Chelsea and Barcelona go head-to-head in an International Champions Cup pre-season clash at the FedEx Field in Maryland on Wednesday morning.
The Blues’ summer campaign got off to a shock start with a defeat to Major League Soccer side New York Red Bulls, but the English champions returned to winning ways by beating Paris Saint-Germain on penalties at the Bank of America Stadium on Saturday night – in a much improved performance.
Barca, meanwhile, are off the back of a 3-1 loss to Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United.
Jose Mourinho will no doubt be looking to further upset a Barca side missing superstars Lionel Messi and Neymar due to their participation in the Copa America tournament.
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Predicted Chelsea XI vs Barcelona: Diego Costa and Eden Hazard to lead attack against Spanish giants
Chelsea have been quiet in this summer’s transfer window – perhaps much to the surprise of many – as Mourinho appears to be sending a message of intent by not spending big, and showing faith in the current crop of starts that helped see the Premier League title return to Stamford Bridge for the first time in five years last term.
Radamel Falcao was handed his first minutes for the Blues in their win over PSG, and his debut certainly left supporters excited by their new arrival – despite the uncertainty over his signing following a miserable season-long loan at Old Trafford.
It’s likely, however, that Diego Costa will start against the La Liga BBVA giants on Saturday, but Falcao and Loic Remy will be looking to come off the bench and catch the eye of their Portuguese manager.
Eden Hazard, Willian and Oscar are all predicted to start, leaving Juan Cuadrado in his customary Chelsea role on the substitutes bench.
With the FA Community Shield against London rivals Arsenal to come on Sunday and the Premier League season under two weeks away, Mourinho is expected to field his strongest XI before their title-defending campaign kicks off.