Chelsea 2 vs. 2 Tottenham Mind Charity Series Review

A game of two halves.

Chelsea took local rivals Tottenham on at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night in front of 20,000 home fans for a friendly. The friendly was part of the Mind Charity Series which is raising awareness mental health. Proceeds from the games will go to the organisation at a time when mental health is a big part of so many people’s lives. There was a small showcase for the Champions League trophy before kickoff as chants of “Champions of Europe” rang out around the Bridge.

Tuchel went with a strong lineup once again as Mendy started in goal with a back three of Chalobah, Zouma, and Rudiger. The wing backs were Hudson-Odoi, and Alonso while the midfield was Kovacic, and Kante. Ziyech, Havertz, and Werner started up front. To say Chelsea dominated the 1st half would be an understatement. It was total domination from the Blues. The ball barely reached Mendy for the entire 45 minutes. The first goal came in the 16th minute as Kante nicked the ball in the midfield and played a pass into Ziyech. Ziyech ran forward and Werner made a decoy run to create more space for the Moroccan. Ziyech took aim and fired past Golini to make it 1-0. A brilliant goal. Werner then had a chance but his shot was blocked into Ziyech’s path who’s shot just went wide. Ziyech then played Werner in who broke the line and finished past Golini but the goal was wrongly ruled offside. Spurs had no chances and Mendy was a passenger in the 1st half.

The 2nd half saw Tuchel make some changes with Bakayoko, and Pulisic coming on for Kante, and Hudson-Odoi. Bakayoko looked shaky and lost the ball in midfield which almost allowed Spurs to equalise. Ziyech then made it 2-0 in the 49th minute after some good play down the left hand side with the likes of Alonso providing the assist. Werner then had a good chance but his shot went wide from inside the box. While the German had another chance but his shot was saved by Golini. Bakayoko then lost the ball in midfield again as Lucas got one goal back via a deflection from Rudiger in the 56th minute. Abraham, Sarr, Zappacosta, Kenedy, Anjorin, Loftus-Cheek, and Ampadu then came on in the 63rd minute with only Mendy and Chalobah not left on the pitch from the start. Anjorin immediately looked lively and he created a brilliant chance for himself but his shot was saved by Golini. Bergwijn then equalised in the 70th minute after Sarr had lost the ball in midfield and allowed Spurs to counter. Miazga came on as the final sub for Chelsea as the game ended 2-2.

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeepers

Mendy played the full 90 in this game and he had very little to do for about 60 minutes. There were some saves in the final 30 minutes. Very little could be done for the 1st goal by Spurs but Mendy should have done better in the 2nd goal as it went between his legs from a tight angle. Either way it’s about the match fitness and Mendy looks ready now.

Defenders

The defence was solid for the 60 minutes. Chalobah impressed once again showing pace and intelligence at the back. The returning loanee also made some brilliant last ditch tackles. Sarr did not paint himself in glory while Ampadu got his first minutes and looked decent. Miazga came on for the final few minutes as well. Hudson-Odoi had another game at wing back but failed to impact the game from his position. Alonso got an assist and looked ok but his lack of pace was apparent. Zappacosta did well when he came on and so did Kenedy as they looked lively in those positions.

Midfielders

Kante and Kovacic were flawless when they were on the pitch. Kante was his majestic self and there was one specific moment when he Cruyff turned Alli which was epic. Kovacic was able to play some brilliant forward passes as well. Bakayoko did not have a great game and probably won’t be wearing Blue again. Loftus-Cheek looked good and used his body well. RLC is also showing that burst of pace that he had in 2019. Anjorin had some brilliant moments none better than a marauding run from the right which deserved a goal.

Forwards

Havertz was decent while Werner should have got a goal to his name. Werner’s movement and danger was key again. Ziyech was on another level though 2 goals and what should have been an assist. Ziyech’s pressing also looks much better and he looks in good form as we head into the start of the season. Pulisic had some good moments while Tammy had a shot off but it was saved by Golini.

Manager

Tuchel saw 60 minutes of total domination but when the changes and the fact that we switched formations for a bit meant that we opened up ourselves to Spurs. The goals of course were born out of individual mistakes and Sarr along with Bakayoko probably won’t be part of the squad this season. Another good pre-season outing.

Chelsea’s next official game and first competitive game of the season is next Wednesday as we take on Villarreal in Belfast for the Uefa Super Cup. There is apparently going to be a training ground game on during the weekend which should allow the likes of Mount, Reece etc some minutes for fitness. Tuchel and the coaching staff now have to make decisions on who to keep, loan and push forward for a sale. Busy weeks ahead on that front but the proper football begins soon.

