UEFA Super Cup final preview: Can Chelsea kickstart their season on a flying note?
Chelsea will look to start the new season on a high when they take on Villarreal in the UEFA Super Cup final at Windsor Park in Belfast on Wednesday.
The Blues emerged Champions League winners last season after beating Manchester City 1–0 in the final. Villarreal, on the other hand, edged Manchester United in a penalty shootout to secure the Europa League title.
Wednesday’s final will be Chelsea’s fifth in the Super Cup, after appearances in 1998, where they beat Real Madrid, 2012, 2013, and 2019. They lost the other three finals to Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Liverpool, respectively, but will now try to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat, by beating Villarreal, who are making their first-ever appearance.
Chelsea will fancy their chances against their Spanish opponents. They have had a pretty decent pre-season campaign, with two wins and a draw in three matches, defeating Bournemouth and Arsenal before playing a 2–2 draw with Tottenham.
Villarreal, meanwhile, had a poor pre-season run, with three defeats and three draws in six games. They go into Wednesday’s match off the back of a 2–2 draw with Premier League side, Leeds United, and do not seem to be in fine fettle.
Thomas Tuchel and his charges are looking forward to the new Premier League season, which begins this week, and are attempting to reinforce their squad with the addition of Romelu Lukaku, who was the best player in Serie A last season.
Chelsea’s pursuit of Lukaku underlines their ambitions, but they should be able to lay down an early marker and send out a stronger statement with victory over Villarreal on Wednesday night