The blues kicked off their pre-season friendlies at 2am UK time today and came out 4-2 winners in what seemed to be a pretty comfortable first game for Di Matteo’s new look side. Chelsea looked good going forward and had some glimpses of greatness, but at times looked shaky at the back. All in all a lot of good to be drawn from the game.
Chelsea lined up with Hilario (Blackman HT), Chalobah (Hutchinson HT), Ivanovic (Kane 63), Luiz (Cahill HT), Ferreira (Saville 63mins), Mikel (Essien HT), McEachran (Lampard HT), Benayoun (Ramires HT), Hazard (Kakuta 63), Marin (De Bruyne HT), Lukaku (Piazon 63)
Marin, Hazard and Lukaku all seemed to link up very well going forward, and Marko Marin in particular looks like a very bright spark, quick with the ball and good at cutting in on his right foot, just as he did to grab his debut goal. Eden Hazard scored a very similar goal, pacing down the left, cutting in and scoring a right footed deflected shot past the stranded keeper.
Romelu Lukaku, who has speculation surrounding his immediate future this season with Fulham wanting him on loan, was absolutely brilliant today. He played the target man role and his first goal was very Drogba-esque, using his power and pace to shrug off his marker and power home past the Seattle keeper. His second goal also had a look of Drogba, battering his way through the defence, rounding the keeper and slotting home. I guess this is why he was touted as the next Didier when he first joined, and he is also proving his worth for a shot at the centre forward position at Chelsea.
Eden Hazard played as the play maker in a free role and really showed why Chelsea were so desperate to land the Belgium midfielder, he does everything, he’s quick, strong, good on the ball, keeps it close to his feet, has great vision, excellent passing ability and reads the game well. A top signing for sure.
Young Josh McEachran really stood out for me, apart from his one unfortunate lapse at the back. He played a little deeper in midfield allowing those in front of him to push on, but he was very creative, threading passes from deep and was excellent breaking up the play and getting the tackles in, just as he did inside 3 minutes when he won the ball back in a deep position, turning on it to look up and put the pass through for Lukaku to score. I hope he stays this season and gets his deserved chance.
Chelsea were 2-0 up within 11 minutes, but a lack of concentration and sloppy defending allowed Seattle back in the game in front of an excitable 53,000 strong crowd.
Chelsea stayed professional and went on to win the match comfortably scoring two more goals, and it might have even been 5-2 when another new boy Kevin De Bruyne latched on to a Frank Lampard pass, only to shoot narrowly wide.
Some impressive performances today though, with people like Yossi Benayoun and Paulo Ferreira trying to stake a claim, they did themselves no harm at all. There were many bright sparks to please Roberto Di Matteo. Even young Todd Kane proved his worth, coming on at right back in the 63rd minute, looking very strong and composed.
Manager Di Matteo said after the game talking about the debuting players It’s a great start for them scoring in their first official game for the club and it was also good to see them striking up such an early understanding with their new team-mates. Hazard can have a real impact in the Premier League. He has great ability and quality and we’re seeing that every day in training.
He goes on to talk about the match I’m really pleased with tonight’s game. We’ve got everything we were looking for from it. It was a good workout with good energy, we’ve integrated some new players and we’ve also seen some of the young talent that will be the future of this club.
Bring on the next game in this exciting time for the club.
Simon Phillips – News Editor
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