Chelsea vs. Tottenham Mind Charity Series Preview

Final friendly before the Super Cup but a special friendly!

Chelsea take on bitter London rivals Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night for a friendly which is party of the Mind Charity Series. Mind is a charity that focuses on mental health and with what has happened over the last two years the issue is more relevant right now than ever before.

Tottenham have had a whirlwind of a summer which started with the search for a new manager. It took ages for Spurs to find a manager with Poch, Conte, Foncesca, just some of the names that came close before saying no thanks. In the end the lucky manager to win the seat was Nuno Esprito Santo who left Wolves at the end of last season. Nuno has got down to work at Spurs and they have made some impact in the market. Rose, Foyth, Lamela, Parrott, and Hart have left the club amongst other lesser known names. Gollini a goalkeeper from Atalanta has come in on loan while Bryan Gil has also joined from Sevilla. Gil is an exciting winger. Cristian Romero is set to join the club as well. Romero is a highly rated centre back from Atalanta as well. Along with all the positivity there is the glaring problem of Harry Kane who is pushing for a move and has not shown up to training. Spurs have so far played 3 friendlies, a draw against Leyton Orient and wins against Colchester and MK Dons.

Chelsea go into this game having beaten Arsenal in our last friendly. It was a good game with some positive moments but again we lacked that killer touch up front. The transfer machine has picked up at Chelsea with centre back Kounde being targeted from Sevilla and the one and only Romelu Lukaku getting set up for a return to Stamford Bridge. By the time we play this game there could be some serious movement on both those fronts. With all that going on Tuchel is still preparing for the season ahead and has several players to select from as he tries to trim the squad and pass judgement on fringe players.

Chelsea Team Preview

Tuchel now has all players back in training. Jorginho, Emerson, Mount, Chilwell, and James all returned from their holidays while Silva and Ampadu also joined in. Below is the squad I think we could see play against Spurs.

  • Goalkeepers
    • Mendy, Kepa, Bettinelli
  • Defenders
    • Sterling, Zappacosta, Rahman, Chalobah, Sarr, Zouma, Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Christensen
  • Midfielders
    • Drinkwater, Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic, Kante, Bakayoko
  • Forwards
    • Pulisic, Ziyech, Hudson-Odoi, Abraham, Michy, Havertz, Werner, Broja, Kenedy, Musonda

The players that returned on Monday shouldn’t be involved in the game but one never knows. Anjorin tested positive and hasn’t been involved but Musonda could play some part. Bakayoko was not involved against Arsenal but should get some game time as well. Broja scored in his development squad game and could get some minutes again. Kenedy might be another player who is tried out at right wing back with Alonso possibly missing out again. This should be the last game for several of these players. Zappacosta, Clarke-Salter, Barkley, Michy for sure won’t feature going forward.

The next category would be players that have impressed but it’s undecided what happens. Rahman, Chalobah, Sarr, Drinkwater would fall in this category. Sterling, Loftus-Cheek, Broja could remain in the squad going forward. I expect a similar lineup to the one that started against Arsenal. This could be the last time we see players like Tammy in a Chelsea shirt as well. The same could be said for Zouma if a move happens in the coming week.

I would go Mendy in goal, Christensen, Chalobah, and Rudiger as the three centre backs. Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi as the wing backs with Loftus-Cheek, and Kante in midfield. Ziyech, Werner, and Havertz to start up front once again. I would like to see Broja, Musonda, Bakayoko, and Bettinelli get minutes. Generally everyone who is part of the squad will play.

Starting XI Prediction

It’s going to be a good night for Chelsea. The first time Stamford Bridge will be full since last year. The Champions League trophy will be paraded in front of the fans before the game. Add to that we are playing Spurs. Add to that we could have all but signed Lukaku by then. So much excitement. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Arsenal 1 vs. 2 Chelsea Mind Charity Series Review

Always good to beat Arsenal.

Chelsea took on Arsenal at the Emirates for the first match of the Mind Charity Series to raise awareness of mental health issues. It was a noble cause and it being such a high profile friendly broadened the awareness globally. Arsenal had their whole squad minus Saka and were four games into their pre-season. Chelsea went into this game as their 2nd official friendly and with several first team players back but still missing around 7-8.

