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Chelsea team news: Predicted XI to face Barcelona – debuts for Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie De Jong?


Preparations are currently underway for Chelsea to face Barcelona in the Rakuten Cup on Tuesday morning.

The Blues will take on the Spanish champions at the Saitama Stadium in the hope they can improve on their last pre-season showing.

Frank Lampard’s side suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to little-known Kawasaki Frontale in their previous fixture, having beaten Irish side St Patrick’s and drawn with Bohemians.

The Frank Lampard era at Chelsea is well and truly underway
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The former England international knows exactly what the Blaugrana are all about, having been a part of several memorable fIxtures between the sides – captaining the side for the the Champions League semi-final in 2011

“Barcelona are a team that I have some great memories of playing against, some good and some bad,” he told the club’s official website.

“I have always had a huge respect for them because when you play against Barcelona you know you are playing against, they say, more than a club, and I agree with that.

“We are very proud to be here to play this match.”

Lampard knows all about facing Barcelona
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Team News

Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie De Jong are set to make their debuts for Barcelona, but Ernesto Valverde is set to be without a number of star names.

Following their exploits at the Copa America, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi have been given extended leave, as has Liverpool target Philippe Coutinho.

For Chelsea, both Tammy Abraham and goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga could be back after missing the defeat to Kawasaki Frontale through illness.

Barcelona’s new football players Frenkie de Jong, Hiroki Abe, Neto and Antoine Griezmann pose with Japanese Rakuten company President and CEO Hiroshi Mikitani and Barcelona’s head coach Ernesto Valverde
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Midfielder N’Golo Kante has returned to the UK to undergo further rehab for a knee injury sustained towards the end of last season. The France international has not played a part in Chelsea’s pre-season thus far.

Chelsea are also without long-term absentees ​Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi, ​Willian and ​Antonio Rudiger as they continue their rehabilitation from long-term injuries.

Predicted Chelsea team

Here’s how the Blues could line up at the Saitama Stadium

Although Christian Pulisic got his first minutes in a Chelsea shirt last time out, expect to see the experienced Pedro start initially against his former side.

Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen are both likely to be vying for a starting berth alongside David Luiz next season, with Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta first choice full-backs.

Mason Mount and Ross Barkley have arguably been the stand-out performers for the Blues so far, Tiemoue Bakayoko is enjoying a strong return to form as well.

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