Chelsea kick off their Far East tour with a match against a Malaysia XI at the impressive Bukit Jahil Stadium in Kuala Lumpur. The home side is made up of players from Harmau Muda and Harmau Malaya. Malaysia have a World Cup fixture next week, so they will field a blend of veterans and up and coming youngsters. The home side have lost to two of our Premier League rivals recently, going down 3-6 to a lacklustre Liverpool and 0-4 to dissipating Arsenal.
Chelsea have been training in 30 degree plus conditions and will be relieved that kick off is 20:45 local time. A very impressive 30,000 + turned up to watch The Blues training under new manager AVB. The 26 man squad seemed to relish the attention, from the adoring locals, as they ran on to the pitch. Then it was down to business.
AVB has really impressed the squad with his refreshing approach to training. Ninety percent of all training is with the ball. The players have been organised in to teams of four versus eight, four on four and eleven on eleven, all within very confined spaces. The ideology behind this is to improve peripheral vision within ‘heavy traffic’. The other significant training agenda is to win the ball back, very quickly, after losing it, AVB is obviously trying to emulate Barcelona in transition phases of matches.
The Chelsea management will continue with the 45 minutes, per player, during the first few matches of this tour. This allows all players to get match time and also give AVB the opportunity to assess each individual. This, in time, will lead to us entering the transfer market, after each player is fully analysed.
The match, itself, will be a good run out for the lads, without being too taxing. I expect Chelsea to dominate possession and win comfortably.
Chelsea move on to Thailand next with a match, on the 27th July, against Thailand All-stars.