Mendy started in goal with Zouma, Chalobah, and Rudiger as the 3 centre backs. Kovacic, and Loftus-Cheek started in the midfield with Pulisic as the right wing back and Hudson-Odoi as the left wing back. Ziyech, Havertz and Werner started up front for Chelsea. The opening few minutes were intense as the two teams exchanged a few chances. The game itself was end to end and each team had chances on the counter. The first half saw a few good chances with the first goal coming in the 26th minute as Kovacic played Werner through on the counter and the German found his compatriot Havertz who smashed the ball past Leno. Smith-Rowe then hit the post for Arsenal while Ziyech did the same with some impressive technique for Chelsea. Hudson-Odoi made a good chance for himself in the final minutes of the 1st half but saw his shot saved by Leno.

Sarr, Zappacosta, Drinkwater, Sterling and Tammy came on for Rudiger, Havertz, Kovacic, Zouma, and Werner for the 2nd half. Ziyech had a brilliant chance to make it 2-0 as he broke the line and chipped it over Leno but he failed to finish the follow up as new Arsenal defender Ben White made a crucial block. Kante, Michy, Kepa, Barkley, and Rahman came on around the 63rd minute. With 10 out of the 11 players changed it of course brought some instability at the back which allowed Arsenal to equalise from a corner in the 69th minute via Xhaka. Chelsea had a good chance before the goal but Barkley fluffed his shot. Arsenal then allowed Chelsea a free goal in the 71st minute as Bellering played a poor back pass which found Tammy who finished past Leno to make it 1-2. Clarke-Salter came on for the final few minutes while Tammy had another chance but we couldn’t finish. A good win at the end of the 90 though.

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeepers

Mendy had a smooth ride in the 1st half and the first 15 of the 2nd half. The save from Lacazette was probably the hardest one he had to make. Kepa was a bit more involved mainly due to the changes as Arsenal had some good chances. Nothing could be done for the goal but other than that it was a few routine saves. Bettinelli did not feature but probably will against Spurs.

Defenders

The first half was routine for the defenders as Zouma and Rudiger got their first minutes of the season. Chalobah played most of the 90 and had a good game at the centre of the three defenders. Whether he stays or not is yet to be seen but he has caught Tuchel’s eye. Sterling impressed the most out of all the subs as he made a great block on Pepe and he showed his pace and strength again. Sarr, had a routine game and Clarke-Salter had very few minutes. Pulisic was decent as a right wing back but flourished more when he played further forward while Hudson-Odoi did well on the left and had a few good chances he created for himself. Zappacosta and Rahman had decent games.

Midfielders

Kovacic and Loftus-Cheek had a good 60 minutes in midfield. Kovacic looked like he was playing his first minutes of the season but Loftus-Cheek impressed. RLC used his physicality to shake off challenges and made tracked back to make tackles. RLC also showed pace and strength to bomb forward on occasion. It’s good to see him gradually returning to his normal self. Ziyech did well in this game and was one of the better players. Several brilliant passes and he pressed well in the middle of the pitch. Ziyech managed to snatch the ball on a couple of occasions to spark counters. Ziyech should have scored though which would have capped off a good day. Drinkwater and Kante had good games with Kante looking his normal self as usual. Barkley did not have a great game and has not impressed.

Forwards

Havertz and Werner returned to the starting lineup and had good halves. Havertz got a brilliant goal and Werner got the assist. Werner could have scored as well but he hit the side netting. Everyone’s hope is that they score several goal for Chelsea this season. Tammy and Michy came on in the 2nd half and the two looked lively. Tammy got the winning goal but also missed some key chances as well. Michy had some good interplay but saw his shot saved. A decent game from our proper strikers but it also showcased why Chelsea want a striker.

Manager

Tuchel would have seen more of his fringe players in this game. A win against Arsenal is always nice and some good minutes for the first team players as well. Tuchel will want to see more goals though because yet again we created several good chances but failed to finish them.

Chelsea now have a few days of training and should have Mount, Chilwell, Reece, Jorginho, and Emerson back on Monday. Those players probably won’t feature against Tottenham but Christensen, and Azpilicueta should feature in that game. Spurs at Stamford Bridge will be fun. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Arsenal vs. Chelsea Mind Charity Series Preview

A London Derby friendly!

Chelsea take on Arsenal in the first match of the Mind Charity Series. Mind is a charity organisation that focuses on mental health. With what’s been going on over the last few years mental health has been an important topic amongst athletes but also the world in general. The series is a noble cause to fundraise and bring global awareness to the topic. The three teams taking part in the series are Chelsea, Arsenal, and Tottenham; An all London affair.

