Hello and welcome to Sports Mole
's live coverage of the pre-season friendly between Perth Glory
and Chelsea. The Blues - under new management - have watched on as the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool have all been in action, but now it is time to see how Maurizio Sarri
fares in his first game.
We are still awaiting the team news from Australia but Chelsea are in the building...
This is the stage for today's game. It's Perth's new multi-purpose stadium, which was completed at the start of 2018. Today's clash at the Optus Stadium - which has a capacity of 60,000 - is the first football match to be held at the venue.
Sarri has taken as many as 25 of his Chelsea players over to the other side of the world. Some players will not be given minutes today, but the trip is being used as a bonding exercise for Sarri, his staff and the players. We still await the team news...
There are numerous players who have missed out on the trip because of their participation at the World Cup. Thibaut Courtois, Willy Caballero, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Gary Cahill, Antonio Rudiger, Victor Moses, N'Golo Kante, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Eden Hazard, Willian, Olivier Giroud, Michy Batshuayi are all absentees. How many will still be at Stamford Bridge come the start of the season?
Finally...we have some team news for you. Let's see who Sarri has selected. His starting lineup includes a goalkeeper who you may not be familiar with...
Bulka; Zappacosta, David Luiz, Ampadu, Alonso; Fabregas, Jorginho
, Barkley; Hudson-Odoi, Morata, Pedro
CHELSEA SUBSTITUTES: Collins, Thompson, Aina, Tomori, Hector, Kalas, Emerson, Drinkwater, Palmer, Bakayoko, Pasalic, Piazon, Musonda, Abraham
That goalkeeper is Marcin Bulka, who is just 18 years of age. The teenager gets the nod over Brad Collins and Jared Thompson. There is also a start for fellow academy player Callum Hudson-Odoi
, who features in a front three which also includes Pedro and Alvaro Morata
As expected, Sarri will use a 4-3-3 formation and this particular team has plenty of creativity in the middle of the park with Cesc Fabregas and Ross Barkley both been given a start. We expect Barkley to be given more licence to advance into the final third.
As far as the defence is concerned, Ethan Ampadu will partner David Luiz in the centre with Davide Zappacosta and Marcos Alonso being used at full-back. It is going to be an interesting season for Alonso, who has perhaps flourished in the past due to operating as a wing-back. The Spaniard may have more defensive responsibility during the upcoming campaign.
The Chelsea bench is stacked with many players who will not expect to feature in Sarri's plans next season but this is still their window of opportunity to impress. However, Emerson Palmieri will want to challenge Alonso for his left-back role while Tiemoue Bakayoko will be aware that he has work to do in order to avoid being a bit-part player next season.
We are yet to be given an indication of how much trust Sarri will place in the club's academy setup but the likes of Charly Musonda and Tammy Abraham will hope to get their chance with the Blues. The likes of Kasey Palmer, Mario Pasalic and Lucas Piazon will most likely be loaned out in the coming weeks.
For those wondering, we are still awaiting the starting lineup from Perth. There are only 35 minutes until kickoff so we expect it fairly soon!
Back to Chelsea and a bit more information regarding their goalkeepers for this contest. Bulka is highly-regarded by the West Londoners and made four appearances during the Checkatrade Trophy last season. Brad Collins is likely to be second in command having played a full season in League Two for Forest Green Rovers during the most recent campaign.
One senior player who has been left encouraged by the appointment of Sarri is Fabregas. It's not a big surprise given that the playmaker was not suited to Conte's 3-4-3 system. Click here
to see what he had to say.
PERTH GLORY XI: Reddy, Franjic, Lowry, Neville, Grant, Ferreira, Kilkenny, Djulbic, Keogh, Wilson, Italiano
At last, Perth decide to be less secretive regarding their first XI. Glory's supporters had been hoping to see a first glimpse of Diego Castro
and Juande but the pair do not feature in the starting lineup.
