Ajax, Eintracht Frankfurt, and Hamburg, before meeting Manchester United in the Community Shield.
But to Selhurst Park we head first, a short trip to the deep south London and our less illustrious neighbours who, to be fair, haven’t had the best of times recently.
In fact, they’re unrecognisable from the side we met way back in 2004. Can it really be six years since we last visited Selhurst Park, back then the first away match under the tenure of Jose Mourinho?
With many of the World Cup squad still on their summer breaks, and also some of the youth players at the U19 Euro Championships, expect an experimental Chelsea line up. New signing Yossi Benayon is expected to get some game time, as are players such as Cech, Alex, Mancienne, Benayoun, Sturridge, and Di Santo.
Essien and Mikel were ruled out by Ray Wilkins, who did mention that their return date will be around the 14th August. ‘There should be no problem whatsoever,’ Wilkins said. ‘John Obi is slightly in advance of Michael Essien but they are both working very well indeed.’
Around 15,000 are expected to turn up on Saturday, for what should hopefully be a good day out.
So long as no-one brings a vuvuzela.