The Frank Lampard era at Chelsea gets underway on Wednesday with a friendly against Irish side Bohemians.
The Blues will play the first of seven exhibition matches this summer at Dalymount Park before wrestling with St Patrick’s Athletic on Saturday.
Lampard will be eager to get his reign off to a positive start against the club that finished sixth in the 2018 League of Ireland Premier Division and currently sit third in the 2019 standings.
With a fragmented squad and against opponents determined to catch the eye, it promises to be no easy task.
|Game||Bohemians vs Chelsea|
|Date||Wednesday, July 10|
|Time||7:45pm BST / 2:45pm ET|
In the United States (US), the game can be streamed via chelseafc.com or The 5th Stand app.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|n/a||chelseafc.com / The 5th Stand|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be streamed via chelseafc.com.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|n/a||chelseafc.com / The 5th Stand|
Squads & Team News
|Defenders||Kirk, Adigun, M. Byrne, Finnerty, Pender, Leahy, McCourt, Cornwall, Lyons, Barker, Wade-Slater|
|Midfielders||Allardice, Ward, Thornton, Levingston, Buckley, Mandriou|
|Forwards||Graydon, Magerusan, Marishta, Devaney, Omochere, Corcoran, Grant, S. Byrne, Swan|
Michael Barker, Aaron Barry, Rob Cornwall, Danny Grant, Kevin Devaney, Dinny Corcoran and Cristian Magerusan all missed last Friday’s match with Cork. Keith Buckley and Danny Mandriou are fit.
|Goalkeepers||Kepa, Caballero, Cumming|
|Defenders||Azpilicueta, Zappacosta, Zouma, Ampadu, Alonso, Christensen, David Luiz, Emerson, Tomori, Chalobah, Sterling, Guehi, Maatsen|
|Midfielders||Kovacic, Kante, Jorginho, Drinkwater, Barkley, Bakayoko, Kenedy, Mount, Brown, Baker, Palmer, Gallagher, Gimour|
|Forwards||Pedro, Batshuayi, Giroud, Abraham, Piazon, Ugbo|
Although players have been joining the Chelsea squad in dribs and drabs, Frank Lampard is expected to only use members of Friday’s initial travelling party, including Academy players Billy Gilmour and Conor Gallagher.
Kurt Zouma and Tiemoue Bakayoko, who are back at the club after loans, may well play some role, while Willy Caballero, Cesar Azpilicueta and Pedro are also available.Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Antonio Rudiger are injured.
Chelsea are naturally red-hot favourites and can be backed at 1/33 with Bet365. A draw is priced at 12/1, while a Bohemians win is on offer at 20/1.Click here to see all of bet 365’s offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more.
Frank Lampard only became Chelsea manager officially on July 4 but has already had to deal with the complexities of pre-season at a big club. Training began on Friday but players are set to return in waves due to their involvement in international competitions around the globe.
Notably, Willian was part of the Brazil squad that won the Copa America, while January arrival Christian Pulisic, who is effectively a new signing as he was loaned back to Borussia Dortmund upon signing, was with the USA as they lost out in the Gold Cup final.
A transfer ban, however, is the greatest of Lampard’s problems and is set to see him turn to youth at various points this season. He is, therefore, bound to experiment with a number of academy players throughout pre-season, including Wednesday’s match against Bohemians.
The new boss has made light of the situation.“The bonus is I’ll have quite a calm July,” he said. “If I came into a squad I felt was short that would be a huge problem, I don’t think it is.
“I know we’ve got a good squad and a lot of really good young talent. That’s certainly becomes a big focus of the year. First is to be competitive, but second, can we put some faith in the young players and see if they can get into the first team and show what they can do.
“I have spoken about it and I will make it very clear going in that the door is open if you prove that you are good enough, but I do think the motivation should be there. Hopefully, that will be a nice way to start the season, talk to the young lads and if they have had a foot in the first-team or not they should use that.
“The reality is we should be competing no matter what and my job is to try and find a balance between the players that think they are in the first-team squad and the players breaking through.”
That balance will be found in pre-season matches such as this against the Irishmen, who have drawn their two most recent League of Ireland fixtures 0-0 against Derry and Cork.
The hosts will want to make this as competitive and as difficult an introduction to the Blues dugout as possible for the new manager, though their own boss Keith Long recently hit out at the fixture schedule, which he claimed lacked respect for players.
With an injury-hit squad and still a great deal to play for heading into the closing weeks of the Irish season, Bohs will have to juggle exerting themselves in this match and impressing when it really matters.