Chelsea have wrapped up their pre-season and are ready to begin the new Premier League campaign next week. With a mixed bag of results, here is everything you need to know about the Blues’ summer.
After an unsettling start to pre-season with the departures of Maurizio Sarri and Eden Hazard, Chelsea flew out to Ireland with new manager Frank Lampard at the helm. Jody Morris and Chris Jones made the switch from Derby County to Stamford Bridge to accompany Lampard, while Joe Edwards and Eddie Newton were promoted from within the club to work in a new-look management set-up.
Chelsea kicked their pre-season off against Bohemians on the 10th July. The starting line-up for the Blues included plenty of young talent, with Marc Guehi, Dujon Sterling, Ethan Ampadu and Conor Gallagher all featuring.
Michy Batshuayi netted the opener but the hosts equalised late on in a second half that saw an entirely different Chelsea team to the one that started the fixture, giving game time to Ike Ugbo, Trevoh Chalobah, Ian Maatsen and Billy Gilmour who impressed hugely.
The Blues’ tour of Ireland concluded three days later against St Patrick’s Athletic. A comfortable 4-0 victory saw Mason Mount and Emerson get on the scoresheet before Olivier Giroud rounded the win off with a neat brace.
In the game, Lampard used a 4-3-1-2 formation that provided midfield fluidity, but fans were left questioning Tammy Abraham and Batshuayi’s partnership in the two-man frontline. Nevertheless, vital game time for experienced first players in Jorginho, David Luiz and Mateo Kovacic meant it was a successful outing.
Gilmour and Maatsen flew back to England while Chelsea jetted off to Japan to face J. League champions Kawasaki Frontale on the 19th July. The fixture saw a more recognisable starting line-up for the visitors who opted for the more balanced 4-2-3-1 formation.
Poster boy Christian Pulisic featured for the club for the first time, but his 25-minute cameo could not prevent a surprise 1-0 defeat to the Japanese outfit. The result was taken with a pinch of salt, with most fans noticing a gradual improvement in fitness and intensity .
The American made his first start in a Chelsea shirt four days later against Barcelona. Lampard was beginning to piece together what looked like the probable starting line-up for their Premier League opener against Manchester United.
Abraham and Ross Barkley, the latter of which impressed throughout pre-season, netted the goals in a statement 2-1 victory against the Spanish giants. Players continued to be rotated in the second half to ensure maximum output from all of the squad.
After returning to England, Chelsea beat Reading 4-3 in their fifth pre-season match. A contrast of attacking flair and defensive frailty was met with frustration by the majority of fans. A smartly-taken brace for highly-rated youngster Mount finished the game off after Barkley scored a fantastic free-kick and Kenedy grabbed a rare goal.
Two wins in a row, but cracks in this Chelsea side were beginning to show.
A short trip to Austria to face RB Salzburg was next for the Blues, but a similar performance saw the defence’s mistakes headline a 5-3 win. Standout performances from Pulisic and Barkley lit up the attacking display – the former grabbing a brace while the latter a single goal from the penalty spot. Pedro’s exquisite finish and Batshuayi’s coolly taken goal wrapped up the win.
The final match in Chelsea’s hectic pre-season calendar came in Germany against Borussia Monchengladbach. Fans were hopeful of finishing the summer with a fourth victory in a row, but had to settle for a draw in another high-scoring game. A pair of penalties from Abraham and Barkley helped the Blues come from 2-0 down to show an element of fight.
Unfortunately, Chelsea’s defence will mar the positives from pre-season.
The midfield looks fluid, in particular Mount and Barkley who look as if they can both fill Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s shoes until the youngster returns from injury. Questions were rightly raised about the club’s attacking options, but the 18 goals over the summer show that scoring goals will not be as much of an issue as previously made out.
Chelsea’s pre-season results in full:
- Bohemians 1-1 Chelsea
- St Patrick’s Athletic 0-4 Chelsea
- Kawasaki Frontale 1-0 Chelsea
- Barcelona 1-2 Chelsea
- Reading 3-4 Chelsea
- RB Salzburg 3-5 Chelsea
- Borussia Monchengladbach 2-2 Chelsea
Chelsea’s pre-season goals:
- 4 – Barkley
- 3 – Mount
- 2 – Abraham, Giroud, Pulisic, Batshuayi
- 1 – Pedro, Kenedy
Chelsea’s pre-season minutes played:
- 421 – Azpilicueta
- 381 – Jorginho
- 365 – Kovacic
- 331 – Mount
- 322 – Pedro
Stats via @NizaarKinsella
Written by Liam Wilson.