Chelsea travel to the South Coast this Saturday for our first official friendly of the summer, following a 3-0 behind closed-doors win over Wycombe. A sensation goal by Benayoun and strikes from Torres and Rajkovic proved decisive in the game at Cobham on Tuesday evening.
Our most recent encounter with Portsmouth was of course the 2010 F.A. Cup final; where Drogba’s goal sealed the double following Cech’s crucial penalty save. On our last visit to Fratton Park, a 5-0 thrashing re-ignited our title aspirations after two points were dropped at Blackburn. This game will end the long wait to see the blues in action since Carlo’s reign ended with a whimper at Everton nearly two months ago. It’s now Andre’s blue and white army and a new chapter in our great clubs history begins.
The initial signals look good. While his Porto record speaks for itself, the way he conducted himself in his first interview was perhaps even more impressive.
The fact we won’t be seeing any new faces this weekend is a cause of concern for many, particularly with Man United splashing out and injecting new young talent into their squad, something many feel we need to do. Saying that, it is likely many youngsters will get a run out, and several of the 23 man mixture of youth and experience that played against Wycombe will feature again. Andre has said he needs time to assess the squad, and this is a perfect opportunity, albeit after only been back in training a matter of days.
The reported possible departure of the popular Alex is disheartening, and potential replacements Cahill and Rolando don’t seem to be enticing many. Alex’s discouragement to playing second fiddle behind JT/Luiz is reminiscent of the Terry/Carvalho/Gallas situation that even Jose struggled to resolve. Having three, four if you include Ivanovic, who’s mainly deployed at right back lately, world class centre backs can be seen as a problem. It has in fact hastened the development of players like Huth and Bruma. Good luck to Jeffrey and some of our other youngsters moving to Hamburg! It’s certainly a good problem however, and I’d much rather have four world class centre backs that the 0 some believe Arsenal have.
Other probable departures include Bosingwa, Anelka, Kalou, Malouda and Zhirkov, while there’s still no certainty about Drogba’s future. Whilst Torres goal against the league one side isn’t enough to convince us yet, it’s a start and let’s hope a good pre-season will enable him to come back stronger next season, although not in the same way Kezman was fantastic pre-season then dithered from August onwards.
Essien’s injury is a worry! We have to hope a replacement comes in soon, although I’m not sure paying £30m+ for Modric is reasonable. There’s even been talk of a return for Scott Parker!
The 3pm Saturday kick off is something of a rarity these days, and this week’s announced fixture changes for television have caused anger once again.
This game will be followed by a tour of Asia and then a trip up to Glasgow to play our good friends Rangers.
Enjoy the game.