Who: Chelsea FC vs. AC Milan
What: International friendly (Guinness International Champions Cup)
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA
When: Sunday, August 4, 2013
Weather: The Weather Channel forecast
Time: 23:30 BST/6:30 p.m. EDT/3:30 p.m. PDT
TV: Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Soccer 2Go, ESPN Deportes (USA); Chelsea TV (UK)
Worldwide Livestreams and TV Channels: LiveSoccerTV.com
Radio: SiriusXM - SIRI Channel 94
Odds: Chelsea -150, AC Milan +400, Draw +275
Source: LVH SuperBook (Las Vegas, Nevada, USA)
3-Way Odds: Chelsea -149, AC Milan +333, Draw +240
Total: Over 2½ -161, Under 2½ +120
Decimal Odds: Chelsea 1.67, AC Milan 4.33, Draw 3.40
Decimal Total: Over 2½ 1.62, Under 2½ 2.20
Fractional Odds: Chelsea 67/100, AC Milan 333/100, Draw 12/5
Fractional Total: Over 2½ 31/50, Under 2½ 6/5
Source: sportsbook.com (Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles)
So far, the preseason has been a bit of a breeze for Chelsea which has gone a perfect 4-0 and outscored opponents 15-2 in three games in Asia and one in the United States.
But Sunday’s game against AC Milan promises to be much more difficult as the Serie A giants look to hand new manager José Mourinho his first loss after returning to the helm of the West London club.
On Thursday, the Blues defeated AC Milan’s city rivals, Inter Milan, 2-0, in Indianapolis with Oscar and Eden Hazard scoring and impressive fellow midfielder Victor Moses playing a big part of both goals.
Two Blues players who made the trip and are on the 25-man squad and should see some action on Sunday are attacking midfielders André Schürrle (illness) and Kevin De Bruyne (knee), but veteran vice-captain Frank Lampard (15 goals, EPL) will likely miss the game (Achilles) at MetLife Stadium.
Milan advanced to this game with a win over La Liga’s Valencia and with star Stephan El Shaarawy (16 goals, Serie A) and Mario Balotelli are a much better than the near +400 odds offered in sports books around the globe, although who knows who will be in manager Massimiliano Allegri’s starting XI come game-time.
When these two met in Miami last year when this tournament was called the World Football Championship, AC Milan defeated Chelsea 1-0 with a second half goal by Urby Emanuelson, and with a strong roster that also includes Giampaolo Pazzini (15 goals, Serie A), Nigel De Jong and Kevin Prince-Boateng, among others, anything can happen here.
AC Milan qualified for the UEFA Champions League on the last day of the season in Italy with a 2-1 win at Siena and ended up finishing third in Serie A (21-9-8, 72 points) behind Juventus (87) and Napoli (78).
Chelsea (22-9-7) had a similar record in the English Premier League and also finished in third place although winning the Europa League and news of the "Special One" returning to SW6 has made the Blues end of season a little more enjoyable.
The winner of this game will earn a date with Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo on Wednesday in Miami in the championship game (FSC, 9 p.m. EDT/6 p.m. PDT) and no need to spell out the faux-dramatic implications of a possible Mourinho-Madrid meeting there.
The loser here will play for third place in Miami earlier in the day on Wednesday (FSC, 6:30 p.m. EDT/3:30 p.m. PDT) at Sun Life Stadium, the home of the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins.
Handicapping this one is just a little bit too tough as either side could win and a draw is also a distinct possibility. It’s important to remember that if the game is tied at the end of the 90 minutes plus injury time, it will go to penalty kicks.
The best bet? Just sit back and watch and enjoy as the best AC Milan price vanished quickly, Chelsea (-150) is still a little too steep and betting for a draw in a preseason friendly—though possibly profitable—is tantamount to chugging a six-pack of O’Douls before a SHeDAISY concert.
The Blues will play AS Roma in a friendly on Aug. 10 in Washington, D.C. before heading home to London to get ready for their Premier League opener against Hull City (NBC Sports Network, 11:00 a.m. EDT/8:00 a.m. PDT) on Aug. 18 at the friendly confines of Stamford Bridge.
PREDICTION: Chelsea 1 AC Milan 1
>Follow me on Twitter: @KevinStott11