However, Ivan Franjic plays after signing from Brisbane Roar, as does former Chelsea youth player Fabio Ferreira
, who moved to the Blues as a 16-year-old in 2005 and spent four years at the club. However, the attacking midfielder failed to make a first-team appearance at Chelsea, with his only game in English football coming as a substitute on loan at Oldham Athletic.
Fellow new signings Jason Davidson and Brendon Santalab are among the replacements. West Bromwich Albion and Huddersfield Town fans will recognise Davidson, with the full-back spending three years in England between 2014 and 2017. Veteran forward Santalab has played his football in a wide variety of places, including Belgium and China.
Chelsea are going through their final preparations in Perth. The Optus Stadium is expected to be full tonight and as you can see, fans are beginning to take their seats.
The Premier League side have put together a relatively small schedule for pre-season with just five first-team matches scheduled. Following this game, they return to Europe to face Inter Milan and Arsenal in Nice and Dublin respectively before facing Manchester City in the Community Shield. The final fixture takes place at Stamford Bridge on August 7 when Lyon will be the visitors.
Fewer matches will probably result in Sarri having to place more emphasis on getting his star men more minutes per game. None of the squad will likely play much more than an hour today but going forward, expect fewer changes with each encounter.
linked up with Sarri on the same day of his appointment. His price-tag and the games played under Sarri at Napoli show the faith of his manager, but it remains to be seen how Jorginho will be used alongside Chelsea's other key men. When Kante returns to the fold, the Italian international may be given more freedom than he may be provided with today.
Let's quickly turn our attention to Perth, who head into this game having just endured their second-worst campaign in 22 years. Glory lost 15 of their 27 matches in the A-League, which resulted in an eighth-placed finish out of 10 teams.
As we have already highlighted, it has resulted in Tony Popovic
making changes to the first-team squad in the off-season. However, the likes of Neil Kilkenny and Andy Keogh
remain after spells with Birmingham City and Wolverhampton Wanderers in the past.
Coach Popovic is no stranger to English football having spent five years of his career with Crystal Palace. The defender made a total of 130 outings for the Eagles before leaving in 2006.
PREDICTION! With this being Chelsea's first outing under Sarri, every player will want to impress but we are not expecting too much from the Blues. However, the Premier League side should have enough quality to prevail by a 2-0 scoreline.
A reminder of the two starting lineups...
PERTH GLORY XI: Reddy, Franjic, Lowry, Neville, Grant, Ferreira, Kilkenny, Djulbic, Keogh, Wilson, Italiano
CHELSEA XI: Bulka; Zappacosta, David Luiz, Ampadu, Alonso; Fabregas, Jorginho, Barkley; Hudson-Odoi, Morata, Pedro
This match was due to kickoff at 12.30pm, BST, but we are yet to see the two teams. We will keep you updated!
Here comes the two teams, with Chelsea being led by Fabregas...
KICKOFF: We are underway in Perth!
It has been an excellent start from Perth with Italiano showing his talent by getting the better of Ampadu and earning his side a corner.
From the resulting set piece, Grant rose above the Chelsea defence but was unable to direct his glancing header on goal. This is not the start that Sarri would have been hoping for!
GOAL! Perth Glory 0-1 Chelsea (Pedro)
Maybe it is the start that Sarri was looking for! Hudson-Odoi did brilliantly down the flank before finding Pedro in the middle, and it resulted in the Spaniard directing a volley into the net from around eight yards out.
If this is a sign of things to come from Sarri's team, everyone is in for an eventful ride. Chelsea have looked open at the back but with their first attack forward, they found the back of the net. The Blues look more comfortable now.
The rain has started to come down hard in Perth. Chelsea have already spent time training in storm-like conditions since arriving in Australia so this will not come as a surprise.
We have not had much action in either final third since the goal. Both teams seem perfectly content with easing their way into the game after a rapid start.
