Red Bull Salzburg 3 vs. 5 Chelsea Review

Great going forward, a bit shaky at the back.

Last night Chelsea played their 6th pre-season friendly in Salzburg, Austria as we beat Red Bull Salzburg 3-5. It was a game of two halves really and overall there were more positives to take away from this game than negatives. The Chelsea squad had travelled to Austria in the morning yesterday and played the game in the evening after which they caught a flight back to London. 

Red Bull fielded a strong team in the first half including the likes of Halland, and Hwang leading the line upfront. Lampard also went with a strong eleven which could face United plus or minus an N’golo Kante. Kepa started in goal, and Emerson, Luiz, Zouma, and Azpilicueta made up the back four. Jorginho and Kovacic played in the midfield two while Pulisic, Barkley and Pedro played behind Tammy Abraham up front. The first 10 minutes were dominated by Red Bull as they created several chances but our defence stayed solid and made some clearances to keep the score level. Our first goal came in the 20th minute as Pulisic broke the defensive line to get a pass from Kovacic, after taking it down well he kept the ball and shot straight at goal to make it 0-1. The 23rd minute saw some great play by Chelsea as we worked the ball from the back to bring it to Pulisic who drove into the box and was brought down. Barkley stepped up and scored from the spot to make it 0-2. Our third goal of the half came in the 28th minute as a brilliant ball from Barkley was again brought down by Pulisic who broke the line and lobbed the goalkeeper to make it 0-3. The rest of the half saw Chelsea dominate but Red Bull had their chances as it ended 0-3. 

The second half saw no changes from Chelsea but Red Bull made 11 changes as a totally new team showed up. Chelsea though conceded their first goal of the day as Luiz conceded a corner and then failed to track Onguene as he made it 1-3 via a header. Chelsea then woke up and the 57th minute saw a brilliant pass by Barkley which found Pedro who ran into the box and backheel flicked the ball into the net for one of the goals of the season to make it 1-4. Changes were made around the 70th minute as Alonso, Christensen, Kenedy, Mount, Zappacosta, Michy, and Tomori all came on as Barkley, Pedro, Zouma, and Kepa were the only starters who stayed on the pitch. The formation changed to a 4-1-4-1 but Zappacosta conceded a penalty in the 85th minute and Minamino made it 2-4. Michy then received the ball in the box and after some good hold up play he smashed it into the net to make it 2-5 in the 88th minute. Minamino then scored in the 92nd minute to make it 3-5 and end a frantic game. 

The first 45 minutes saw a great half from Chelsea as everyone contributed to the team and Kepa also made some good saves when called upon. The goals were all deserved and worked well and the defence stayed solid. Pulisic was key in the first half alongside Barkley, and Kovacic who also had a good time on the pitch. The ability of Pulisic to break the line with pace and the quality of people like Barkley to find the ball will come in handy during the season. The second half saw silly mistakes lead to Chelsea conceding the goals but the Pedro goal will stay in memory for a long time and Michy also did well to get on the score sheet. Overall all the starters played well the defence was solid, the midfield continues to look like our most talented area and our major source of goals. Tammy had some great hold up play but will regret not having scored any goals. The subs did not really have any time to make an impact but Michy did well to get on the scoresheet.

A good game overall with plenty of excitement for the fans, the transfer ban has meant that Chelsea have kind of flown under the radar during the summer and hopefully we quietly continue to do our business. Our next game is on Saturday against Borussia Monchengladbach in Germany following which we have a week to prepare for United. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!


Red Bull Salzburg vs. Chelsea Preview

Penultimate friendly!

Chelsea will be playing their 2nd last friendly in Austria on Wednesday against Red Bull Salzburg. Red Bull won the Austrian Bundesliga last season and have already started this season last weekend as they beat Rapid Wien 0-2. They are on a good run of form only having lost one game over the last month. For Chelsea it is another good test against a side who are already fit and playing their season. 

