Champions League winners Chelsea and Europa League winners Villarreal will meet in the UEFA Super Cup in Belfast on Wednesday evening.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel faces a selection dilemma for Wednesday’s clash with Villarreal as he chooses between first-team regulars who have recently returned from their summer breaks after featuring at Euro 2020, or fringe players who have undergone a full pre-season.
Chelsea and Villarreal’s Super Cup history
- Chelsea won the Super Cup in 1998 after winning the UEFA Cup Winners Cup. However, they have lost their three subsequent appearances in 2012, 2013 and 2019.
- Villarreal will be competing in the Super Cup for the first time. The last Spanish winners were Atletico Madrid in 2018.
“It’s quite a normal situation in preparation until the transfer window is closed,” Tuchel said. “Tammy [Abraham] is one of these players where we constantly evaluate the situation and adapt to the needs, but for tomorrow there is no news now.
“He is available, he is in training today and available for the starting 11 and to come off the bench.”
He added that those players who have returned late to training were not likely to play the full 90 minutes in Belfast.
Villarreal will be without winger Samuel Chukwueze, who continues to recover from a hip injury sustained against Arsenal in the Europa League semi-finals, while Dani Parejo will also miss out with a calf problem.
Recent Covid concerns have also seen Unai Emery’s options narrowed, and it remains to be seen if Etienne Capoue, Francis Coquelin, Geronimo Rulli and Vicente Iborra will feature.
Kovacic hungry for more trophies
Mateo Kovacic has twice won the Super Cup while at Real Madrid, and is keen to bring the trophy back to Stamford Bridge.
“This club is about winning, about winning titles,” he said. “We are here to do that and tomorrow we have the first opportunity to lift a trophy. We will do everything to be on our highest level, to compete against a great opponent, and to win our first game of the season.
“Chelsea is a club that is used to winning trophies, and that every year is competing for some trophies, and this young team has shown that in the last year we can achieve great things, and I’m sure we’re not going to stop there.
“We are a young team that is hungry for titles, that wants to win titles, and we need to concentrate for tomorrow to lift our first one of this season.”
Tuchel has accepted some responsibility for Tammy Abraham’s lack of opportunities last season as the striker’s future at the club lies in the balance.
“I will not comment on the actual situations – how far this is and if it’s true and not true,” Tuchel said. “Tammy is right now in the squad. He did some good preparation matches.
“He was clearly not happy with the last half a year and maybe he has reason also not to be happy and maybe it was also my fault not to push him, not to trust him on the same level I maybe trusted other players.
“I can absolutely understand that he wants more minutes. So the decision will be ‘how do we plan, what are Tammy’s plans, does he fight his way back into the team from the position where he ended last season or does he want to change club to have the chance of being a regular starter?'”
View from Villarreal
Villarreal head coach Unai Emery: “We are playing to win another title. It is the award of winning a brilliant Europa League and now we are facing the Champions League winner, the best club in the world. This needs to give us some extra motivation and eagerness and take it as a challenge to see where we stand this season as we are playing in the Champions League.”
Villarreal defender Raul Albiol: “I think at this level, all teams have huge respect, especially when you are playing in a final. We respect them as they respect us. The teams who won both tournaments last year are playing each other so I think it is going to be a nice match to play. Obviously, it is going to be a difficult match for us as we are playing against the Champions League winners, but it won’t be an easy match for them either. “
Villarreal midfielder Manu Trigueros: “We have had a complicated pre-season with everything that happened to us, but we are ready. This is the team available to play, with players that will guarantee the best possible match. We are playing against a really good team, but we are eager and excited to play a good match and hopefully win the trophy.”
How to follow
Follow coverage of the 2021 UEFA Super Cup between Chelsea and Villarreal across the Sky Sports website and app via our dedicated live blog from 6.30pm on Wednesday, August 11; kick-off at 8pm.
- This will be Chelsea’s 50th game against Spanish opponents in European competition (W20 D17 L12), but the first time they have ever faced Villarreal in competitive action.
- Villarreal are unbeaten in their last 15 games in European competition (W12 D3), with the most recent three coming against English opponents in last season’s UEFA Europa League. They won 2-1 on aggregate against Arsenal in the semi-final, before beating Manchester United on penalties in the final following a 1-1 draw.
- Chelsea have only lost two of their last 12 games against Spanish opponents in European competition (W5 D5), while they were unbeaten in their six encounters with Spanish sides in their successful UEFA Champions League run in 2020-21 (W4 D2).
- This is the 18th consecutive UEFA Super Cup game involving either an English or Spanish team, with 2003 being the last time neither were involved (Porto 0-1 AC Milan). Across the previous 17 UEFA Super Cup games in this run, the trophy has been lifted by a Spanish side on 11 occasions, and just twice by those from England.
- Chelsea will be appearing in the UEFA Super Cup for the fifth time in 2021 – since winning their first one in 1998 against Real Madrid, the Blues have failed to lift the trophy in each of their last three attempts (1-4 v Atlético Madrid in 2012, lost in a penalty shoot-out against Bayern Munich in 2013 and in the same manner against Liverpool in 2019).
- Villarreal could become the sixth different Spanish team to win the UEFA Super Cup, which would set a new record for the most different teams from a single nation to have won the trophy (the current record is five, held by both Spain and England).
- Édouard Mendy kept nine clean sheets for Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League in 2020-21; the most ever by a goalkeeper in their debut season in the competition.
- Gerard Moreno was directly involved in 10 goals in 12 games for Villarreal in the UEFA Europa League in 2020-21 (seven goals, three assists). Only three players were directly involved in more goals than him across last season’s UEFA Champions League and Europa League – Bruno Fernandes (14), Erling Haaland (12) and Kylian Mbappé (11).
- Mason Mount scored in last season’s UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg (v Real Madrid), before assisting Chelsea’s winner in the final against Manchester City. The last English player to score or assist in a UEFA Super Cup final was Gary Cahill, who scored for Chelsea in 2012 against Atlético Madrid.
- Samuel Chukwueze made four assists for Villarreal in the UEFA Europa League last season; the most of any player for his side, while only Alfredo Morelos (5) made more in the competition overall.