Belfast’s Windsor Park is the stage for the 46th edition of the UEFA Super Cup, the annual curtain-raiser contested by the holders of the two biggest European club competitions.
In the blue corner, weighing in with seven European titles, six English top-flight titles and eight FA Cups we have European champions Chelsea. In the yellow corner, weighing in with a 1970 Spanish third-tier title and two UEFA Intertoto Cups we have UEFA Europa League title holders Villarreal, trained by ex-Arsenal man Unai Emery.
Chelsea: Mendy; Zouma, Thiago Silva, Rüdiger; James, Kanté, Kovacic, Alonso; Havertz, Ziyech; Werner
Villarreal: Asenjo; Foyth, Albiol, Pau Torres, Pedraza; Trigueros, Capoue, Manu Trigueros, Manu Morlanes, Alberto Moreno; Gerard, Dia
Memorable Chelsea Super Cup goals
Graham Hunter, match reporter: Times don’t change. Villarreal didn’t start favourites against Arsenal, or Manchester United in their last two European matches – nor will they here either. Not that the European champions will take their alleged ‘superiority’ for granted. Thomas Tuchel’s pre season has been both healthier and happier. Undefeated and plenty of game time for squad players.
But he knows precisely how dangerous it is to underestimate Villarreal. The Yellow Submarine have had obstacles, cancellations of matches, injuries, players falling ill and not a victory since getting back to work. However we are guaranteed is an open, attacking, entertaining contest in Belfast. Catch it if you possibly can.
View from the camps
Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea coach: “What nicer way to start the season than with a European final! I have huge respect for Villarreal and Unai Emery. I mean, they will have to call [the UEFA Europa League] the Unai Emery Trophy soon! He’s incredible. I think they will approach this game feeling they have nothing to lose. We will do all we can to take the trophy, though.”
Unai Emery, Villarreal coach: “I want to win the Super Cup because so far I haven’t. I’ve been involved in two [in 2014 and 2015 with Sevilla] and lost both. It would be a great way to finish off last season. We could once again create history and achieve something wonderful ahead of the new campaign. The Super Cup will show what we are capable of against a top team like Chelsea, the reigning European champions and, for me, the best team in the world.”
Chelsea: W6-1 Peterborough (17/07), W2-1 Bournemouth (27/07), W2-1 Arsenal (01/08), D2-2 Tottenham (04/08)
Villarreal: L2-3 Valencia (16/07), D2-2 Lyon (22/07), D0-0 Levante (29/07), L1-2 Marseille (31/07), L2-3 Leicester (04/08), D2-2 Leeds (07/08)