Academy action steps up as new season looms large

‘We had a couple of loan players in the first half and you could see the difference in the result with us being 3-0 up at half-time.

‘It was a good reflection of what will come for these boys in the EFL Trophy, which starts for us in a couple of weeks at Exeter, in that you’ve got to be good on the ball, tactically understand, physically press, and maybe we’re not quite there yet but it was good for them to experience that.

‘They can answer the questions and then we have to rebuild because we go again on Tuesday against Boreham Wood, another National League team. It will be good to see what they learn from this game, to see what they can try to correct against another strong opponent, but the more these boys have these experiences, the better they will be for it.’

Loftus-Cheek feeling fitter than ever

Off the back of last season, which was arguably his best yet in terms of staying fit and clear of injury, as well as a promising pre-season at Chelsea so far this year, the 25-year-old says he is in great shape for 2021/22, and possibly even better than before that year-long absence.

‘I feel really fit now and strong, and hopefully the injuries stay away. Last season was my first full injury-free season which is a massive positive for me, because I always used to get niggles.

‘Even though I was fit I’d be out for a week or a couple of days, miss a couple of matches, but last season was good for my body to be fit every training session and available for every game.’

Loftus-Cheek also revealed how his current fitness and confidence is partly down to his desire to come back stronger, inspiring him to work hard on his own during his time off over the summer to ensure he would come back to Chelsea for pre-season already in great condition.

‘My break was relaxed. I had a little bit longer than usual, so I enjoyed it with my family, just mentally and physically. I started doing a bit of training quite early because I felt like I had a lot of time, so that’s why I feel fit now and relaxed and mentally fresh and ready to go.’

Watch the full interview now on the 5th Stand, Chelsea’s official mobile app

Chelsea’s month ahead: what to look forward to in August

We can also expect to find out our Carabao Cup third round opponents late in August, with the date for the draw to be confirmed.

Open training

Also in August is an open training session at Stamford Bridge, now on the morning of Wednesday 18 August. Season ticket holders and members can get a ticket for free here.

Women warm up

With plenty of players at the Olympic Games taking place in Tokyo, Chelsea Women’s season doesn’t start until September. However, they do have a couple of friendlies lined up this month, starting with the game at Arsenal tomorrow, taking place before the men’s contest, and also at the Emirates. Kick-off is 12.15pm.

Then, on Thursday 12 August, Emma Hayes’s side will play Rangers at their training centre. The game is behind closed doors, but will be available to watch for free on our website, YouTube channel, Facebook page and the 5th Stand App, from 7.25pm that night.

Academy action begins

The new campaign does get underway for our development squad and Under-18s. These are the fixtures they have to look forward to:

Development squad

Gallery: Duo return to Cobham

As part of the staggered return following Euro 2020, today saw club captain Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen back at training for the first time this pre-season. Both defenders had featured for Spain and Denmark respectively in their nations’ run to the tournament semi-finals.

Following warm reunions with team-mates, it was a light session for the pair at a wind-swept and showery Cobham. After joining the group warm-up, they split off for some gentle ball work before heading inside to the gym.

Elsewhere, the goalkeepers were put through their paces in blustery conditions, while the remainder of the group stepped up preparations for Sunday’s Mind Series opener against Arsenal. You can watch that game live on the 5th Stand app or the official Chelsea website, with more information here.

Check out the exclusive snaps below of Azpi and Andreas returning to work…

Gallagher departs on loan

In a mid-season switch of clubs he swapped struggling Charlton for promotion-chasing Swansea, where he joined close friend Guehi and the pair’s England Under-17 manager Steve Cooper. With the Swans, Gallagher dramatically secured a play-off spot on the final day of the regular season but the Welshmen were beaten in the semi-finals by Brentford.

Those exploits in the second tier earned the England Under-21 international a Premier League move last summer with West Brom, where he was a regular in midfield. Despite the Baggies’ struggles, first under Slaven Bilic and then Sam Allardyce, Gallagher played 2,683 minutes of football and won the Young Player of the Year award for a club that were ultimately relegated.

After returning for pre-season under Thomas Tuchel and featuring in friendlies against Peterborough United and Bournemouth, the youngster now heads across the capital for a season at Selhurst Park.

Palace finished 14th last term and begin their new campaign at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea, although Premier League rules mean Gallagher will not be eligible to face his parent club. His debut could therefore come at home to Brentford the following weekend.