Arsenal have been busy so far in the summer window having brought in Nuno Tavares, Lokonga, and Ben White from Benfica, Anderlecht, and Brighton respectively. Arsenal have so far played four friendlies a loss to Hibernian, and a draw against Rangers were followed by 4-1 wins against Millwall, and Watford. Arsenal have no European duties this season so their sites are firmly set on doing well in the Premier League.

Chelsea go into this game with that 1-2 win against Bournemouth. That game was a good chance to see some fringe players but already there has been some departures. Gallagher who played 90 minutes in that game has left on a season long loan to Crystal Palace. Maatsen has left on a loan to Coventry City. The Bournemouth game saw Tuchel fiddle with the tactics but with most of the first team players back now the real tinkering should begin from this game.

Chelsea Team Preview

Let’s first mention who is not available for this game. Broja, Baker, Ampadu, Miazga, Anjorin, Bakayoko, Kenedy, Musonda, and Ugbo are not available for this game while there are rumours that Alonso will not be involved either. Azpilicueta and Christensen will also not be playing because they only returned to training a few days ago.

  • Goalkeepers
    • Mendy, Kepa, Bettinelli
  • Defenders
    • Sterling, Zappacosta, Rahman, Clarke-Salter, Chalobah, Sarr, Zouma, Rudiger
  • Midfielders
    • Drinkwater, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic, Kante
  • Forwards
    • Pulisic, Ziyech, Hudson-Odoi, Abraham, Michy, Havertz, Werner

This is more like Chelsea will look like next season and out of these players Zappacosta, Clarke-Salter, Chalobah, Drinkwater, Barkley, and Michy probably won’t be at the club when the transfer window closes. There has been speculation about Zouma, and Abraham as well. This should be a game of two halves with several changes so its anyone’s guess who starts.

I’ll go with Mendy in goal; Zouma, Chalobah, and Sarr as the three centre backs with Sterling, and Rahman as the wing backs. Loftus-Cheek, and Drinkwater as the midfielders with Havertz, Hudson-Odoi, and Abraham up front. Again this is just a guess and either way all the players mentioned above should be involved in the game. Hopefully Sterling, and Rahman impress while Havertz and Werner have to hit the ground running after a solid end to last season. Hudson-Odoi will be another one to watch especially if he starts further forward.

Starting XI Prediction

An entertaining London Derby for a good cause. Of course with fans back in the stadium there is going to be a competitive edge to the game as the rivalry comes out. For Chelsea fans its a chance to see some of the fringe players impress again while we should see some of the regulars back as well. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Bournemouth 1 vs. 2 Chelsea Pre-Season Review

We beat Bournemouth!!

Chelsea travelled to the Vitality Stadium on Tuesday night to play Bournemouth in a pre-season friendly. Bournemouth managed by Scott Parker had some key players on show like Brooks and Billing while Tuchel picked an interesting starting XI. Kepa started in goal with Sterling, Baker, and Sarr making up the back 3. Hudson-Odoi, and Alonso played as the wing-backs while Drinkwater, and Gallagher played as the midfielders. Ziyech and Pulisic played behind Tammy who started up front. A 3-4-3 and plenty of quality on show. 

The tempo of the game was very good from the beginning and Chelsea had a chance in the opening minutes as Ziyech played in Tammy. Bournemouth had a few chances as well but Chelsea began to control the game as the half went on. Chelsea had a couple more chances with Tammy getting a shot on target and drawing a point blank save from Bournemouth. Tammy also had a header which he sent over. Hudson-Odoi had a couple of half chances while Ziyech also enjoyed his time finding space between the lines. The midfield did well in the 1st half with Drinkwater conducting things well and showing some good ball distribution. The half ended 0-0 though with neither team finding the breakthrough. 

The 2nd half saw some changes for Chelsea with Mendy, Miazga, Chalobah, Clarke-Salter, Loftus-Cheek, Barkley, and Broja coming on. Alonso, Hudson-Odoi, Tammy, and Gallagher stayed on. The tempo and momentum did take a hit with so many changes and the team looked disjointed. This allowed Bournemouth to get the first goal in the 66th minute via Marcondes. Chelsea calmed down after the goal and RLC began to drop back and help out Gallagher in the midfield. Ugbo, Rahman, and Zappacosta came on for Tammy, Alonso, and CHO. Broja got the equaliser in the 72nd minute after a brilliant ball from Rahman. Ugbo then got the winner in the 76th minute after heading in a cross from Barkley. Chelsea were able to see out the game for the win. 

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeepers

Kepa and Mendy both had relatively quiet halves although Kepa was the busier of the two. The distribution from both keepers was lacking and they probably want to work on that in the coming weeks. Other than that it was a routine game. The goal wasn’t Mendy’s fault. 