Chelsea go into the game having beaten Reading 3-4 in the last friendly. A good site for Lampard in this game would be to see a solid defensive performance as well as a goal or two from the forwards and not just the midfielders. Michy, Tammy, and Giroud only have 2 goals between them in pre-season so far and while there is plenty of promise in Michy, and Tammy they need to start converting that into goals. The midfield has been the strongest area for Lampard and there is plenty of talent to select from not forgetting that Kante and RLC are still not involved. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Lampard has been playing around with the 4-2-3-1 and diamond midfield formations and after recent friendlies his biggest problem seems to be finding a way to accommodate both Mount, and Barkley. The players have been in great form and leaving either out of the starting XI would not be an option. My personal opinion is that Lampard should stick to a 4-2-3-1 with Mount playing at left wing which he has done during pre-season. Barkley can play in the no 10 role and Pulisic on the right. It also allows for interchange among the three players. Kepa should start both of the next friendlies while the defence also needs to be straightened out. Emerson, and Azpi are nailed on to start while the centre back pairing needs to be decided. Luiz, Zouma, and Christensen have all been great and so two of those could start together. Kante should get his first minutes in this friendly but for now it looks like Kovacic and Jorginho will be the midfield pivot. For the strikers as previously mentioned its another chance to get goals and show what they can bring. 

Starting XI Prediction


As the season starts in less than 2 weeks it’s time for Lampard to stop making wholesale changes and start playing his potential starting XI. It is a good opportunity for the players to create some chemistry over the next two games. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!

Reading 3 vs. 4 Chelsea Review

Great up front shaky at the back.

Chelsea beat Reading 3-4 in a thrilling encounter at the Madejski stadium on Saturday. Chelsea played their 5th friendly of pre-season in front of a good away crowd as they were entertained by some good goals from both teams. 

Lampard fielded a first half team consisting mostly of fringe players as they seemed to be getting a final chance to impress him before their futures were decided. The formation was 4-2-3-1 as Caballero started in goal, Zappacosta, Christensen, Tomori, and Alonso made up the back four. Drinkwater and Bakayoko played in the pivot while Kennedy, Barkley, and Pulisic, played behind Giroud. Zappacosta, Tomori, Drinkwater, Bakayoko, and Kennedy were probably under the microscope in the first half and Tomori and Kenedy showed why they should be in and around the first team. Reading opened the scoring in the 13th minute via Barrett as the first half was dominated by Reading having chances. Barkley then scored a brilliant free kick in the 22nd minute to equalise and Kenedy scored a shot from outside the box to give Chelsea the lead in the 42nd minute. Barkley continued to impress in the no 10 role as he seems to finally be settling into life at Chelsea while Pulisic had flashes of good play but was arguably playing with the second team. Zappacosta, Drinkwater, and Bakayoko might be looking at leaving the club on loan or permanently over the next 10 days. 

Lampard made 10 changes for the 2nd half along with the formation changing to a diamond. Caballero stayed in goal with Azpi, Zouma, Luiz, and Emerson coming in at the back. Kovacic, and Jorginho played in the pivot while Pedro, and Mount supported Michy and Tammy in attack. Reading took 4 minutes to equalise as Morrison scored in the 49th minute. Mount then got his second goal of pre-season in the 57th minute as he took the ball away from a reading defender and smashed it into the net. Our high press led to another goal for Mount in the 60th minute as it led to a poor pass from the Reading goalkeeper and Mount was able to tap in. Baldock then got one back for Reading in the 71st minute with no other goals coming in the game. The second half saw what more or less looked like the first team although Kepa was rested and one of Michy or Tammy might be taken out for Pulisic while Pedro might also be dropped to the bench for Barkley as Mount is capable of playing on the wing. Mount continues to impress and battle Barkley but Lampard might need to find a way to accommodate both of them. 

Chelsea now travel to Austria for a friendly against Red Bull Salzburg on Wednesday as most likely with a lighter squad as players continue to leave on loan or permanently. We should begin to see fewer changes  throughout the game as we approach the start of the season. COME ON YOU BLUES!!! 

Reading vs. Chelsea Preview

Another friendly this time at home. 

