Cesar Azpilicueta, our Premier League ever-present this season, welcomes some fresh, young blood into the squad for Wednesday evening’s match in the United States, a fixture he is viewing as part of the preparation for the Europa League climax in a fortnight’s time.
The Blues have brought a strong party of players to Boston for the Final Whistle on Hate game against the local MLS side, but included are five prospects who have yet to make their debuts for the senior side, even if for a couple of them there have been appearances on the subs’ bench.
Speaking on the eve of the match against New England Revolution, Azpilicueta ran through the new faces.
‘It is very exciting to have them back in the case of Reece [James] and Trevoh [Chalobah] who have come back from their loans, and we also have Conor [Gallagher] who was named Player of the Year in the Academy and has been playing with the Under-19s and the Under-23s.
‘We have Marc [Guehi] who was on the bench in the last Premier League game and also played in the Under-19s version of the Champions League, and Ike [Ugbo] for the last couple of months has been training with us regularly, so it is an opportunity for them to be part of the team and travel with us, and to be involved in a game.
‘We have the senior players and we are approaching our most important game of the season, the final in Baku,’ he added, ‘and we are focused on keeping having good feelings and being a good team and keeping fit, because there are still nearly two weeks to the final.
‘This game is the last game before the big game so we have to use it in the right way. We are facing an opponent who are also involved in their league at the moment so hopefully we can do what we have been doing this season and hopefully improve the team with new members in the squad, and we are very happy to have them with us.’
Azpilicueta also addressed the main reason for this week’s game in the United States, the raising of awareness of the campaign against antisemitism and all forms of discrimination, on this occasion in partnership with the Revolution.
‘We have been quite busy in the last few weeks, trying to get into the Europa League final, playing our last Premier League games for qualification to get into the Champions League, but we are very pleased to be back here in America,’ he said.
‘It is my first time in Boston, and it is a game we are all looking forward to playing because it is a big event for everybody. We keep fighting against antisemitism and against all forms of discrimination.
‘Chelsea is a club that is very active in all kinds of campaigns and we are very proud of what the club is doing. For us it is a big opportunity to keep doing the job we are doing in England but all over the world, and hopefully in terms of football we can see a good football game.’