Chelsea put in a fantastic performance, beating the Thailand All-Stars 4-0 in Bangkok. Goals from Lampard, Bosingwa, Ivanovic and Malouda sealed Chelsea’s biggest win of pre-season so far, in what was without doubt the most confident and uplifting performance to date, which will undoubtedly boost morale and hush many critics. The Thailand All-Stars battled bravely, particularly considering the fact they’ve only been training together for a matter of days, and did have their fair share of chances, but were no match for the ruthless and dynamic display from Chelsea.
Particular positives were the failure to concede for the fourth game running and the improved performance of many of the players, particularly the assured performance once more of Josh McEachran, who seemed to be allowed more attacking freedom whilst always being composed in possession and passing, in front of another bumper crowd. Andre started with the same team in the second half for the first time, raising question marks over whether he is starting to develop in his mind a good idea of his first XI. The team that started the game was Cech, his first start of pre season, Bosingwa, Terry©, Van Aanholt, McEachran, Mikel, Lampard, Anelka, Torres, Sturridge, in the usual 4-3-3 formation which Andre seems to favour.
The game started off at the same slow pace that has been the foundation for much of pre season, with the first real shot not coming until the 10th minute from Jose Bosingwa. This followed a flurry of attacking intent from the visitors, with Sturridge and Torres both hitting chances horribly wide. Anelka, who in fairness had a lot of the ball, but did also slow the game down, selfishly missed a couple of chances that were hit straight at the keeper. Young Sturridge looked the liveliest of the front three, making some sublime runs down the left hand side and causing the Thai right-back no end of bother, before switching with Anelka to go over to the right-hand side where he ultimately seemed less effective. Torres stuck in the middle of the front three throughout, but was thwarted on many occasions by the Thai defence. His performance although not spectacular, cannot be condemned as he seemed to be marked by 2-3 men at all times. Despite that, he remains our only striker to score in our last seven games, a stat that will not please Drogba, who looked discontented not to have started the game, although he is likely to sign an extension soon.
Van Aanholt, who made a few good runs on the left-hand side, blasted one over when in good space, while Terry had a goal ruled out for clearly being offside, before Frank Lampard opened the scoring with a drive low into the bottom corner from outside the box, in his old typical fashion. It was the first goal scored by a Chelsea player since the Wycombe game, with the Portsmouth and Malaysia games both producing own goals. Our second goal, shortly after the break, could be adjudged to have also been an own goal, although Bosingwa will claim otherwise. His fierce drive came back off the post and hit the unfortunate goalkeeper to double Chelsea’s lead. His second goal, his first since scoring at the Britannia in his first season, was meet with wild applause and celebrations from his teammates.
That lead was extended further just two minutes later when Ivanovic found himself in space deep in opposition territory and after a fantastic run he finished off a great move with the composure of an assured centre forward, after being one on one. At the other end, Hilario, the only substitute to come on at half time, made a couple of world class saves, preventing both Wuttchai Tatong and Leandro Dos Santos pulling one back for the Thai side.
Just after the hour Chelsea made eight changes, with Ferreira, Rajkovic, Cole, Zhirkov, Malouda, Kalou, Benayoun, Drogba and Malouda entering the field of play. Chelsea were by now dominating proceedings and Malouda put the gloss on a great victory on the 72nd minute with a strong, hard finish into the top corner.
Youngsters Blackman, Clifford and Chalobah were given a run-out for the final fifteen minutes, gaining yet more first team experience as the game slowed down in the closing stages. The only booking of the game, to the all-star’s Florent, was dished out on the 88th minute, before referee Apisit Aon-rak drew the game to a close.
It was all-in-all, a great performance, in which it was pleasing to see us get a few on the score sheet, whilst also maintaining our healthy clean-sheet record at the back. Plenty for Andre to look back on before we travel to Hong Kong for the Asia Cup, the first game of which is against Kitchee on Wednesday.
If you need something to cheer you up when you return to work on Monday this may do the trick- Hull City 3 Liverpool 0.