Coming off a disappointing result against local rival Arsenal in the Community Shield, Chelsea will face their final tune-up match on Wednesday when they host Fiorentina in the International Champions Cup at Stamford Bridge.
Jose Mourinho will not have Diego Costa for the upcoming match, and may also be without the injured star striker against Swansea City in the Premier League opener on Saturday. Radamel Falcao will replace Costa in the starting lineup against Fiorentina, according to Mourinho.
Injuries could be a serious issue for the defending Premier League champions. The Blues enter the season with a lack of defensive depth, but full-back reinforcements may be on the way. According to recent reports, Chelsea may be nearing a deal for Tottenham's Danny Rose, as well as 21-year-old Baba Rahman, who plays for FC Augsburg.
Fiorentina addressed their own defensive concerns with the addition of center back Davide Astori on Tuesday. The 28-year-old previously played for Cagliari and Roma, and has 10 appearances for Italy.
Much like Mourinho, new manager Paulo Sousa is looking to bring a higher level of swagger to his latest club. This is the 44-year-old's seventh club since making his debut with Queens Park Rangers in 2008-2009.
He may be off to a good start. Fiorentina, who finished fourth in Serie A in 2014-2015, are fresh off a rousing 2-1 victory over Barcelona in ICC play. Sousa's side benefited from a brace in the first 12 minutes by Federico Bernardeschi and seven saves from new No. 1 goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu. The 29-year-old Romanian replaces Brazilian goalkeeper Neto, who moved on to Juventus.
Fiorentina have scored four goals in their last three matches, to finish with a 1-1-1 record in ICC. Chelsea have scored five goals in their ICC matches, but have two draws and a loss on their record.
While Chelsea's season opener is just days away, Fiorentina have a long break before they start the Serie A season against AC Milan on Aug. 23. The disparity between meaningful matches may be evident with the level of effort on display. However, Chelsea is expected to outlast the Italian side with players like Falcao, Asmir Begovic and Juan Cuadrado eager to provide a positive impression.
Prediction: Chelsea over Fiorentina, 2-0