BNI Indonesia vs. Chelsea: Complete Guide to Blues' Preseason Friendly
After winning the first two matches of their tour of Asia, Jose Mourinho's side head to Jakarta to complete the final segment of their 'Here to Play, Here to Stay' tour with the hope of leaving the Far East with a 100 percent record.
The Blues are set to take on BNI Indonesia on Thursday, following on from their impressive 4-1 win over a physically superior Malaysian XI in Kuala Lumpar. They also beat the Singha All-Star XI in Bangkok thanks to a penalty from Romelu Lukaku.
Of course, there are two objectives during preseason. While Chelsea have done extremely well to market the club on a global scale and boost their popularity in lucrative regions such as the USA and Asia, Mourinho will be desperate to use the last of his time away to evaluate his options ahead of the new campaign.
With fans set to fill the 78,000-seater Gelora Bung Karno stadium in the capital, it is a historic match for Chelsea as they play their first ever match in Indonesia. And while chief executive Ron Gourlay spoke about leaving a "lasting legacy" as they depart Asia, all eyes will be on how Mourinho's squad fare in his third game in charge.
Mourinho has used his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation throughout the tour, and there's no suggestion to say the 50-year-old is set to drop it for the final game.
Among the younger players invited onto tour, the bright sparks have come from Belgian starlets Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, while promising trialist Bertrand Traore impressed greatly against the Malaysian XI.
De Bruyne was unfortunate to receive an injury serious enough to be sent home, but Lukaku has continued where he left off from last season, bagging two goals in as many games so far on the tour. Seventeen-year-old Traore still has another game to showcase his obvious potential to the Chelsea management before a decision is made on his future.
Replacing De Bruyne in midfield will be tough, given the energy and creativity he has conveyed in Juan Mata's absence. But with the Blues well-stacked in midfield, summer signing Andre Schurrle could start on the left, with Eden Hazard moving in behind his compatriot Lukaku.
Other players in the side who will look to get some vital minutes are England Under-21 pair Josh McEachran and Nathaniel Chalobah, who Mourinho confirmed will go out on loan once preseason is completed.
McEachran, who played at Middlesbrough last season, is likely to get a 45-minute run out in central midfield alongside Marco van Ginkel, while Chalobah could start on the bench, having started next to John Terry in the match against Malaysia XI.
In defence, Wallace could start at right-back with Ryan Bertrand filling the left-back spot, and Gary Cahill could be set for another opportunity to start at the back in the centre alongside Czech Republic international Tomas Kalas.
With the evening kick-off scheduled, Mourinho's squad will be acclimatized to the humidity and high temperatures but will still need refreshing as it is still preseason. So we can expect the tactician to make several changes in order to keep the intensity up, although this is likely to be more evident in the first half as Chelsea come out of the blocks.
Like in the other two games, Chelsea will be looking to dominate proceedings, find comfort on the ball and use their confidence in the midfield to create numerous chances for their talisman up top. Mourinho will encourage his team to use Hazard to bring the ball towards the opposition, creating space for his teammates.
Bertrand and Wallace are likely to be given the freedom to surge down the flanks, while the midfield partnership, likely to be van Ginkel with Michael Essien or McEachran, will sit deeper and allow the attacking midfielders to push on.
It should be a comfortable victory for the Blues, though, and they can rest assured that their 100 percent record in preseason will be intact before heading over for the tour of the USA.
It's difficult to look past this exciting Chelsea team at the moment, with Lukaku in stunning form and his army of creative maestros behind him. The defence has looked vulnerable at times, but surely Chelsea will prove too strong for their opposition.
A convincing 4-0 victory looks to be on the cards, and expect the Blues' new signings to be among the scorers.
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