Chelsea take on Reading at the Madesjki stadium in our 5th friendly of pre season later today. The players travelled straight back to London after beating Barcelona in Saitama and the players had a couple of days off before returning to training on Friday. Reading have played 8 friendlies so far winning 4, losing 3 and drawing 1. Reading finished 20th out of 24 teams in last season’s championship but had a Chelsea loanee in Matt Miazga playing for them. Miazga recently headed back to Reading for a season long loan. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Chelsea are still missing the usual players in Hudson-Odoi, Reece James, Rudiger, and Loftus-Cheek. Kante was seen training with the team but it is yet to be seen whether he will feature against Reading. The rest of the squad that played in Saitama should be available for this game as Lampard and co continue to fiddle around and see what sort of lineup should start against United in a fortnight. The formation seems nailed on which will be a 4-2-3-1 and while some positions are up for debate there are also positions which have their occupant sorted. 

Starting XI Prediction 


Lampard should be able to decide after today’s friendly on which players he intends to let go before the start of the season. If some of the players do not feature we can understand that those players are not in his plans. Lets hope this friendly has plenty of goals from a Chelsea perspective and players like Mount and Pulisic get their first in a Chelsea shirt. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!

Barcelona 1 vs. 2 Chelsea Review

It was a given when Lampard’s the manager. 

Chelsea bounced back from their defeat to Kawasaki Frontale by beating Barcelona 1-2 in Saitama and winning the Rakuten Cup. It was another humid night in Japan but the Chelsea squad were better suited to the climate as opposed to Barca and showed more fitness overall. Barca were playing their first game but the quality of the opposition was on show. 

Barcelona fielded a strong starting lineup with Ter Stegen in goal, Busquets, Pique, Umtiti, and Alba making up the defence, Roberto, Busquets, and Puig making up the midfield, and Dembele, Griezmann, and Collado making up the front three. Kepa started his first game for Chelsea, Azpi, Christensen, Luiz, and Emerson made up the defence, Jorginho, and Kovacic the midfield, and Pedro, Mount, and Pulisic played behind Tammy. A strong lineup for both teams with Lampard fielding a team that could possibly start against United with one or two changes. Barcelona started the better of the two teams but after a few minutes Chelsea started getting into the game and creating chances. Pulisic broke through the defence and curled in a shot which deflected into Tammy’s path who fluffed it. Tammy was in the mood though and along with Mount, Jorginho and Kovacic the pressing game was top notch from Chelsea. The good pressing led to Jorginho taking the ball from Sergio Busquets and passing it into Tammy’s path who dribbled past Ter Stegen to score in the 34th minute. Ter Stegen made some good saves while Chelsea had the most chances in the first half. Griezmann and co did cause problems but Kepa was more than up for the task. Tammy, Pulisic, Mount, Kovacic and Jorginho particularly impressed. In a 4-2-3-1 formation Kovacic and Jorginho are looking comfortable although Kante should solidify his position next to Kovacic once back. Pulisic was lively and showed promise once again he did lack some finishing but it’s his second game and he’s 20 so there is no pressure. Mount pressed with vigour and showed once again why he should be considered to start against United while Tammy got a goal and showed his energy up front. 

Barcelona made 11 changes for the second half with Neto coming in as the goalkeeper, Jaime, Todibo, Lenglet, and Semedo in defence, Rakitic, De Jong, Alena in midfield, and Malcom, Alcantara, and Perez up front. Chelsea only made two changes at half time with Zouma and Alonso coming on. Barcelona once again started the half the better team and really tested Kepa in the opening 15 minutes. Kepa made several saves although most of the shots were at him, still Kepa kept Barca quiet and Chelsea in the lead. Lampard then made his changes with Tomori, Zappacosta, Drinkwater, Bakayoko, Kennedy, Barkley, Batshuayi, and Giroud up front. The changes helped Chelsea as we grew back into the game and Batshuayi missed a brilliant chance to make it 2-0. Barkley then popped up with a brilliant shot from outside of the box to make it 2-0 in the 81st minute. Barkley showed his quality further forward again as he challenges Mount for a starting spot in the no10 position. Kennedy also looked good although he lacked fitness and for now Pedro should be starting down the right wing. Rakitic then scored a brilliant goal from outside of the box in the 91st minute to give Barcelona a consolation goal. 

