A potential positive coronavirus case has been found in Chelsea’s pre-season training squad on their tour of Ireland – just hours after the Blues team were seen joking around in large groups on Thursday.
Thomas Tuchel’s side were due to take on Irish side Drogheda United in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Thursday – but the match has been cancelled after Chelsea announced the Covid scare.
Earlier on Thursday, a training game put on by Tuchel saw chaotic scenes ensue at the club’s training camp, which saw several Blues players hug each other in the excitement of competing against each other.
But now the west Londoners are ‘investigating’ the possible positive case that could their pre-season plans into turmoil.
A club statement read: ‘Earlier today, we had a possible positive Covid case which we are investigating.
A potential positive coronavirus case emerged within Chelsea’s pre-season squad, who are touring Ireland this week
The Covid scare comes hours after sections of the Blues players were seen hugging each other in celebration after a hilarious training game put on by coach Thomas Tuchel
‘(The) individual (is) isolated from rest of group. Also (it is) decided, as precaution, to cancel tonight’s closed doors game against Drogheda.’
The hilarious training game on Thursday saw half of the Chelsea squad hug each other in celebration after winning the exercise, with the other team accuse the victorious group of cheating.
Tuchel split his pre-season Chelsea squad into two and tasked his side with a heading game which saw each player in turn throw a ball to a team-mate to score with a header, before rushing in goal to stop the other team’s identical effort. The winning team was the first team to score five goals.
The losing group – which included the likes of first-team stars Tammy Abraham and Davide Zappacosta – accused the other team of making up their total and asked Tuchel to check the amount of goals they scored using the cameramen filming the game.
The scare means Chelsea’s behind-closed-doors friendly with Drogheda United on Thursday has been cancelled
Tuchel split his pre-season squad into two and tasked them with a heading game in Ireland
Absolute chaos! 🤣 pic.twitter.com/gUPhApH33b
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 22, 2021
When Abraham and Co were confirmed as the losers, the Chelsea striker, who has been linked with a move away to Arsenal this summer, accused the opposition team of cheating and called the defeat a ‘disgrace’.
The forward and his team-mates forced to sing either Backstreet Boys or the Spice Girls at the team dinner later that night.
The winning team included the likes of Marcos Alonso, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Connor Gallagher, Hakim Ziyech, Ross Barkley, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Danny Drinkwater.
Players had to score a header before going into goal and save the opposition’s quick-fire effort
The losing side included Tammy Abraham (left) who accused his other team-mates of cheating
Before the training game, Tuchel set out the rules before stating: ‘What we’re doing is loser team performs Backstreet Boys… before dinner today.’
Describing the fierce training game, Loftus-Cheek told the club’s official website: ‘The first to five won and the other team to mine won the first round, fair enough. Then we won the other round so it was all-square, so the next game wins it.
‘I was sure we then scored five, I was counting, but others said that was a mistake and apparently we did not score five.
The winning team included Marcos Alonso (left), Callum Hudson-Odoi (front) and Hakim Ziyech (second right)
‘Cal (Hudson-Odoi) said he was not sure, and he did not really celebrate, but the rest of us all went off celebrating before it was hold on, hold on, let’s have a VAR check. When it went to VAR and they said it was five, we went nuts!’
Chelsea are not the only squad to have suffered a coronavirus scare this pre-season. Earlier this week, Arsenal had to cancel their tour of the United States after several positive coronavirus cases emerged amongst their squad on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Manchester City had to cancel a friendly with French side Troyes on Wednesday due to coronavirus travel rules – meaning Pep Guardiola’s top-flight champions are set to play just two games before their Premier League opener with Tottenham on August 15.
Chelsea arrived in Ireland for the week-long pre-season training camp on Tuesday, which is set to culminate with a friendly against Bournemouth on July 27. However, the Champions League winners went off without several of their first-team stars who are still on holiday following their Euro 2020 and Copa America exploits.
The losers of the game had to sing either Backstreet Boys or Spice Girls at dinner that evening, which saw none of the players socially distance themselves in the performance
Chelsea had 17 stars competing at the Euros this summer – more than any other Premier League squad – with the list of players including finalists Mason Mount, Jorginho, Emerson Palmieri, Reece James and Ben Chilwell.
Meanwhile, defender Thiago Silva is also absent from the training squad to Ireland after he reached the Copa America final with Brazil, who lost the match 1-0 to Argentina on July 10.
The several absences mean many young players and forgotten first-team stars such as Barkley, Loftus-Cheek and Drinkwater will play a significant role in the club’s pre-season matches.
The west Londoners kick off their Premier League season on August 14 when Crystal Palace visit Stamford Bridge. Chelsea take on Arsenal and Tottenham in London friendlies at the beginning of August, before facing Villarreal in the UEFA Super Cup three days before the Palace opener.