LIVERPOOL ENGLAND - JANUARY 29: Chelsea Manager Carlo Ancelotti gestures during the FA Cup sponsored by E.On Fourth Round match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park on January 29 2011 in Liverpool England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Preseason friendlies are always fun. The games mean basically nothing, and by the end of the contest there will likely be at least one player out on the pitch that none of us have ever heard of. Chelsea will still be missing several key members of the squad, but even without those players there will be a few interesting things to keep an eye on this evening. Here's a few of the things I'll be watching for:
- Romelu Lukaku's performance against a better central pairing is an obvious one. Daniel Sturridge was less than convincing in the center for Great Britain the other day (although we'll still have at least 3 more chances to see it), and with the talk of Lukaku needing to get minutes this will be a very good chance for the youngster to force his way into Di Matteo's plans the way Danny himself did last season.
- What kind of minutes will Gael Kakuta play? We know Gael wants either a role at Chelsea or a permanent move this window, so it will be interesting to see if he's given a bit more time to force his way into the first team tonight. This is a big preseason for him.
- The defensive work rate of Marko Marin. We all know that Marin is a very gifted offensive player who has a reputation for not offering much defensively. If he works hard on that end, he can still develop into a useful piece defensively. Without effort, he'll never likely amount to more than an impact substitute.
- What role does Ramires play? Ramires is probably our most versatile player, and seeing how Di Matteo uses him in the preseason may give us a sign of things to come.
- How do we use Nathaniel Chalobah? Having just sent Todd Kane back to England, seeing Chalobah get more minutes at RB would certainly be interesting.
- Will Michael Essien show, well, anything? As a huge fan of the bison, it's just hard to watch what he's become.
- An Alex free kick. I miss them. I just hope he doesn't kill anyone we have a use for.
- Managerial eyebrows. Carlo is the master. Di Matteo can speak volumes with the movement of a brow as well. The drama...
There are certainly plenty of other things to keep an eye on this evening, but those are definitely some of the more interesting ones in my eyes. What about you guys, can you think of anything you really want to see that I'm overlooking?