Chelsea won the Rakuten Cup and ended their tour of Japan on a high. Lampard can take many positives especially from the Barca game while we seem to have learned a lot from the game against Kawasaki. The victory was followed by the news that Hudson-Odoi will be signing a new deal for Chelsea sometime next week and so it was a good day overall. Chelsea returned to London after the game and will play Reading on Sunday in our next friendly. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!


Barcelona vs. Chelsea Preview

An old foe.

Chelsea’s next pre-season friendly comes to us from Saitama in Japan as the Blues take on Barcelona. Barcelona are playing their first pre-season friendly and so should be lacking in fitness compared to the likes of Chelsea. Barcelona won La Liga last season but lost in the Champions League semi’s and the Copa Del Rey final. Barcelona have been busy this summer signing the likes of Neto, Frenkie De Jong, and Griezmann. 

Chelsea are looking to bounce back from their defeat to Kawasaki Frontale on Friday as we continue to build a team under Lampard. Lampard has fiddled with 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 in the first few games and while Lampard seems to prefer the first formation I think Chelsea are better suited for the 4-3-3. When we have played the 4-3-3 we have been more fluid in our gameplay although we are missing some key players and so that could also help the 4-2-3-1 function better. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Chelsea will be without Kante who travelled back to London after suffering a setback in recovering from his knee injury. Expect the rest to feature with Kepa, Abraham, and Tomori starting in one of the halves. As we approach the start of the season Lampard should start fielding a starting lineup that consists of players that will start the seasons first game against United. 

Barcelona Team Preview

Barcelona have taken a 26 man squad to Japan. Ter Stegen, Neto, and Inaki Pena are their goalkeepers. Semedo, Pique, Todibo, Lenglet, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, Umtiti, Araujo, and Guillem are their defenders. Rakitic, Busquets, Sergio, Monchu, Rafinha, Collado, Alena, Riqui Puig, and De Jong are their midfielders. Dembele, Malcom, Griezmann, Perez, and Abe make up their forwards. No Messi and no suarez is a relief but the squad poses enough threat to Chelsea and should be another stern test for our players. 

Starting XI Prediction


There is plenty of rivalry between the two sides and Lampard will understand it more than anyone. It might be a friendly but getting one over Barcelona is always fun. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!


Kawasaki Frontale 1 vs. 0 Chelsea Review

Tougher opposition than expected.

Chelsea lost to Kawasaki Frontale 1-0 in Yokohama on Friday as the players came up against a tough team under tougher conditions. Kante, Kepa, and Abraham did not feature during the game because they were suffering from various illnesses while everyone else featured over two halves.

The starting lineup consisted of Caballero in goal, Alonso, Zouma, David Luiz, and Azpi making up the defence, Kovacic and Jorginho in a midfield two, and Kennedy, Mount, and Pedro behind Michy. It took Chelsea some time to get used to the tempo of the game as Kawasaki who were playing in between their 18th and 19th games of the season were the fitter of the two teams and more used to the climate. Kawasaki also happen to be the J League champions of the last two seasons and are currently on an 18 game unbeaten run so that also should be taken into account. Anyways Chelsea grew into the first half and while there were no goals the team came very close via the likes of Kennedy and Mount to getting a lead. In the first half Kennedy and Mount particularly impressed while Jorginho was ever present and the pivot. 

The second half saw Zappacosta, Christensen, Emerson, Barkley, and Giroud come in for Azpi, Zouma, Alonso, Pedro, and Michy. Drinkwater followed in the 56th minute for Jorginho along with Bakayoko who came in for Kovacic. Pulisic and Palmer then replaced Mount and Kennedy. The second half was played at a slightly better tempo than the first half and Pulisic particularly impressed once he came on. Pulisic was drifting in the forward positions getting the ball and moving it on while also dribbling and taking shots. Pulisic was brought down in the box but a penalty was not given. Damiao then scored in the 86th minute for Kawasaki after some careless defending and Chelsea had no time left to respond. 