Both sides have managed corners without forcing Reddy or Bulka into any extra work. Hudson-Odoi is making the biggest impression for Chelsea right now. The teenager is indicating that he does not want to be sent out on loan this season...
Pedro is also looking to get in behind the defence as and when he can. Like his younger teammate, there is an eagerness to get into Sarri's good books. We are yet to see much of Morata.
Better from Morata who looks to work his way into the penalty area but Djulbic is equal to his efforts. We will be having a break in play while Ampadu and Franjic receive treatment after a collision, but both players should be fine to continue.
Barkley has been bypassed for much of the opening 20 minutes but the playmaker finally gets the chance to run at the Perth defence, only to be dispossessed by an well-timed challenge from Wilson.
Much of Chelsea's play continues to be about finding the right ball through the Perth defence. Fabregas tried to pick out Morata but the forward was correctly adjudged to be offside.
Chelsea fans will be increasingly optimistic about the future of Hudson-Odoi based on this performance. He certainly does not look out of place and is having success each time that he receives the ball in a wide position.
For all of their attacking intent, however, Chelsea are struggling to get shots on goal. Morata nearly got his first opportunity when latching onto a Barkley pass but Lowry was there to make the block.
Perth are only really offering a threat in flurries. Aside from that, it is backs-to-the-wall stuff from the Australian outfit.
Almost for Chelsea. Barkley and Fabregas are starting to get on the same wavelength and it results in the latter latching onto a pass from the Englishman. However, Neville makes the block when Fabregas appeared destined to score.
CHANCE! Chelsea should double their advantage. Zappacosta does well down the right before teeing up Pedro to get a shot on goal from inside of the penalty area, but the forward fires his effort across goal and off target.
Keogh has seen his opportunities in the Perth attack limited due to the presence of Ampadu and Luiz, and that is the case here with the Irishman being dispossessed in a threatening position after neat play from Italiano.
YELLOW CARD! Looks like Luiz is not treating this match as a friendly. The Brazilian goes into the book for a wild tackle on Ferreira.
Perth have the chance of getting the ball into the penalty area but Franjic's set piece goes over everyone and out for a goal kick.
More promising work down the left from Chelsea - again involving Hudson-Odoi - gives Alonso the opportunity to whip a cross into the box but Morata cannot get on the end of the delivery.
SHOT! Chelsea are having so much joy on the overlap. It comes on the right this time with Pedro playing in Zappacosta but the Italian fires his shot too close to Reddy in the Perth goal.
Perth will be grateful for the half-time whistle here. Chelsea look much the fitter and sharper of the two teams, despite probably still having to deal with a bit of jet-lag.
HALF TIME: Perth Glory 0-1 Chelsea
The half-time whistle goes in Australia and Chelsea lead thanks to that early goal from Pedro. Given the circumstances, that opening 45 minutes from the Blues was impressive, especially from youngster Hudson-Odoi who already looks at home in the first team.
Chelsea's opener came in just the fifth minute through Pedro's fine finish on the volley but it came as a result of the craft and vision of Hudson-Odoi down the left. The attacker does not turn 18 years of age until November but he is already showing talent and maturity beyond his years.
Pedro probably should have netted a second later in the half and Zappacosta also had an effort saved by Reddy but despite Chelsea's shots on goal being few and far between, they have offered a constant threat and it may be only a matter of time before a second goal arrives.
The two teams are starting to make their way back out. Harold has been introduced in place of Italiano for Perth. We wait to see whether Chelsea have made any alterations.
KICKOFF: We are back underway. Sarri has made three changes, with Emerson, Bakayoko and Pasalic coming on for Alonso, Jorginho and Hudson-Odoi.
It has been a slower start to the second half than the first. Some of these players will be looking to manage their fitness levels the longer that this match progresses.
Chelsea's first show of intent since the restart comes through Zappacosta, who gets down the right before seeing his cross cleared away from danger by Lowry.
