Football

UEFA Super Cup: Chelsea v Villarreal

It’s the first European title of the season, the UEFA Super Cup takes center stage, as the Champions League winner, Chelsea will take on the Europa League champion, Villarreal at the Windsor Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Both teams have never faced each other in a competitive game, but Chelsea will be coming into this game as the favourite after defeating Manchester City to win their second Champions League title. Villarreal, on the other hand, are the underdogs.

Chelsea superstar striker, Romelu Lukaku is not in the squad, and he is not expected t feature in this contest. Villarreal, on the other hand, will be without Super Eagles star, Samuel Chukwueze, who is yet to recover from injury.

Speaking ahead of the game, Villarreal coach, Unai Emery said: “It’s only after this next training session that we’ll see for sure who can play tomorrow. Parejo, Coquelin and Chukwueze are left behind so they’re out for sure. Some players haven’t had a single minute in training but because of their importance maybe they’ll be on the bench.”

He the confirmed one player’s availability, saying: “Pau [Torres] comes to us having played the EURO and the Olympics, but he’ll play for tomorrow all being well. We are all very proud to represent the Liga, the president, the fans and Spanish football on this showpiece occasion.”

He added: “We have to adapt to circumstances. Pre-seasons always ask big questions of us, but this time is abnormal. We have a pandemic, long seasons, summer tournaments but Chelsea have that too. We have had some injuries but we won a tournament last season so that we could start this season with the chance of winning another. We simply need to adapt. We want to pick up where we left off last season against the best team in the world.”

Chelsea manager, Thomas Tuchel also spoke ahead of the game, saying:: “This was a pretty demanding situation. Tomorrow we will have a squad with some players who’ve had 45 minutes and others who’ve got several weeks and four matches in their legs. This has been a big challenge after a very special season [2019/20] and almost no break last summer, then a long season [2020/21] plus the EURO and Copa América. This has been very demanding, very challenging for us. Our physical department has done an amazing job.”

Tuchel spoke on the demands of pre-season: “Our coaching group has been working twice a day to split the sessions and we needed to provide good training for different groups of players. For a lot of my guys the preparation for a very demanding season will continue over the coming weeks. After the next national break [at the start of September] we will have a lot of players in better shape.”

Chelsea are the favourites with better players, coming into this game with a good run of form in the preseason friendlies, but they have lost their last three UEFA Super Cup games, winning only their first against Real Madrid in 1998. Villarreal, on the other hand, have never been here before and will hope to cause an upset.

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