While the game was a loss the positives that one can take are that Kawasaki were a great team to play from a fitness point of view while the quality of team was also evident. Kawasaki were in it to win it and did not treat the game as a friendly and so Chelsea got some stern competition and Lampard got things to think about. Chelsea travelled to Saitama post the game where they will face Barcelona on Tuesday. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!

Kawasaki Frontale vs. Chelsea Preview

The friendly train rolls on!

Chelsea take on J League side Kawasaki Frontale in Yokohama on Friday for our third friendly of pre-season. Kawasaki are 3rd in the J League only 4 points behind league leaders FC Tokyo. With the season going on Kawasaki could look to field a weaker squad but because the likes of Chelsea don’t visit too often I expect to see a full lineup against the blues. Kawasaki are definitely a step up from the sides we faced in Ireland last week and so they are a good test to take before facing Barcelona next week. 

Chelsea travelled to Yokohama on Monday and have been training there since. After initially just stretching and getting used to the surroundings the players have been having double sessions everyday as Lampard gets to know they players at his disposal. As we progress further into pre-season and approach August we should begin to see the lineup that Lampard might field against United for the first game of the season. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Chelsea took a 25 man squad to Japan consisting of – 

Goalkeepers – Kepa, Caballero, Cumming

Defenders – Azpilicueta, Zappacosta, Zouma, Christensen, Luiz, Tomori, Emerson, Alonso

Midfielders – Jorginho, Kovacic, Kante, Bakayoko, Mount, Barkley, Drinkwater

Forwards –  Pulisic, Kennedy, Pedro, Palmer, Batshuayi, Abraham, Giroud 

The big addition in this squad is 20 year old Christian Pulisic who joined the squad in Japan on Monday after cutting his holidays short. Pulisic looked like he was enjoying his first day with the squad as we introduced to everyone by Lampard and seemed to be gelling with all players. The first obstacle that Pulisic faced in Germany was the language barrier but that barrier has already been removed at Chelsea and all he needs to do is focus on his game. Pulisic does not need to live up to anyone he should be the best version of himself and if he can develop over the years we will have one of the best players in our ranks. 

The rest of the loan and youth players were left at home as what I said came true. RLC, CHO, Reece James, and Rudiger are the only players missing that are going to feature in the squad. The likes of Gilmour, while having impressed are better off in the youth ranks and might feature in cup games. Ampadu is being sent out on loan to play regularly similar to Mount, James etc. The likes of Palmer, Kennedy, and Bakayoko are probably going to leave the squad at some point and Zappacosta could have too if Reece was fit. Lampard should once again play two different 11’s in each half. 

Starting XI Prediction


The above is the lineup I would like to see in one of the halves but I expect Lampard to deploy some version of the above mentioned players during the game. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!




St Patrick’s Athletic 0 vs. 4 Chelsea Review

2 goals in each half, great win!

Lampard got his 1st win in charge of Chelsea as we beat St Patrick’s Athletic 0-4 on our final day in Ireland. It was another game that featured 22 players over two halves with Drinkwater, Ampadu, Maatsen, Kepa, and Kante sitting out. 

The first half formation was a 4-4-2 diamond with Caballero in goal, Emerson, Luiz, Tomori, and Zappacosta making up the back four. Jorginho was at the base of the midfield, Kovacic, Mount, and Barkley finished the diamond. The two strikers up front were Batshuayi, and Abraham. From the get go Chelsea were pressing hard and showing great fitness, the diamond worked well as Michy hit the post before Mount latched on to a Kovacic pass to open the scoring in the 14th minute. Barkley then hit the post for Chelsea before Emerson added a 2nd in the 31st minute. It could have easily been 4 or 5 goals but the opposition goalkeeper Murphy made some great saves. The defence was solid with Tomori doing no harm to his reputation while Luiz and co were calm. Jorginho played well in the holding role while Kovacic was great playing a lot of brilliant passes. Mount was everywhere and showed great work rate and got a goal to stake a claim in that midfield. Barkley was the most quiet of the midfielders but did see two of his shots hit the post and should have got a goal. Tammy played well alongside Michy who continued to show that he deserves a chance up front. 

