Barcelona vs. Chelsea: Rakuten Cup 2019 Live Stream, TV Schedule and Predictions

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIJuly 22, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JULY 15: Frenkie de Jong (L) and Antoine Griezmann of FC Barcelona look on during a training session at Ciutat Esportiva of Sant Joan Despi on July 15, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona play their first pre-season fixture on Tuesday against Premier League side Chelsea in the Rakuten Cup at the Saitama Stadium in Japan.

The La Liga champions have included new signings Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong and Neto in their 26-man squad for friendlies against Chelsea and Vissel Kobe and the trio should make their debuts in the tournament.

Chelsea have already had three pre-season outings. They drew 1-1 with Bohemians and beat St Patrick's Athletic 4-0 in their two games in Ireland and then lost 1-0 to Kawakasi Frontale in Japan.

         

Date: Tuesday, July 23

Time: 7:30 p.m. local time, 11:30 a.m. (BST), 6:30 a.m. (ET) 

TV Info: Chelsea TV (UK), ESPN 2 (U.S.)

Live Stream: ESPN Deportes+ (U.S.)

         

Match Preview

Barcelona are without key players such as Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Arthur, Arturo Vidal and Philippe Coutinho for the tour of Japan due to their commitments at the 2019 Copa America.

However, the Camp Nou side have still named a strong squad for the trip:

Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu has said the new signings will make their first appearances in Japan, per the club's official website.

Griezmann will be expected to feature with Messi and Suarez absent. There will be some pressure on the Frenchman to make a good start to his Barcelona career after snubbing a move to the club last summer.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup winner was a prolific goalscorer at former club Atletico Madrid but will also be expected to weigh in with assists at Barca:

Barcelona will also expect plenty from De Jong in midfield. The 22-year-old played a starring role in Ajax's double-winning season last time out and also helped the club into the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.

Manager Ernesto Valverde told Barca TV (h/t Sport) he is expecting the Netherlands international to bring the team some "fresh energy in midfield, which can only be good for us."

Valverde has also included nine Barcelona B players in his squad, including highly rated midfielder Riqui Puig, and he could use the game to hand some of his starlets some valuable first-team minutes.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are continuing to adjust to life under new head coach Frank Lampard and are also without some key players. 

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi and ​Antonio Rudiger are all recovering from injury, while N'Golo Kante has returned home from the tour due to a knee issue:

The game could see new arrival Christian Pulisic feature again after making his debut against Kawakasi Frontale:

Midfielder Mason Mount may also play for the Blues after impressing already in pre-season. He scored against St Patrick's Athletic and caught the eye against Kawakasi Frontale:

The UEFA Europa League winners should provide Barcelona with a good test ahead of their second match of the tour against J-League side Vissel Kobe.

The Blues may be slightly ahead in terms of their pre-season preparations, but Barcelona have a squad packed full of talent and a number of key signings keen to make an impression.

Prediction: Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea

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