American side Charlotte will host Premier League heavyweights Chelsea at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte on July 21st. This will be Chelsea’s second friendly of the summer as they began their pre-season with a 2-1 victory over Mexican team Club America on Saturday. Charlotte, on the other hand, suffered a 3-2 loss at the hands of Inter Miami in Major League Soccer last time out.
For a club that was only formed in December 2019, Charlotte have come a long way and are making headways. They will be playing in the Major League Soccer for the very first time this season and it is expected to be a historic campaign for the club that had managed to pick up 26 points from 21 matches to finish eighth in the Eastern Conference the last term.
The side from Northwest Carolina, managed by Christian Lattanzio, are arriving into this contest on the back of a pulsating but demoralizing 3-2 loss against Inter Miami on Saturday. Charlotte had taken the lead in the match but Inter Miami, the home side, managed to come back from two goals behind to secure all three points in the match.
For Charlotte, Yordy Reyna got on the scoresheet twice to put the visitors into the lead and in control of the contest. However, Phil Neville’s side, who recently got demolished 0-6 by Barcelona in another pre-season friendly, managed to recover quickly and bounced back with flying colours. They left the best for the last and hit the winning goal in the 93rd minute of the match to seal the clash in their favour.
While this match against the 2021 UEFA Champions League winners as well as the reigning FIFA Club World Cup champions Chelsea is one of the biggest matches in their history, Charlotte will certainly have one eye on their next MLS contest against Toronto FC on July 23.
Charlotte, affectionately called the Crowns, have Christian Fuchs on their side and the Premier League-winning defender joined the club last year following his departure from Leicester City. He will have the experience of facing Chelsea before and will be hoping to inspire his team to pull off an unlikely victory.
Chelsea, on the other hand, began their preparations for the upcoming 2022-23 season with a fine win over Club America. Thanks to goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount, they won the contest 2-1 against the Mexican club on Saturday. Although Reece James scored an unusual own goal, there were certainly more positives than negatives for Thomas Tuchel’s side.
The Blues will be gearing up to face Charlotte as well as their London rivals Arsenal over the next couple of fixtures. They will end their pre-season with a friendly against Italian side Udinese towards the end of the month.
Thomas Tuchel’s team will begin their Premier League season with a match against Everton on August 6. For this season, Chelsea, under their new owner Todd Boehly, will be looking to close the gap between them and the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool who have almost established a duopoly in England. They will also be hoping for better returns in Europe’s premier competition, the UEFA Champions League.
Chelsea have been quite busy in the summer transfer window. After announcing the signings of Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly, they are now working on other targets like Jules Kounde and Presnel Kimpembe. More movement is expected before the end of the summer transfer window as the Blues have also parted ways with several players like last season’s blockbuster signing Romelu Lukaku and central defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen. Meanwhile, the veteran duo of Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso also seem intent on moving to Barcelona.
The Blues also have a number of loan players back at their club this summer. These include Conor Gallagher and Ethan Ampadu who are among the list of players that are looking to impress boss Thomas Tuchel in the pre season and offer themselves as contenders in his scheme for the upcoming season.
CLT vs CHE, Club Friendly 2022/23
Date: 21st July, 2022
Time: 5:00 AM IST
Venue: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte
Charlotte form (all competitions):
Chelsea Club Friendlies form:
Chelsea form (all competitions):
Charlotte wins: 0
Chelsea wins: 0
Charlotte Team News:
Charlotte interim head coach Christian Lattanzio will be worried about the fitness and energy levels of his players. The encounter against Inter Miami last weekend was energy-draining and the side will be expected to make several changes in order to keep things fresh.
The home side will be missing the services of Adam Armour and Vinicius Mello. Armour is out of contention with a knee injury while Mello has been nursing a foot injury.
Reyna, who managed to grab a wonderful brace against Inter Miami in the previous match, is also expected to feature in a wide position in the frontline for the MLS outfit. Meanwhile, Karol Swiderski will be pushing for a place in the centre of the attack against Chelsea.
Chelsea Team News:
As far as Chelsea are concerned, head coach Thomas Tuchel is expected to make a number of changes to the squad that started against Club America in the previous game. Regular first team players Edouard Mendy, Reece James, Mason Mount and Jorginho are all expected to return to the starting XI.
Chelsea could also hand debuts to Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly, with the former Napoli defender most likely featuring in a back three alongside veteran Thiago Silva and the emerging talent Trevor Chalobah.
Tuchel might want to have another look at Gallagher from the very first minute of the match and the England international may end up featuring alongside Jorginho. Callum Hudson Odoi may stake a claim on the left wing once again.
Chelsea are missing the services of N’Golo Kante and Ruben Loftus Cheek on their tour of North America. Both the midfielders were unable to make the trip as their current COVID-19 vaccination status will not warrant them entrance in the country.
Charlotte possible starting lineup:
Kahlina; Afful, Corujo, Walkes, Fuchs; Jozwiak, McNeill, Bronico, Ruiz, Reyna; Swiderski
Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Mendy; Chalobah, Silva, Koulibaly; James, Jorginho, Gallagher, Chilwell; Hudson-Odoi, Havertz, Mount
Charlotte are expected to provide some competition to Chelsea in the upcoming friendly encounter. However, they are deep into their domestic season and played a thrilling, energy zapping match last weekend. On the other hand, Chelsea have merely begun pre season preparations and their players are quite fresh and well rested in comparison.
Thomas Tuchel also has a stronger squad and their new players will be looking to make a strong impression on their unofficial debuts. All in all, Chelsea are expected to win this clash without any major hiccups and it will be a surprise if they don’t.