The 2nd half saw Lamps switch to a 4-2-3-1, Cumming was in goal, with Alonso, Zouma, Christensen, and Azpi making up the defence. Gilmour and Bakayoko made up the midfield two while Kennedy, Palmer, and Pedro played behind Giroud. This half was played at a lesser tempo than the 1st half but there were still plenty of chances for Chelsea. Giroud added a third with a nice volley in the 67th minute and got his 2nd and Chelsea’s 4th in the 88th minute with another good finish. Cumming saw little action in goal, the defence is something we as probably hope to see more often next season with the exception of Alonso. Zouma and Christensen should be our centre back duo for many season’s to come. Gilmour had another great game and showed why he was chosen to stay back with the squad, his play was great while his leadership also took notice. Bakayoko was not that great and Chelsea might be looking at that rumoured bid by PSG as a way out. Pedro had a good game up front with Giroud also showing why he should start up front. 

Another good game for fitness as Chelsea headed straight back to London after the game. Sunday is a day of rest before the squad head out to Japan on Monday. Lampard stated that Pulisic would join the squad in Japan so that should be another great addition while it will be interesting to see who is left out. COME ON YOU BLUES!!


St Patrick’s Athletic vs. Chelsea Preview

2nd friendly in Ireland!

Following our draw against Bohemians Chelsea now face St Patrick’s Athletic in our 2nd and final friendly in Ireland. St Pats are currently 5th in the League of Ireland Premier Division and in the middle of their season. St Pats have played 25 games so far winning 10 drawing 7 and losing 8. 

According to @CarefreeYouth who is a trusted Chelsea account 8 players left the training camp post the Bohemians friendly. Those 8 players were Marc Guehi, Trevoh Chalobah, Dujon Sterling, Conor Gallagher, Lewis Baker, Lucas Piazon, Izzy Brown, and Ike Ugbo. After the Bohemians friendly several people were vocal about the performances of Baker, Gallagher etc but as I said in the review realistically these guys had little chance to feature in the upcoming season. The midfield and centre back areas particularly are so stacked that unless Chelsea eventually sell Luiz, Barkley, Drinkwater, Bakayoko etc there is no space for other players. The likes of Zouma, Mount, RLC are already set for the first team so the reality is that Chelsea will have to let some quality youth players leave, you can’t have them all. Out of those 8 I believe Guehi, Chalobah, Sterling, and Gallagher might leave on loan and will be back for pre season next year but it is high time the likes of Baker, Piazon, and Brown left on a permanent, it is the best thing for their careers. 

Mathematically Chelsea now have 27 players left in the squad and we can expect more of the first team to feature in Saturday’s friendly. 

Chelsea Team Preview

The squad that remains is:

Goalkeepers – Kepa, Willy, and Cumming

Defenders – Azpilicueta, Zappacosta, Zouma, Christensen, Luiz, Tomori, Alonso, Emerson, and Maatsen

Midfielders – Bakayoko, Barkley, Ampadu, Jorginho, Drinkwater, Gilmour, Mount, Kovacic, and Kante 

Forwards – Batshuayi, Giroud, Abraham, Pedro, Kennedy, and Palmer

Expect Lampard to field 22 players over two halves once again while also trying two different formations. At this time the only players missing who are not injured are Pulisic and Willian although Willian did pick up a knock in the Copa America and so his availability is questionable. There are also doubts around whether Kante will feature. I expect Lampard to start with a 4-2-3-1 formation and then switch it up in the 2nd half. Expect the players below to feature in either half although Maatsen and Bakayoko could also feature even though I did not mention them. 

Starting XI Prediction


Friendly no 2, Lampard win his first game in charge of Chelsea and who will impress ahead of the trip to Japan? COME ON YOU BLUES!!!