Big spending Paris St Germain meet European Champions Chelsea for the first football match to be staged at the new Yankee stadium on Sunday 22nd July. The French side have just completed a massive £50 million double transfer swoop for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, signalling their intent on becoming the top club in Europe this season. Chelsea battled to an unlikely Champions League triumph only months after sacking Andre Villas-Boas and are the new team to beat on the European stage.
This friendly fixture is given added spice by the fact that PSG are now coached by former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti who led the Blues to the first League and Cup double in their history before being unceremoniously sacked. Ancelotti was well respected during his time at Stamford Bridge and is unlikely to show any animosity towards his old club but he would certainly enjoy a victory this weekend. PSG’s £50 million raid on AC Milan for Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Brazilian centre-back Thiago Silva was just the latest in a series of signings that are making the club a force to be reckoned with. They recently added Argentine striker Ezequiel Lavezzi and Italy’s promising Under-21 midfielder Marco Verratti to their squad and both players could feature on Sunday.
Chelsea are yet to add to their early summer signings of Eden Hazard and Marko Marin but are still as competitive as ever in the transfer market. Barely a day passes without one star player from around Europe being linked with the Stamford Bridge club. The Blues started their United States tour in impressive fashion with a 4-2 victory over Seattle Sounders. The departure of Didier Drogba and the absence of Fernando Torres (Euro 2012 duty) and Daniel Sturridge (GB Olympic team) meant that Romelu Lukaku was given a rare start up front. He grabbed his chance with both hands, scoring twice to present Roberto Di Matteo with a timely reminder of his capabilities.
There were also goals for Chelsea new boys Hazard and Marin in an entertaining match with all six goals coming in the first period. Hazard looks like proving an exciting recruit for Chelsea and there were also encouraging signs from Marin and De Bruyne. The Belgian star was the subject of bids from Manchester United and Manchester City but Chelsea’s European success convinced him that his future lay in London. He also discussed the move with former Lille team mate Joe Cole who was able to recommend Chelsea as a terrific career move. With so many star players on show, it promises to be a sell-out with the American fans who are really taking to soccer in a big way.
Although this may be a “friendly”, Chelsea can expect Ancelotti to start with a strong line up and the first hour promises to be very entertaining. William Hill make Chelsea even money favourites with PSG and the draw on offer at 11-5.