UEFA Super Cup ticket update

Details of the sales procedure for those tickets will be announced on the club’s website at 4pm on Monday.

The match at Windsor Park will kick off at 8pm.

UEFA released news about the match today, stating there will be an overall maximum capacity of 13,000 spectators, all of whom will be asked to show proof of a negative PCR or lateral flow Covid test on entry, in line with the applicable local legislation. Kiosks inside the ground on the concourse areas will not be selling food and drinks.

Supporters from abroad will have to comply with border entry restrictions and requirements that will be in force at the time of the match, as no exemptions will be granted to ticket holders.

Gallery: Pre-season preparations continue at Cobham

The Blues will look to continue building on their summer work when we end our week with a game against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. As the build-up began for that fixture, which you can watch live on the 5th Stand app, the boys were out at our Surrey training base working hard following our comeback by the seaside against Bournemouth on Tuesday night.

Armando Broja and Tammy Abraham were pictured as they look to add to their goal tallies up front this pre-season, while the German duo of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz were both involved as they build up fitness with an eye to featuring for the first time since Euro 2020.

Take a look at these pictures from our latest training session below…

Statement issued following legal proceedings brought by Mr Abramovich

The following statement was released on Wednesday 28 July:

Today the first hearing took place in London, in the High Court, following the proceedings issued in March by Mr Abramovich over the defamatory claims made about him in the book ‘Putin’s People’, published by HarperCollins.

We have now had an opportunity to make our concerns clear to the Court and to explain why Mr Abramovich has brought this claim. The Defendants have also clarified their position regarding a number of the false and defamatory statements made about Mr Abramovich in the book.

Today the defendants argued, amongst other things, that they do not suggest that Mr Abramovich has acted in an illegal or unlawful manner and that, in fact, their portrayal of Mr Abramovich was intended ‘as someone able to do business in the US and the UK and as a person considered suitable to own a major football club.’ The defendants told the court that they consider Mr Abramovich to be separate to the main themes explored in the book and that ‘Putin’s inner circle comprises almost exclusively current Russian security service or former KGB personnel’, of which Mr Abramovich is clearly not a part.

The defendants also emphasised that the named individual who suggested that Chelsea Football Club was purchased at the direction of President Putin was someone ‘prone to overstating his role’ and argued that readers would take his credibility into account when reading the book. They did however not explain why this individual has such a central role in the book.

Although it is helpful to have the defendants’ clarifications – their position in today’s hearing does not correspond to what is actually written in the book, and further underscores the need for the false and defamatory claims about Mr Abramovich to be corrected as soon as possible.

Spokesperson for Mr Abramovich, July 28th, 2021

Chelsea Women’s first pre-season friendly to be streamed live

Emma Hayes’s side travel to north London for our first pre-season friendly of the summer as preparations continue for the start of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League in five weeks’ time.

The game will kick-off at 12.15pm and our men’s fixture against Arsenal, which is part of The Mind Series, will then follow at 3pm. Supporters have the opportunity to watch both games and you can find out more information about the live stream here.

Sunday’s fixture against Arsenal will be the first outing for Hayes’s side since the conclusion of our successful 2020/21 campaign, during which the Blues won the WSL, Continental League Cup, FA Community Shield and reached the Champions League final for the first time in our history.

Chelsea will begin our WSL title defence by facing Sunday’s opponents on the opening day of the new campaign and will be hoping to get our pre-season campaign underway with a win against the Gunners this weekend.

A number of players won’t be available for the game due to participation at the Tokyo Olympics, but supporters will get to see the likes of Pernille Harder, Erin Cuthbert, Bethany England and Guro Reiten back in action for the Blues.

Find out how you can watch the double header here

Bettinelli signs for Chelsea

Back in the Premier League, Bettinelli made his top-flight debut in a 4-2 victory against Burnley in August 2018, the start of a run of seven straight league starts. The first international break of the season saw the goalkeeper’s form rewarded with a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad, an achievement he repeated the following month in October, albeit without making an appearance for the Three Lions.

Yet after a promising start to the season, six games without a win meant Sergio Rico took the gloves for the remainder of the campaign. The Whites only won seven league games and received an immediate return ticket to the Championship.

A further 14 appearances followed in 2019/20 as injury disrupted his flow once again before he spent last season on loan at Middlesbrough, making 42 appearances and keeping 13 clean sheets for a side that finished 10th in the second tier.