The second stop of Chelsea’s pre-season tour of Europe sees the Blues touch down in Slovenia, where they’ll look to continue their unbeaten run against NK Olimpija Ljubljana on Sunday.
Coming fresh from a hard-fought 1-1 draw against RZ Pellets on Wednesday, Chelsea will be looking for a big step-up against their Slovenian counterparts and will turn to their new boys to do just that.
Here, we look ahead to the action and assess how the Blues could be lining up at the Stadion Stozice.
Venue: Stadion Stozice, Ljubljana
Date: Sunday, July 27
Time: 4:15 p.m. BST/11:15 a.m. ET
TV Info: Chelsea TV (U.K. only, subscription required)
Live Stream: Chelsea TV Live (U.K. only, subscription required)
Filipe Luis Looking to Continue “Perfect” Start for Blues
Though we expected to see several of Chelsea’s new recruits during their recent draw with RZ Pellets, only former Atletico Madrid man Filipe Luis donned the famous blue shirt for the first time in Austria—and he did so with aplomb.
Playing little over an hour, Luis demonstrated to Chelsea fans exactly why his £15.8 million transfer was money well spent with a trademark, solid performance.
The Brazilian was clearly happy with his display, too, taking to Twitter to voice his debut delight:
The 28-year-old is still fighting for fitness this summer, but with an impressive hour under his belt on Wednesday, his best could be just around the corner.
Speaking with Chelsea’s official website, Luis revealed that he is edging closer to fitness after making his debut and looked ahead to playing a full 90 minutes against Olimpija:
I know I’m not in the best condition physically yet but with training that will come and I will be ready to start the season. I leave everything in the hands of Jose. If he thinks I’m ready to play 90 minutes I’m ready but I just want to do my best to help the team win games.
If Luis continues his strong form then he’ll undoubtedly be instrumental to the Blues winning a game or two, but it wasn’t just the former Atletico man who had a night to remember in Austria.
Jeremie Boga, who has arguably been the breakthrough star of Chelsea’s pre-season campaign, came off the bench to devastating effect against RZ Pellets, scoring a wonderful solo goal—as Chelsea FC UK revealed via Twitter:
Boga's goal https://t.co/l24QQA6Go0— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC_UK_) July 23, 2014
The power, anticipation and panache that he showed for the strike was superb, and Bleacher Report’s Garry Hayes was among those singing the 17-year-old’s praises:
Boga looking an exciting player. Good run there before shooting to win a corner. #cfc— Garry Hayes (@garryhayes) July 23, 2014
Boga may well be lining up in central attacking midfield from the start against Olimpija on Sunday, with Patrick Bamford once again just in front of him.
However, the big question is whether or not new signing Diego Costa will be getting a run-out as a substitute in place of Bamford, and it looks as though he will be.
As Chelsea TV’s Gigi Salmon revealed, Mourinho will give several stars 45 minutes to shine on Sunday, with Costa and Cesc Fabregas the big names on the list:
With a much more experienced line-up set to take part on Sunday, it’s unlikely that Chelsea will stutter to another pre-season draw; a victory looks a near certainty.
Luis thoroughly enjoyed his first outing in a Chelsea shirt, and both Costa and Fabregas may well do the same on what could prove to be a simple afternoon for the Blues.
Prediction: NK Olimpija Ljubljana 1-4 Chelsea