It’s finally here. Football is officially back as Chelsea kicks off its season with the chance at a meaningful trophy. Unlike Leicester City and Manchester City, who played for that pointless domestic shield, the Blues will be competing for another piece of European silverware in the form of the UEFA Super Cup. Thomas Tuchel’s men will square off against Unai Emery’s Villarreal, reigning champion of the Europa League.
Chelsea will be playing in its fifth Super Cup all-time. The Blues were winners in their first go around in Monaco against Real Madrid (1998), but they’ve dropped every return match since, to the likes of Atletico Madrid (2012), Bayern Munich (2013) and Liverpool (2019). Meanwhile, the Yellow Submarine is making its first appearance in the contest after winning its maiden European trophy last season. Europa League specialist Emery led his Villarreal side to a thrilling win over Manchester United in penalties.
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Chelsea vs Villarreal preview: Wednesday’s UEFA Super Cup clash in Belfast
This is largely a clash of two clubs who could not be any further apart as it relates to their experience. While Chelsea’s nucleus is made up of young stars, they have already played in three cup finals over the last two years. Further, the Blues have Europe’s biggest club trophy to their name. The west Londoners have won the trophy two times over the last 10 years, making them one of the most successful teams on the continent before even examining the rest of their trophy case.
On the other side of the aisle is Villarreal, a club with more verbal history (founded in 1923) than tangible titles. One can count the number of titles the Yellow Submarine has on one hand and a quick peak at its Wikipedia page—where runners-up finishes are listed—tells you everything you need to know. That’s not to discredit Villarreal either. The team represents a city that is more than three times smaller than Bournemouth, it should be incredibly proud of its four titles (UEFA Europa League, UEFA Intertoto Cup x2 and Tercera Division). Further, if there is anybody fit to bring silverware to Estadio de la Ceramica, it’s Emery. The Spaniard has 11 team titles under his belt.
Despite the large gap in experience, few are counting Villarreal out of this contest. The Yellow Submarine’s inspiring display against Manchester United just a few months ago put the side on the radar. Emery has a handful of phenomenal players at his side and his team is as disciplined out of possession as just about any other you’ll find in Europe. The Blues have their work cut out for them, especially considering a sizable minority within their team hasn’t played at all this preseason outside of a closed-door friendly.
Where can you watch Chelsea vs Villarreal in the Super Cup?
Date: Wednesday, August 11
Time: 3:00 p.m. ET (8:00 p.m. GMT)
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Venue: Windsor Park
Referee: Sergei Karasev (RUS)
TV Info: CBS Sports Network (USA), BT Sport (UK)
Live Stream: Paramount+ (USA), BT Sport app (UK)