Chelsea face Villarreal in the 2021 Uefa Super Cup clash in Belfast tonight.
The Blues are appearing in this European showpiece fixture for the fifth time after seeing off Manchester City in Porto in May to clinch a second Champions League triumph.
Winners against Real Madrid in 1998, Chelsea finished as runners-up in 2012, 2013 and 2019, losing to Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich and Liverpool respectively.
But they will be favourites to overcome a Villarreal side making their first Super Cup appearance this evening.
The LaLiga outfit outlasted Manchester United in an epic penalty shootout after a tense 1-1 draw in Gdansk to secure their first major trophy and a fourth Europa League success for ex-Arsenal boss Unai Emery, who beat his former club along the way.
Despite winning the Champions League against the odds, the pressure will be on Thomas Tuchel to deliver Premier League glory this season – and another trophy would be the ideal start.
With kick-off at 8pm BST, follow the action with James Robson LIVE at Windsor Park!
So, Tuchel names the same Chelsea starting XI from the friendly draw with Tottenham.
Kai Havertz scored the only goal of the game as Chelsea beat Man City in last season’s Champions League final and he is named in a front three alongside compatriot Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.
Trevoh Chalobah makes his competitive debut as part of a back-three which also comprises Kurt Zouma and Antonio Rudiger.
Tammy Abraham has been named on the bench with the England striker’s Stamford Bridge future still uncertain.
Villarreal saw off Manchester United in a penalty shoot-out to win the Europa League and book a slot in the Super Cup at Belfast’s Windsor Park.
Gerard Moreno levelled for the LaLiga side in the final and is again named in attack by former Arsenal boss Unai Emery.
Chelsea XI: Mendy; Zouma, Chalobah, Rudiger; Hudson-Odoi, Kante (c), Kovacic, Alonso; Ziyech, Havertz, Werner
Subs: Kepa, Azpilicueta, Chilwell, Emerson, James, Christensen, Thiago Silva, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek, Mount, Pulisic, Abraham
Lukaku arrives in England
James Robson has the latest on Romelu Lukaku…
The striker has touched down in England to complete his £97.5m move to Chelsea.
The Belgium international will finalise his return to Stamford Bridge after spending the last two days undergoing the formalities on his contract extension with his representative Federico Pastorello.
The Italian agent, who secured Lukaku’s move from Manchester United to Inter before brokering his switch to Chelsea, announced the agreement on Wednesday afternoon.
With that paperwork completed the pair then jetted off from Monaco to London to sign terms on his Chelsea deal.
Lukaku was filmed leaving Biggin Hill airport to complete the formalities of his return to the club where he was an academy starlet.
Super Cup referee
Tonight’s referee is Sergei Karasev, a 42-year-old Russian.
Karasev said of officiating the game: “It’s still hard for me to believe at the moment. It will fully come home to me as the match gets closer.
“It will be something special to walk out on to the field. This is a great honour, and I’m grateful for the trust that UEFA has shown in me and my team.”
You can never count out Unai Emery when it comes to silverware – unless he’s in charge of Arsenal – but this Chelsea team are looking good in pre-season and will be keen to lay down a marker ahead of the new season.
Chelsea XI: Mendy; James, Thiago, Rudiger; Pulisic, Kante, Kovacic, Chilwell; Ziyech, Werner; Havertz
Villarreal XI: Asenjo; Gaspar, Foyth, Albiol, Pedraza; Yeremy, Morlanes, Trigueros, Dia; Moreno, Alcacer
Early Villarreal team news
Villarreal should be spearheaded by Gerard Moreno, but attacker Samuel Chukwueze remains out with a hamstring injury.
Fernando Nino, fresh from making a horror tackle on Wesley Fofana which broke the Leicester man’s leg, is also in contention.
Early Chelsea team news
Given Romelu Lukaku has not completed his transfer in time, that should mean Timo Werner leads the line for Chelsea.
He will likely supported by Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech, who scored twice against Tottenham. Mason Mount may have to come off the bench after a later return to the squad.
Where to watch
TV channel: The match will be televised on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport Ultimate.
Live stream: BT Sport subscribers will be able to watch the match online via the website or BT Sport app.
A reminder now that tonight’s Super Cup is scheduled for an 8pm BST kick-off and will be held at Windsor Park in Belfast, Northern Ireland.