Barcelona v Chelsea: Three things that will shape the outcome

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Barcelona take on Chelsea in their penultimate game of the International Champions Cup in Washington.

The Catalans have played reasonably well in both of their matches so far but in the end were well beaten by Manchester United last time out.

The Blues are unlikely to give an under strength Blaugrana an easy ride either, Jose Mourinho always keen for his teams to disrupt Barca's well known passing carousel.


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Although this is billed as a "friendly" there is enough sub text to this one to keep interest high. Will the game live up to its billing?

Let's take a look at three things that will affect the outcome...

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Full strength Chelsea

With Barcelona still unable to call upon the services of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Javier Mascherano, Chelsea will seek to take advantage.

If there is one team that Mourinho cannot bear to lose against, pre-season friendly or otherwise, it is the Catalans.

His ire stems from being turned down for the manager's job, given to Pep Guardiola by Joan Laporta and Txiki Begiristain.

The fire that burns will ensure that the manager will play a full strength starting XI and seek to take the game away from Barcelona before half time.

All of Chelsea's big players are fit and raring to go including Diego Costa, despite the buffeting he received in the last game against Paris Saint-Germain.

Cesc Fabregas

If there is one player that knows what makes Barca tick it is their ex-midfielder Cesc Fabregas.

A player with the most assists in the Premier League last season, and by some distance, is likely to be pivotal in swinging the result the way of his new club here.

Adept at finding space where there seemingly is none, Fabregas will have to be tracked all game long to ensure that his influence is kept at an absolute minimum.

With Diego Costa and Falcao making intelligent runs to keep Barca's defence occupied, Fabregas' passing range will be decisive.

Sergio Busquet's role will be as important here as it's ever been, and if he can patrol the space between defence and midfield efficiently then Fabregas will have his work cut out to make his mark.

Suarez and Ivanovic

One of the most infamous battles of a couple of seasons ago was from when Luis Suarez, then of Liverpool, decided to bite Branislav Ivanovic in a tussle at Anfield.

The fall out from the incident saw the Uruguayan banned for a number of games, and this is the first time that the two players will face up since then.

Although there is little riding on this game, Suarez has shown just how seriously he has taken the competition.

A goal in his first outing, a disallowed strike and the woodwork stopping him registering in his second...yes, Suarez has picked up where he left off in Berlin just a couple of months ago.

If he will allows his opponent to get under his skin again, however, all of the good work of the last few months will be forgotten.

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Branislav Ivanovic
Premier League
Luis Suarez
Francesc Fabregas
La Liga

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