Lets be honest, you never expect to learn much from these pre-season knockabouts. It is often little more than a chance to fill your veins with Chelsea once more after several months apart and to enjoy a day in the sunshine with some mates. Today proved little different.
The away end at Pompey is open, so a little sun on the back was being looked forward to. Sadly we faced a cloudy outlook and an idiot at the other end of the pitch who did nothing but ring his stupid bell all day. Pompey chimes? I could have made a better noise with the bell on my bike – if I had a bike. Maybe he was using his bell end. Then they found a trumpet. Trouble was, the person in charge of the trumpet had clearly never seen one before and spent the majority of the game trying to figure out what to do with it.
We saw two Chelsea sides today. The one that started was not a million miles off what would probably be described as our strongest side at the moment. At half time there were a number of changes and some pretty impressive performances. The new black kit was also on display. Just who had this bright idea? It looks like a training kit and the number of times can be used as a change from the blue will be few and far between. Still, better than the graphite and tangerine of a few years ago.
The game itself? Well we led 1-0 at half time, thanks to an effort from Lumpy. The first half was a bit of a flat affair with only two other efforts of note. One lovely strike by Zola was well saved by Hong Kong Phooey in the Pompey goal and the other was another effort by Lumpy, which whizzed by. The second half saw the skies clear and the sun blaze, and the game opened up to meet it. Pompey equalised shortly after half time – a free header from about five yards that gave Carlo no chance – before we struck again just short of the hour mark with a well taken goal from the very impressive Filipe Oliveira,
after a neat pass from Robert Wolleaston.
The third came courtesy of a pinpoint cross from Zola, headed in well at the far post by Robert Huth. There are not a million things that you can say about the performance. I thought Zenden showed some classy touches and Joe Keenan looked at home in the middle of the park. Chappie is clearly the person to play right back. Gallas and Desailly looked comfortable together and should start the season. Carlo started off where he finished last season, making some smart saves, and in Oliveira we may have a real star in the making.
The show rolls on to mighty Wycombe on Wednesday night. Hopefully we will have a striker available so that Zola does not have to plough a hopeless cause all on his own.
Chelsea line-up: Cudicini, Melchiot (Ferrer 45), Gallas, Desailly (Huth 45), Babayaro
(Cummings 45), Zenden (Stanic 45), Lampard (Oliveira 45), Keenan, Gronkjaer (Wolleaston 45), Zola, de Lucas