Who: Chelsea FC vs. FC Inter Milan
What: International friendly (Guinness International Champions Cup)
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
When: Thursday, August 1, 2013
Weather: The Weather Channel forecast
Time: 1:00 GMT (Friday)/8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT
TV: Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Soccer 2Go, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3 (US); Chelsea TV (UK)
Worldwide Livestreams and TV Channels: LiveSoccerTV.com
Radio: SiriusXM - SIRI Channel 94
Odds: Chelsea -125, Inter Milan +300, Draw +220
Source: LVH SuperBook (Las Vegas, Nevada, USA)
3-Way Odds: Chelsea -136, Inter Milan +300, Draw +225
Total: Over 2½ -125, Under 2½ -109
Decimal Odds: Chelsea 1.73, Inter Milan 4.00, Draw 3.25
Decimal Total: Over 2½ 1.80, Under 2½ 1.91
Fractional Odds: Chelsea 93/100, Inter Milan 3/1, Draw 9/2
Fractional Total: Over 2½ 4/5, Under 2½ 91/100
Source: sportsbook.com (Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles)
Chelsea opens up play in the Guinness International Champions Cup on Thursday in Indianapolis when it plays Serie A’s Inter Milan at Lucas Oil Stadium in the capital city of Hoosier State.
The Blues will play three games in the tournament—a revamped version of World Football Championship—which also includes fellow English Premier League side Everton, AC Milan (Serie A), Real Madrid and Valencia (La Liga), and the Los Angeles Galaxy (Major League Soccer).
The Galaxy and Landon Donovan host Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo in Los Angeles later in the evening in the competition (FSC, 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT).
The retractable roof will be open and both sides will field strong squads which will soon be starting in their respective leagues.
After playing a record 69 games last year, Chelsea and manager José Mourinho return to America yet again after playing three games in Asia—all Blues wins—proving there is really no offseason in soccer.
Chelsea flew a 25-man squad to America on Tuesday which included goalkeepers Petr Čech, Mark Schwarzer, Henrique Hilário and Jamal Blackman; and defenders César Azpilicueta, Branislav Ivanović, Ashley Cole, Gary Cahill, John Terry, Ryan Bertrand and David Luiz.
The squad also has midfielders John Obi Mikel, Michael Essien, Oscar, Ramires, Frank Lampard, Marco van Ginkel, Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Victor Moses, André Schürrle and Kevin De Bruyne; and strikers Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku, who scored in all three Blues games in Asia.
Blues defender Tomáš Kalas had to pull out of the tour due to a fractured left fibula sustained in training on Monday. Kalas, who is now sporting a boot, is expected to be sidelined for about a month.
Inter Milan and coach Walter Mazzarri have its own formidable 25-man roster with which to work, including forwards Diego Milito and Rodrigo Palacio (12 goals in Serie A), defender and captain Javier Zanetti and goalkeeper Samir Handanovič.
Inter (16-6-16 in 2012-13) opens up league play on Aug. 25 when it hosts Genoa at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, better known as San Siro.
Mourinho managed Internazionale from 2008 to 2010 and led the Nerazzurri to a remarkable treble in 2009-10, winning Serie A, the Coppa Italia and the Champions League.
Although the game is considered a friendly and both teams will be more preoccupied in readying players for the coming league seasons and avoiding any injuries, both clubs will be looking to leave Naptown with a victory.
So far under Mourinho this preseason, Chelsea have looked pretty good and even employed a 4-3-3 tactical formation at times to some success.
But the Blues three wins in Asia were against teams less talented than Inter and the Europa League champions will certainly be tested on the FieldTurf of Lucas Oil Stadium by the underdog Nerazzurri (+300) who had a very disappointing season in Italy last year, finishing in ninth place.
With so many talented players in its midfield, the "Special One" back at Stamford Bridge and talented youngster Lukaku clicking up front, Chelsea should find a way to win. But this match is far from an easy bet if you plan on backing the boys in blue from West London who have been bet up to -125 from an opening -110 line in the LVH SuperBook here in Sin City.
The Blues (22-9-7 in EPL in 2012-13) welcome back Torres, Mata, Azpilicueta and Luiz who were all given a rest after participating for their countries in the Confederations Cup in Rio de Janeiro last month.
Chelsea’s next game is on Sunday (Aug. 4) at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium (FSC, TBA) against Valencia or AC Milan in the East side semifinals, followed by an Aug. 6 or Aug. 7 match in Miami at Sun Life Stadium against an opponent to be determined.
The Blues also play AC Milan in a friendly on Aug. 10 in Washington, D.C. before heading home to prepare for their Premier League opener just eight days later when they host promoted Hull City (NBC Sports Network, 11:00 a.m. ET/8:00 a.m. PT) on Aug. 18 at Stamford Bridge.
PREDICTION: Chelsea 2 Inter Milan 1
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