Chelsea could claim the first Summer Series trophy with a win but it would depend on Aston Villa’s result against Brentford earlier in the day. Noni Madueke could return for Chelsea today in their final Premier League Summer Series game, against rivals Fulham. The 21-year-old was one of the few bright sparks at the end of last season but has yet to play for his new manager Mauricio Pochettino. Reece James played 65 minutes in Chelsea’s previous friendly in the Premier League Summer Series, a 1-1 draw against Newcastle in Atlanta. Chelsea have since returned to their training base in Philadelphia but will fly to the capital of the United States on Saturday before facing Fulham on Sunday evening. Kepa Arrizabalaga will likely continue in goal but Pochettino will spread the minutes around elsewhere and potentially rotate his entire defence. Malo Gusto, Thiago Silva, Levi Colwill and Ben Chilwell could all come into the backline in place of James, Trevoh Chalobah, Bashir Humphreys and Marc Cucurella.
Enzo Fernandez may continue in midfield but Andrey Santos could play alongside him for the first time, with Conor Gallagher also possibly recalled. Raheem Sterling, Christopher Nkunku and Madueke could all be involved in attack with Pochettino likely to make a lot of half-time substitutions in the high heat of Washington DC. As the summer tour rolls on amid all the inclement weather on the East Coast, Chelsea are set to take on friendly neighbors Fulham in our fourth preseason and third and final “Premier League Summer Series” game later today. This fixture normally takes place within a two-mile radius in South West London. This time we do it in (the) Washington, DC (area). Did you know there was an official table of standings for the PL Summer Series? We could yet win it! (If we get more points today or score more goals than Villa, who play Brentford in the first game of today’s double-header.)
Chelsea team news: Mauricio Pochettino was unable to hold his pre-match press conference due to the team bus getting delayed by bad weather, but as far as we know, there are no injury concerns in the traveling squad at the moment. And in even better news, Noni Madueke looks set to make his preseason debut after working out the remaining kinks of an injury left over from his international duty earlier this summer. With two weeks to go until our season opener against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea’s play showed some promising signs against Newcastle on Wednesday — maybe not in terms of the scoresheet, but in terms of match control and patterns of play. So hopefully we can build on that as well as keep building fitness for the season ahead.
Fulham team news: Fulham surprised many with a 10th place finish last year, their highest in two decades, and so far they’ve managed to hang on to the core of that team — including re-signing Willian, convincing manager Marco Silva to say, and, most notably, keeping Aleksandr Mitrović. Their leading goalscorer attempted to force a move to the Saudi Pro League but has now seemingly made his peace with staying. Fulham signed Raúl Jiménez from Wolves to potentially replace him in the meantime, now they both might be in the same team. Mitrović is not likely to play against Chelsea, having just arrived to join camp, but Jiménez is in line for his first minutes of the summer. Fulham did suffer an injury scare with João Palhinha in their last game, a 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa, but it looks like the in-demand midfielder has avoided any serious damage to his knee. He’s day-to-day, though also subject to plenty of rumors and speculation.