GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 23: Steven Whittaker of Rangers reacts during the Clydesdale Bank Premier League match between Rangers and Hearts at Ibrox Stadium on July 23, 2011 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
So, one more pre-season game to go before the real fun and games begin next week. Chelsea trade the heat of the tropics for something a little closer to home - they're heading up to Glasgow to take on Rangers, who are still reeling after being dumped out of the Champions League by Sweeden's Malmo. It's unlikely that even a victory against the visiting Blues would do much to cheer them up, although it probably would annoy Andre Villas-Boas a great deal, because his side has a nice little shutout streak going.
Honestly, I'd talk more about Rangers, but the Scottish Premier League isn't really my thing at all, so I don't follow them as much as I should. They're quite good, can be very frustrating even against top sides and if the showing in Sweeden is anything to go by, they have the discipline of a rabid stoat in a field full of ... whatever a stoat likes to eat. Plump juicy bunnies, I guess*.
*One of the two players red-carded in the 1-1 draw that saw them knocked out of the Champions League was immediately sold to a Qatari side. Harsh.
Anyway, by this point I'd imagine something close to the first-choice side gets a run-out, at least int he first half. We've got international friendlies coming up midweek for some stupid reason, so we're not going to see the big names go all match, and we're also away from the Asia Trophy substitute rules. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw two completely separate Chelsea teams fielded.
We'll probably get one Didier Drogba-led power team and one Fernando Torres-y finesse team, probably a 4-3-3 and then a 4-2-3-1. I'd imagine we'll see Ramires and David Luiz making their pre-season debuts with the team, which will be exciting. I'm slightly curious to see whether or not Yuri Zhirkov plays in light of all that chat about him moving to Russia earlier on in the week.
Like the rest of you, I'm antsy to get the real season going, so I think I'll leave it at that. It'd be nice to end the pre-season with a perfect record, but even if we lose I won't get cut up about it. As long as nobody gets hurt, it's all good. Catch the game on Saturday at 3:00 PM UK time, which is 10:00 AM on the east coast and 7:00 AM for us PST folks. That's an almost-civilised hour of the morning!