Defenders

The first half centre backs were a better combination than the 2nd half one. Sterling showed pace and strength on the right while Baker was calm in the centre, and Sarr made some good interceptions. In the 2nd half the defence was disjointed and it took some time for it to calm down. Safe to say that out of the centre backs Sterling is probably the only one who is sticking around. The rest could be sold or head out on loan. Alonso was good as usual while Zappacosta, and Rahman played well. Rahman got an assist might stick around. Hudson-Odoi played as a wing-back as well and looked the fittest of the lot. Good deliveries into the box and should have got an assist or two. 

Midfielders

Gallagher, Drinkwater, Loftus-Cheek, and Barkley all played in the midfield. Gallagher played the full 90 and showed plenty of energy in the 1st half. Towards the end of the game it was clear he was tired and as the loan CDM he struggled until Loftus-Cheek dropped in. Drinkwater did well in his 45 minutes, some brilliant passes and quick 1 touch distribution. Drinkwater should get a sale or loan to a decent club. Barkley looked disjointed while Loftus-Cheek took a few minutes to get going but controlled the midfield well and ran away from a few players only to be pulled back. Gallagher and Loftus-Cheek are probably the only two looking at a potential squad spot. 

Forwards

Ziyech enjoyed his first 45 minutes and should have got an assist or two. Ziyech looks fitter and ready to go. Pulisic was decent but relatively quiet on the left hand side. Tammy overall was decent enough and ran his socks off but since he is the most likely to leave getting a goal or two would have been great. Tammy didn’t finish some very good chances and was brought off in the 2nd half. Broja, and Ugbo came on in the 2nd half and did well. Broja particularly impressed with his hold up play and got the goal as well. The final pass was lacking and that was clear to see. Not the finished product by any means but it was good to see Broja fight for a potential spot. Ugbo got a goal but I think he’s on his way to Genk. 

Tuchel

A win in pre-season and a comeback win at that. Tuchel was pretty clear that this group of players won’t be playing together in the coming games. It was a good chance for Tuchel to see some players who could possibly stay though. 

A win against Bournemouth should always be cherished and Chelsea did that. Several of the players that played won’t be at Chelsea when the season starts but it was a chance to show their quality to potential buyers. Some players made a case to stick around but it really is only their first game. Two London Derby’s against Arsenal and Tottenham which should see the 7 regular players return to the squad. 

COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Bournemouth vs. Chelsea Preview Pre-Season

First proper game of pre-season!

Chelsea travel to the Vitality Stadium on Tuesday night to play Championship side Bournemouth in the first official pre-season friendly of this season. Bournemouth have had a couple of games in Spain and are under new management in Scott Parker who left Fulham during the summer. With the Premier League season a little over a fortnight away preparations have begun in earnest over the last 2 weeks as Thomas Tuchel looks to hunt down the table toppers. 

A bit of a summary first on how the summer has gone so far for Chelsea. Jorginho, and Emerson were crowned European champions while Mount, Reece, and Chilwell were runners up. There has been very little on incomings with Chelsea quiet and on lockdown in terms of transfers. The latest proper news is that Marcus Bettinelli who is a goalkeeper and free agent should be joining the club in the coming days as a replacement for Caballero.

The outgoings have been a different story with several players leaving the club but not the ones many fans would have thought. Tomori has been joined by Guehi, Peart-Harris, and Lewis Bate who have officially joined Premier League sides Crystal Palace, Brentford, and Leeds respectively. They clearly wanted to play week in week out and good luck to them. Gilmour, Colwill, and a few others have left on loan for the season with Gilmour joining Premier League side Norwich City so it should be interesting to follow them. Several of the players that fans would have wanted to leave are still around though and have been taking part in pre-season. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Chelsea’s expected squad for the Bournemouth game should consist of goalkeepers Mendy, and Kepa. The defenders should be Sterling, Alonso, Zappacosta, Maatsen, Rahman, Clarke-Salter, Chalobah, and Sarr. Midfielders should consist of Drinkwater, Barkley, Gallagher, Baker and Loftus-Cheek. Up front we should have Pulisic, Ziyech, Hudson-Odoi, Musonda, Abraham, Ugbo and Broja available for selection. Now Rudiger, Werner, Havertz, Kovacic, Zouma, Kante, Michy, Kenedy and Bakayoko have returned to training but it’s only been 3 days so I don’t expect any of those players to play this game. The rest have played a game against Peterborough which they won 6-1 and have played an intra squad game which was a 1-1. Mendy and Kepa of course are part of the main team along with Alonso, Pulisic, Ziyech, Hudson-Odoi, and Abraham. Abraham might be on a move but for now he is part of the squad.

