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Jul 19, 2019 at 11am UK at ​Todoroki Athletics Stadium
KawasakiKawasaki Frontale
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Preview: Kawasaki Frontale vs. Chelsea - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Friday's pre-season friendly between Kawasaki Frontale and Chelsea.

Premier League outfit Chelsea continue their pre-season campaign on Friday when they take on Kawasaki Frontale in Yokohama.

Frank Lampard's side could be tested as they face a team who are currently sitting in third place in Japan's top flight.

Kawasaki Frontale

Chelsea are taking in a number of different nations and level of opposition during their pre-season, and the Blues are naturally expected to get the better of Kawasaki on Friday.

However, their hosts are the reigning J-League champions, while they have also only suffered one defeat in 18 top-flight matches during the current campaign.

Add to that the fact that just 11 goals have been conceded during that period, it leaves Kawasaki full of belief ahead of squaring off against one of the biggest teams in the world.

Unlike some of their nearest rivals, Kawasaki have not moved to sign star names in order to boost their profile, while only a couple of their squad are regulars with Japan's national team.

Praise for manager Toru Oniki has been forthcoming throughout his two-year tenure, although there is an argument that the 45-year-old deserves more credit for the job he has done at a club which he represented during his playing career.

Their most influential player is undoubtedly captain Yu Kobayashi, who has netted in his last three J-League outings and has been in free-scoring form over the past three years.

Hiroyuki Abe is another who stands out, while former South Korea goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong should take his place among the sticks.

Recent form: DDWWDW


Derby County manager Frank Lampard pictured on March 5, 2019© Reuters

Lampard has already used four different lineups in two matches during pre-season, but the trip to Japan has given an indication of which players will be included in the Englishman's first-team plans.

A 25-man squad have been named for the games with Kawasaki and Barcelona, with fringe contenders being named in place of the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Willian and Callum Hudson-Odoi.

The majority of those selected for the time spent in Asia will expect to feature for a significant part of one of the fixtures as Lampard moves away from making mass changes at half time.

The fixtures against Bohemians and St Patrick's Athletic gave Lampard an opportunity to try different things both in the form of personnel and formations, with the diamond midfield against the latter of the two Irish sides standing out.

Unlike with his predecessor Maurizio Sarri, this is a Chelsea squad who will have to adapt to being used in different positions as the Blues look to close the gap on Manchester City and Liverpool.

A bigger focus may be placed on the showdown with Barcelona next week - which represents a chance for Lampard to see where his side are currently at in their development - although there will also be a desire to get the better of one of Japan's best sides.

Mason Mount and Olivier Giroud were the star performers in Saturday's 4-0 win over St Patrick's, with the latter netting a double after Michy Batshuayi and Tammy Abraham had failed to score in the first half.

As far as the defence is concerned, Lampard will be assessing the development of Kurt Zouma, who continues to be linked with Everton despite being seemingly set to be kept at Stamford Bridge.

Recent form: DW

Team News

N'Golo Kante in action for Chelsea on September 15, 2018© Reuters

Despite travelling with the squad, N'Golo Kante may miss out on Friday as he continues to shake off a hamstring problem.

New arrival Christian Pulisic could be limited to an appearance off the bench having recently returned from international duty with USA.

Giroud should get the nod in attack, while Lampard may experiment with a new partnership in midfield as he debates whether to keep Tiemoue Bakayoko.

Oniki could start with his strongest XI, although several alterations are expected throughout the contest with Kawasaki returning to J-League action next week.

Kawasaki Frontale possible starting lineup:
Jung; Noborizato, Jesiel, Taniguchi, Kurumaya; Shimoda, Tanaka; Abe, Nakamura, Saito; Kobayashi

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Caballero; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Luiz, Palmieri; Jorginho, Bakayoko; Mount, Barkley, Pedro; Giroud

Head To Head

These two clubs will be meeting for the first time in their history.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Kawasaki Frontale 1-3 Chelsea

Chelsea will expect to register the win on Friday night, but do not be surprised if they are troubled by their hosts. Nevertheless, expect plenty of changes from Lampard at half time and in the second half, and the freshness could prove key by the full-time whistle.

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Who will win Friday's pre-season friendly between Kawasaki Frontale and Chelsea?

Kawasaki Frontale
Kawasaki Frontale
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Derby County manager Frank Lampard pictured on March 5, 2019
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