CHELSEA have been gearing up for their post-season friendly in America by training at Harvard University in Boston. Maurizio Sarri’s side flew over to the States after their 0-0 draw vs Leicester at the King Power Stadium on Sunday secured the Blues 3rd spot. Chelsea face MLS club New England Revolution in the early hours of Thursday morning, with Reece James in line to start following his superb loan spell at Wigan.
The fixture has been questioned by boss Sarri, despite it being part of the club’s anti-racism programme.
The match is being dubbed the “Final Whistle on Hate”, as part of the “Say no to anti-Semitism” campaign. Chelsea’s trip to the USA kicks off an exhausting 11,500-mile world tour over the next 2wks with the side in action in the Europa League final on May 29. Bragging rights are on offer with Chelsea to face London rivals Arsenal in Baku – though fans have been left outraged that the clubs have only been allocated 6,000 tickets each. Speaking at a Q&A session ahead of the clash vs New England,
Cesar Azpilicueta said: “Our target is obviously always to win. “But we want to make sure we are together with the fans because when we go to play we have our badge on the shirt.” The Spanish defender, 29, then declared that his favourite goal for the club was his strike vs Arsenal in the 2-0 win at the Emirates in the League Cup in October 2013. Team-mate Olivier Giroud picked his FA Cup semi-final solo effort at Wembley vs Southampton last year.
Giroud, 32, said: “It’s obvious. It’s the goal vs Southampton in the FA Cup semi-final. Some people said it was a Messi goal!. “It was a bit unusual for me! But it was a very good goal&I’m quite proud of it. It helped the team reach a final&then we won it at the end. “It was a great feeling, even more because I had my brothers in the stands.”
While midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek has hailed Azpilicueta as a leader in the side, along with Gary Cahill who is available on a free transfer in the summer. He told ESPN: “We look up to the senior guys in the squad, observe them&see how they act&see how they lead — especially Gary Cahill&Cesar Azpilicueta.
“They’re 2 of the most professional footballers I’ve seen. “David [Luiz] as well. But I think it’s time for us. Me&Andreas [Christensen] are 23 now. “It’s not so young&we have to step up when we get given the time to play,&start to become really important players for the team.”
While he also revealed he hopes to become a figurehead in the side like club legend John Terry. He added: “He was always organising&sorting stuff out to make it easier for us. On the pitch he was very vocal&was that character you have at the back who would organise&make you feel safe. “I’ve observed that and felt that feeling,&that’s something that comes with experience. The more experience I get, then hopefully I can be that person.” As Christian Pulisic looks ahead to linking up with Chelsea in the summer, Eden Hazard’s exit is edging closer with reports stating his transfer to Real Madrid will be confirmed after the Europa League final.