Players to keep an eye on in defence would be Dujon Sterling who is fit again and impressing at right wing-back. The rest might be playing for loans or a sale but Maatsen, Chalobah, and Sarr might have a small chance of making the squad.

They are players with potential. In the midfield Drinkwater, and Barkley should not be around for when the season starts and the same goes for Baker. Gallagher could get a loan to a Premier League side with Palace, and Leeds keen but Tuchel wants one last look at him before making a decision for the season. Loftus-Cheek is the one that might stick around for the upcoming season and looks fit again and hopefully he does impress. 

Up front Ugbo is the only player who probably won’t be part of the squad. Abraham could be sold but until Chelsea aren’t sure a striker is coming in he will stick around. Broja has come back from his loan at Vitesse and has impressed in pre-season it is expected that if Abraham leaves Broja will likely stay. On the wings Pulisic and Ziyech have had their first proper pre-seasons at Chelsea and both have impressed in training. Hudson-Odoi is looking fit again and by all accounts he is raring to go on the left hand side. Musonda is back fit as well and might get his first minutes on the pitch. 

Formation wise I think Tuchel will stick with the 3-4-2-1 or 1-2 but we could see a four at the back tried out in the 2nd half etc. Expect there to be many changes at half time as well.

Plenty to keep an eye on for this game and some will be wanting to show other clubs that they are worth the money. 

Starting XI Prediction

Again, these games are mostly about fitness but it will be good to see the likes or RLC, CHO, Pulisic, Ziyech, Sterling, and Broja play football and potentially grasp these chances before some of the other players come in. It will be an intense game as we know how Parker sides play but it should be a fun watch and what a great feeling to see Chelsea play again. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Brighton 1 vs. 1 Chelsea Pre-Season Review

Typical pre-season game!

Chelsea travelled to Brighton on Saturday to play the Premier League side in a friendly as the new season kicks off 3 weeks from now. It was a big occasion due to the fact that around 2500 fans were allowed into the stadium for the first time since lockdown. For Chelsea fans it was a chance to see Werner and Ziyech in action along with fit players like Kante and Loftus-Cheek. Lampard picked a fairly strong lineup with Kepa starting in goal, with a defence of Reece James, Christensen, Clarke-Salter, and Alonso in front of him. Kante returned as CDM with Kovacic, and Loftus-Cheek in front of him. Hudson-Odoi started at left wing while Ziyech started at right wing with Timo Werner up front. 

Chelsea started the game brilliantly with Reece James shooting just wide of the Brighton goal within 30 seconds of kick-off. The formation very much looked like a 4-2-3-1 at times with Loftus-Cheek playing as a CAM rather than a RCM. The first goal came in the 4th minute as Ziyech played a brilliant cross-field pass with his left foot to Hudson-Odoi who ran behind the Brighton defence. Callum mistimed his header though but it fell into Timo Werner’s path who expertly finished past Ryan to get his first Chelsea goal. The thing to get most excited about this goal was the Ziyech’s ball into the box which only a left footed player on the right can play. After the goal Chelsea relaxed a bit as Brighton defended well. Ben White in the Brighton defence played really well as he kept our offensive players quiet. Another exciting moment was when Ziyech took a free-kick and his whipping cross actually met Timo Werner’s head who headed it wide. Trust me after having Willian take your set pieces for 7 seasons small things like this can get a fan very excited. The first half drew to a close with Chelsea in the lead.

The 2nd half saw three substitutions with Rudiger and Azpilicueta coming in for Christensen, and Clarke-Salter, also Caballero came in for Kepa. Bringing in Rudiger had it’s normal impact as he conceded a penalty in the 49th minute. Caballero though managed to save the penalty from Maupay as the scoreline remained 0-1. Ziyech fell awkwardly when he went into a challenge and had to be taken off with a small knee problem as he was replaced by Gallagher. Ampadu and Baker also came in for Kovacic, and Kante. Giroud then replaced Werner as well while Lawrence and Maatsen came in for Alonso, and Reece James. The 2nd half was very stop start as the substitutions stopped any form of fluidity in the team. Vale and McCormick came on for RLC and CHO around the 72nd minute. Chelsea conceded another penalty in the 90th minute as Ampadu seemed to have brought down a Brighton player. Gross then stepped up and this time Brighton equalised. Giroud had to come off in extra-time as he got an elbow to the head and was replaced by Castillo for the final few minutes. 