OFF THE POST! Almost a first Chelsea goal for Barkley. His low shot was not particularly well struck but it had the beating of Reddy. However, the midfielder's strike hit the post and rebounded back into the hands of the goalkeeper.
SHOT! Chelsea are starting to press again. Fabregas tries his luck from distance but his shot is deflected into the hands of Reddy.
SHOT! They are all at it. Zappacosta shoots from long range but he also fails to beat Reddy, with the right-back's strike going off target.
SHOT! Ferreira takes it upon himself to remind Chelsea of what he can do. The playmaker got the better of Emerson - leaving him on the floor in the process - before seeing a shot comfortably dealt with by Bulka.
SHOT! All of a sudden, Chelsea are on the rack. Luiz could only clear a corner into the path of Franjic and the new arrival's volley was drilled away from Bulka's goal.
CHANCE! Another opportunity for Chelsea, this time for Barkley. The midfielder got his shot away from an acute angle but Reddy prevented the ball from finding the back of the net with his feet.
SUBSTITUTIONS! Two more changes from Sarri with Kalas and Abraham being introduced for Ampadu and Morata.
OFF THE POST! Chelsea hit the post for the second half since the restart. Pasalic has looked lively since his introduction at the break but he cannot get on the scoresheet as his curler strikes the post.
SAVE! Chelsea must surely add a second in this match at some stage. They again fail to find the net despite creating another good opportunity. Pedro was found inside the penalty area and got a volley on goal, but Reddy was alert to keep out the Spaniard.
SUBSTITUTIONS! Chelsea have already made five changes in this match and now so have Perth. Santalab, Davidson, Brimmer and Chianese have all been introduced with Keogh, Franjic, Kilkenny and Djulbic making way.
The change in personnel seems to have boosted the home side and they should do better when the ball is given to Davidson on the left, but the full-back's cross evades each of his teammates and Chelsea survive.
CHANCE! Barkley continues to knock on the door but the Englishman cannot convert from close range, with a shot being poked wide. Sarri will be delighted that - so far, at least - Barkley has come through at least three quarters of the match unscathed.
SUBSTITUTIONS! Two more alterations for Chelsea with Aina and Piazon replacing Zappacosta and Pedro.
SUBSTITUTIONS! Two more changes for Perth, with Juande and Castro being given the chance to make their debuts. Ferreira and Wilson are the players to make way.
CHANCE! Somehow, Perth remain in this football match and they look inspired to push on for an equaliser. Santalab was just found inside of the penalty area but the forward's header was headed wide.
The attendance at the Optus Stadium has been announced as 55,522. A sell-out was expected and although it is almost 5,000 short, Perth and the stadium owners will still be delighted with the turnout.
Sarri has made the seven changes. I thought we may have had a few more but Chelsea's fitness levels look up there for this stage of pre-season.
CHANCE! Santalab has proven to be a threat in the air since being introduced earlier in this second half, but another opportunity goes begging from a set piece with the veteran's header going over the crossbar.
YELLOW CARD! Santalab's enthusiasm gets the better of him here with the 35-year-old going in hard and late on Pasalic.
SHOT! Glory go agonisingly close to that equaliser! Harold controls a cross from Chianese before hitting the ball over Bulka. His effort is heading into the net only for the ball to be cleared off the line by a defender!
There will be three minutes of added-on time.
SHOT! Santalab tries one last effort for Perth but his long-range strike is never threatening the target. That should be that.
FULL TIME: Perth Glory 0-1 Chelsea
The full-time whistle goes in Perth and Chelsea have held on to register a narrow victory. Pedro's goal proved to be the difference between the sides but for a first outing under Sarri, this was a strong showing from the Blues. Glory played their part in the contest but lacked a cutting edge in the final third.
That will be all from Sports Mole
for this match. Thank you for joining us today and we hope to see you again soon.
If you would like to read our on-the-whistle match report, you can do so by clicking here. Goodbye for now.