Chelsea will take on Championship side Peterborough in a behind closed doors friendly this weekend as Thomas Tuchel and the Blues take to the pitch for the first time since their Champions League triumph back in May.
The match will be played at the Blues’ training ground in Cobham on Saturday afternoon as last season’s runners-up in League One provide the opposition for what is set to be a very experimental Chelsea side.
The likelihood of the Blues’ senior players currently back for pre-season training being involved is slim with Tuchel set to hand chances to returning loan players and youngsters to state their case.
Tuchel has been working with a 29-man strong squad for the past three days at Cobham with a month to go before the Premier League season gets underway for his team with a home game against Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on August 14.
The Peterborough match is set to be one at least four friendlies coming up for the team in the next month, with a game to be played against a yet undetermined side in Ireland later this month before The Mind Series takes place with matches against Arsenal and Spurs in the capital.
Football.London understands that the match will be very much a case of easing players back into action with some of them having had six weeks off before returning to Cobham across the past few days.
So how on earth could Tuchel set a team out of returning loan players and youngsters to take on the Championship side?
It’s unlikely that Edouard Mendy or Kepa will play on Saturday so that could hand the chance to Jamie Cumming to perhaps get some minutes between the sticks for the Blues.
Lucas Bergstrom will also be hoping he could get some game time having been involved with the main group over the past few days.
Malang Sarr and Marc Guehi should get a run out at Cobham this weekend following their loans at Porto and Swansea City respectively last season.
Likewise Ian Maatsen, who enjoyed a successful loan at Charlton last season.
Dujon Sterling has been called into the pre-season training squad after injury and illness disrupted his last campaign.
Davide Zappacosta may also be given some minutes to impress Tuchel but it is unlikely Marcos Alonso will be involved. Baba Rahman could also get a run out.
Plenty of options in the middle of the park for Tuchel to pick from here with the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Conor Gallagher, Danny Drinkwater, Trevoh Chalobah, Tino Anjorin and Lewis Baker all training with the squad in recent days.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Tuchel send out two different midfields for both halves of the match as he gives everyone a chance to impress.
Whether we see the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham feature isn’t known but early indications are that the senior players aren’t likely to play. That could, of course, change as the week goes on.
It does present players such as Armando Broja and Ike Ugbo the chance to impress Tuchel. Outside of Abraham, they are the only two strikers currently at pre-season training so it seems highly unlikely they won’t see at least 45 minutes each at the weekend.
First half XI: Cumming; Sterling, Guehi, Sarr, Maatsen; Gallagher, Loftus-Cheek, Chalobah, Anjorin; Abraham, Ugbo.
Second half XI: Bergstrom; Zappacosta, Miazga, Clark-Slater, Rahman; Baker, Drinkwater, Gallagher, Anjorin, Musonda; Broja.
Source by Football London