There’s really no need to do any ratings for a pre-season game instead I’m going to mention some players that impressed me over the 90 minutes.

  • Firstly the attack in the first half, Ziyech, Werner, Hudson-Odoi, and Loftus-Cheek moved fluidly all over the pitch for the first 45 minutes. Werner himself was dropping as far as the half way line to receive passes and progress. Hudson-Odoi and Ziyech switched wings and Werner himself also played on the wings as well. It seemed a case of the players having a licence to roam freely. The front three did well for a first outing and will only get bette with more game time. 
  • Kante looked fitter than he did for most of last season and that can only bode well for the team. Loftus-Cheek did well as he got into brilliant spaces etc but I felt that he is still hesitant to fully unleash himself. It’s as if he feels that switching into a higher gear might get him injured again. Kovacic was his controlling self but I felt he wasn’t really suited for this game. 
  • Reece James probably impressed me the most in defence as he worked well with Ziyech on the right hand side while also defending brilliantly. Clarke-Salter did well for the 45 minutes and looked composed on the ball. 
  • In terms of the 2nd half subs Gallagher was the one that caught my eye the most. From the minute he came on the pitch he was pressing down the goalkeeper, and forcing Brighton players into mistakes. Connor also played a very good through ball into Giroud’s path who’s shot was saved by the Brighton goalkeeper. Other than that Ampadu looked decent and tough of on the ball while 16 year old Harvey Vale had a brilliant chance to get a winner but delayed his shot. 

With so many players and signings to come into the team there is no need to draw any negatives from the performance. Many of the younger players as well as the bench players in this game will probably be heading out on loan as well. As mentioned though there was plenty to be excited about especially from our forward players. Next up is the international break as players leave to play some Nations League football but pre-season will continue with players who stay back, although there probably won’t be an friendlies until a week before the season begins. Time to get Havertz, and a goalkeeper over the line before then. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!

Brighton vs. Chelsea Pre Season Preview

20/21 prep starts today!

Chelsea have been going through their paces since last weekend as the squad returned to pre-season training. The signings over the last few days have taken centre stage but Chelsea had organised this friendly a while back. Since then the fixture list was announced and we play Brighton in our first game and so their were doubts if this game will be played out but both clubs decided to go along. 

This will be Chelsea’s only pre-season friendly before the international break as players will leave on Monday to take part in Nations League games. It’s a good chance for Lampard to see how the squad is doing and work some ideas into play as we look to hit the ground running next season. Pre-season is usually about fitness but with this year being so lopsided the gap in play hasn’t been that drastic. 

Brighton Team Preview

Graham Potter has been working with his squad for around 2-3 weeks now as Brighton ended their season when the league ended. Brighton have actually done fairly well in the transfer window having signed Adam Lallana and Joel Veltman from Ajax. Young centre back Ben White has also returned from his loan spell at Leeds United where he did brilliantly. These players along with the usuals in Dunk, Maupay, Trossard, Gross, Propper, Bissouma and of course our own ex Chelsea player in Lamptey make for an exciting squad. Brighton have played no friendlies up till now and haven’t been in action for sometime and so fitness levels will be something to keep an eye on. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Chelsea have quite a few players missing for this game as a bunch of them had to go into self isolation having doubts with Coronavirus. Mount, Abraham, Barkley, Emerson, Jorginho, Batshuayi, and Tomori have all been missing from training while Pulisic, and Gilmour are out injured. Ben Chilwell is also recovering from injury while Sarr is heading out on loan and Thiago Silva just signed. Two players that will be involved today are Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech as Chelsea fans will finally get to see both the players put on Chelsea blue. The rest of the squad is available as well while the likes of Ampadu, Gallagher, Baker, Clarke-Salter, Maatsen etc all involved in training amongst others. It’s always hard to predict who will start in pre-season friendlies but I will go with our best possible eleven. Kepa is still around and he could get a final chance and should start in goal. Reece James should start at right back with Zouma, and Christensen as our centre-backs while Azpilicueta makes up the left back spot. Kante is back fit and should start as CDM while Kovacic and Loftus-Cheek should play further forward. Hudson-Odoi has been heavily involved and should play at left wing with Pulisic out while Ziyech should start at right wing. Timo Werner should lead the line as our striker. Caballero, Maatsen, Clarke-Salter, Gallagher, Ampadu, Giroud, Alonso, Rudiger, etc should all make appearances throughout the game. It’s a pretty strong lineup and one that I am excited to see. 

