A Contribution Post via Helgi Llozana.

The first unofficial match as Chelsea manager for Frank Lampard ended in an 1-1 draw against the Irish team of Bohemians. Michy Batshuayi’s early goal was cancelled out in the 89th minute after an equalizer from Eric Molloy.

Talking more in detail, I can say that the first half was pleasing from the Blues, as their will to press aggressively and intensively was pretty much evident. Of course, the couple who stole the show were Ethan Ampadu and Michy Batshuayi.

The latter caught the eye with his strength to physically beat the defenders, not only at the action that led to the goal, but also in the other specific moments of the game.

On the other side, the Welsh teenager played a very important role, orchestrating the game from deep, showing decent leadership skills and recovering the ball quickly. In addition, his positioning was mostly correct, as he stayed narrow with Danny Drinkwater and this allowed the CBs, especially Marc Guehi, to progress forward in the open space.

An issue though, was sometimes the difficulty Ethan showed in breaking the lines for several moments and in my opinion, it has also to do with Bohemians’ compact structure, narrowing the spaces through the centre, but also with the 4-2-3-1 system, which for me, limited the attacking play too much and didn’t allow the circuit of passes to flow in the right way. However, this is topic that will remain up for discussion and we will get a better idea in the next games.

On the first half, I am disappointed with the performances of the likes of Danny Drinkwater, Dujon Sterling, Kasey Palmer, Kenedy, but also Pedro. Danny showed once again that he could be a useful player in a bottom 10 Premier League team, but nothing more. I mainly just saw sideways or sloppy passing, slow in the build-up, sometimes unclear in his mind regarding the decision making aspect etc.

Dujon and Palmer didn’t look fit at all, the former was too isolated out wide, while the latter didn’t show anything special, except some blocked shots outside the box. Kenedy seemed to be physically fresher than the others mentioned, but without excluding a convincing performance from him in the next games should he play (maybe as a winger this time, in his natural position), I don’t think he will manage to avoid another loan spell or a permanent ‘’divorce’’ with the club this summer.

Pedro just tried to play it safe, without becoming a risk for the opponent at all, he didn’t do enough in the final third.

Now let’s move to the second half. If I had to describe it with two words, it would be: boring and disorganized.

Of course, 11 changes were there, the system change was there, so new players were tested.

With the exceptions being: Billy Gilmour and Ian Maatsen, 50-50 about Zouma, I think that the rest ‘’failed the exam’’.

The negatives were players like: Izzy Brown, Lewis Baker, Trevoh Chalobah (who seemed rusty and lost the ball way too much, even in key areas).

The positive was for sure our Scottish teenager, Billy Gilmour. He was hungry to get the ball back as soon as possible after losing it, supporting team-mates during every moment, showing very good technical ability (that change of foot, if you remember) and adjusting himself pretty well in the tactical aspect, the youngster earned deserved praise from a lot of people and of course, that must have impressed Frank Lampard and his assistants.

Another prospect that impressed me personally was Ian Maatsen, the 17 year-old Dutch left-back, who remained calm, composed when pressed, but also managed to be part of triangles created and contribute to raising the tempo of the game, by overlapping and driving forward down the wing occasionally.

In the next pre-season game, Chelsea play St.Patrick’s, another Irish team and will have players back like: Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic, who are able to break the lines and find spare men with their experience and talent as well as exciting youngsters such as: Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount.

This game will be anticipated with more excitement. Let’s get the win now. COME ON CHELSEA!

Helgi Llozana

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