Chelsea will kick off what is certain to be an exciting season with an opening tour around Europe to prepare for a long year.
The Premier League's third-place team from last season has made a number of big additions already in the summer and they are far from finished, according to Ben Fairthorne of CNN:
Big news for Chelsea. Mourinho confident he will add Lavezzi to the signings of Costa and Fabregas. Massive window for the blues.— Ben Fairthorne (@BFairthorne) June 21, 2014
Adding Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and others to an already elite roster is almost unfair for the rest of the league.
Meanwhile, manager Jose Mourinho has explained that Thibaut Courtois will return after being on loan at Atletico Madrid, saying, "When the World Cup in Brazil is over, Courtois will be coming straight back to Stamford Bridge - end of story," via Marca.
Whether he or Petr Cech becomes the No. 1 goalkeeper, Chelsea will be in great shape to not only compete for an EPL title, but also another Champions League trophy.
Before any of this can take place, though, the Blues will start their year off with an exciting opening tour.
|Wed, July 16||19:45||Wycombe Wanderers||Adams Park, England|
|Sat, July 19||15:00||AFC Wimbledon||Kingsmeadow, England|
|Wed, July 23||18:30||RZ Pellets||Klagenfurt, Austria|
|Sun, July 27||TBD||NK Olimpija Ljubljana||Ljubljana, Slovenia|
|Wed, July 30||18:30||Vitesse Arnhem||Arnhem, Netherlands|
|Sun, Aug 3||TBD||Werder Bremen||Bremen, Germany|
|Sun, Aug 10||19:45||Ferencvaros||Budapest, Hungary|
The preseason for Chelsea begins in England with a pair of battles against League Two opponents.
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Both AFC Wimbledon and the Wycombe Wanderers struggled throughout last season, barely hanging onto their positions within League Two. Wycombe especially came close to relegation with 50 points in 46 matches, staying ahead of Bristol Rovers by goal differential.
Competing against these two teams will provide Mourinho with a good chance to see what his younger players can do, especially those who failed to get much time on the pitch last season.
Chelsea will then travel to Austria to take on RZ Pellets, giving the club a new style of play that they might not be used to seeing in England.
Things will get a bit tougher in a battle against NK Olimpija Ljubljana, although the English team should still be able to easily pull through with a victory, regardless of who starts the match.
The squad is coming off a disappointing seventh-place finish in the Slovenian PrvaLiga, which is the country's top-flight league. However, there is a lot of talent on the roster to finish in second place in the previous two seasons.
Up next will be a battle against Vitesse Arnhem, which have been regulars in Dutch top-flight league Eredivisie. The biggest Chelsea connection is Christian Atsu, who had a successful year on loan that included five goals and six assists.
However, Eurosport confirmed that Atsu would be moving on to another club next season:
While the midfielder is unlikely to make his way to Chelsea this year with Eden Hazard, Willian, Oscar and others already on the squad, he will likely move up to better competition either in Bundesliga or the EPL.
Chelsea will start to wrap up its preseason with a relatively tough battle against Bundesliga opponent Werder Bremen. At this point in the summer, the matches will likely feature most of the starters looking to figure out a way to work together on the pitch.
Finally, Ferencvaros will host Chelsea in Hungary as a squad looking to prepare for not only a strong run in its league, but also in the Europa League.
At this point, the EPL club will hope to be ready to compete for a league title, starting with an opening match against Burnley on August 16. If all goes well, Chelsea will be a tough team to beat throughout the year.
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