Friendly number two of seven of the pre-season campaign happens today
After eight days in the Irish capital of Dublin, Chelsea are about to play their second game (of seven) of the pre-season campaign against St. Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park.
WHO ARE ST. PATRICK’S ATHLETIC?
St Patrick’s Athletic – nicknamed The Saints – were formed back in 1929. The Pats play in The League of Ireland Premier Division, winning the league title on eight occasions – last time being in 2013 – along with winning the FAI Cup three times.
Their Richmond Park ground (opened in 1925) has been home to them since 1930 and has a capacity of 5,340, with it expected to be a sell-out for today’s game.
The Pats are currently two-thirds of the way through their 2019 campaign and sit fifth in the table, five points behind Bohemians, who the Blues faced this past Wednesday.
The main threat from St. Patrick’s Athletic will be their influential midfielder Christopher Forrester, who returned to the club this year after four years away, with spells at Peterborough United and Aberdeen.
The current manager is Harry Kenny, who is in his first season managing the club, replacing Liam Buckley (& Ger O’Brien who was Caretaker Manager).
Conor Clifford spent six years at the Chelsea academy after swapping Dublin for London in his teenage years. His most memorable moment came at Stamford Bridge in 2010, being captain as Chelsea won their first FA Youth Cup since 1961.
There have been no previous meetings between the two sides, although our current Head coach Frank Lampard – along with former blue, teammate and now academy Coach Joe Cole – did line up for West Ham United in a friendly against the Pats back in July 2000, with the Hammers winning 1-0.
Since the 1-1 draw to Bohemians on Wednesday, the 35-man squad has been reduced to 27, with eight players returning to Cobham to re-join the youth/development squads, along with either going on loan for next season or moving away on a permanent basis.
Despite those eight players leaving, this still leaves Lampard plenty of options to choose from.
It’s expected that the thirteen players that joined up at the training camp on this past Monday will start and play the majority of the game, getting approximately 45-60 minutes before being replaced by those who played the majority of the game against Bohemians.
Expect the likes of Jorginho, N’Golo Kantè, David Luiz and Mateo Kovačic to feature, alongside returning loanees in Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham.
Youngsters Billy Gilmour and Ian Maatsen were kept on from Monday’s game and could feature today, but will return to Cobham after this game as the first-team fly out to Japan.
HOW TO WATCH
Let’s hope for a win, a better performance compared to Wednesday’s game and no injuries before the Blues head off to the Far East for the next stage of the pre-season campaign, facing Kawasaki Frontale and Barcelona in Japan.