Starting XI Prediction

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So much to be excited about for this game with Ziyech and Werner but also a fully fit Kante and Loftus-Cheek. It’s all about fitness but it will be a fun game to watch as it’s going to be telecast free on the 5th Stand App. Fans will also be allowed into the stadium for the first time as the government looks to ease them back. Around 2000 Brighton fans will be able to enter the stadium. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!

Borussia Monchengladbach 2 vs. 2 Chelsea Review

Tough first half, good second half!

Chelsea played their final friendly of pre-season against Borussia Monchengladbach in Dusseldorf on Saturday which ended 2-2. Monchengladbach were also playing their last game of pre-season as they prepare for the Bundesliga that start in two weeks time. Monchengladbach fielded a strong team with a mix of youth and experience. The game was a story of two halves as Monchengladbach dominated the first but Chelsea came roaring back in the second. 

Lampard stuck to the 4-2-3-1 formation as Kepa started in goal, Emerson, Zouma, Christensen, and Azpi started in defence. Jorginho and Kovacic started in the pivot, Pulisic, Mount, and Pedro started behind Tammy. From the get go Chelsea were on the back foot as Monchengladbach had more intensity and drive all over the pitch. Chelsea seemed like they were lacking fitness and the German dominance led to Alassane Plea giving Monchengladbach the lead in the 13th minute. The second goal came in the 39th minute as a counter attack was not stopped and Hoffmann doubled Monchengladbach’s lead. The first half lacked energy and intensity and that seemed to have been the talking point at half time as Chelsea came out a better team for the second. 

No changes were made at half-time as Chelsea upped the intensity and press on Monchengladbach. The pressure allowed Kovacic to run in on goal as he was brought down in the 59th minute. Tammy stepped up to get a goal back from the penalty spot for Chelsea. Chelsea continued to dominate but a combination of poor finishing and great saves by Sommer meant that Chelsea did not equalise until the 86th minute after Mount did well to get a penalty and Barkley stepped up to score. The game ended 2-2 but Chelsea could have easily got 6+ goals throughout the game. The stats read 22 shots for Chelsea compared to 11 and 12 on target compared 4. The 2nd half also saw Alonso, Barkley, Kenedy, and Giroud come on while Kante also got his first minutes. 

Lampard can look back at a good pre-season in which he saw what his team was capable of while working on his philosophy at the same time. Stand out performers were Barkley with 4 goals and 3 assists and Mount while players like Pulisic, Tammy, Zouma, Jorginho, Kovacic all showed that there is plenty of good stuff to look forward to. Hudson-Odoi, Loftus-Cheek, Reece James, and Antonio Rudiger are all to come back in the next few months and they are all potential first team players. Reece James in particular could help us a lot on the right side of the pitch. 18 goals scored, 11 goals conceded in 7 preseason games most of those goals came from midfield while conceding so many is a slight concern but the silver lining is that Reece James and Rudiger would help a lot. 

Plenty to look forward to in the season to come and next week should be one exciting time for Chelsea fans. The season starts in 7 days, COME ON YOU BLUES!!!

Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Chelsea Preview

Final friendly of pre-season!

Chelsea head to Germany on Friday to play Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday in what is their final friendly of pre-season. Monchengladbach finished 5th in the Bundesliga last season after an impressive campaign under manager Marco Rose. Borussia have played 5 friendlies in their pre-season so far having won the first four but losing the last one to Athletic Bilbao. The Bundesliga starts a week after the Premier League and so Borussia still have another game after this although that comes in the DFB Pokal. 

Chelsea had a great attacking performance against Red Bull Salzburg as 5 goals were put past the Austrian team. The defence was shaky in the second half and 3 were conceded although they were silly goals. Pulisic, Barkley, and Kovacic were all players that stood out on the day and so hopefully they and the team will be looking to finish pre-season on a high. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Lampard should travel with the same squad to Germany although players that might leave on loan could be left behind while Kante could be taken along. The lineup should be fairly familiar although I would like to see Christensen and Zouma play together in defence. Kante might feature but due to lack of fitness it looks like Kovacic and Jorginho will be our first choice pivot against United. Pulisic and Barkley were great in the last game and Pedro scored a beautiful goal but did not do much else and so I would like to see Mount come in for him. Mount is able to play on the left wing and Pulisic can play on the right and the two can interchange at times with Barkley in the CAM position. Finally Tammy played well but Michy came off the bench to score a goal and so Michy deserves a start against Monchengladbach. One expect to see substitutions late in the second half as this game is the last one before United next weekend. 

Starting XI Prediciton

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Let’s cap of a good pre-season with a win! COME ON YOU BLUES!!!