Well it’s just a preseason match. That’s the biggest positive. There will be no fallout in points, place or qualification as a result of last night’s performance. That being said, at the very least, there was a lot to take away from the match.
First and foremost, it is important to point out that this is the first game of the season. There are several players being integrated into the side, and this was the first time they all played together.
The Blues also came up against a side that is in midseason form. Although it’s the Red Bulls second squad, their match fitness and touches are as good as they’ll be. Chelsea found it hard to say to the same. And they should have.
That being said, this isn’t the result that anyone expected. Chelsea should have beat the Red Bulls second team last night, with ease. It didn’t have to be pretty, but it should have happened. So other than realizing that Mourinho and company have a lot more work to do before the upcoming campaign, what else did we learn from last night?
In last night’s press conference, we were explicitly told that Traore is here to stay, and not just as a squad member. He will have a role to play in Chelsea’s squad.
While we discuss all of the major signings that other clubs have made, Traore securing a work permit managed to slip under the radar. Traore will offer Mourinho a different creative option off of the bench next season. It’ll be interesting to see how successful Traore will be in a Blue shirt. He certainly demanded our attention after last night’s performance.
Furthermore, Victor Moses started for the Blues last night as well. This hasn’t happened in a few years. So where does he stand with this Chelsea side?
I think he’ll have quite the role with the Blues next campaign. He adds something different than all the wingers that Chelsea have. Last night, he exemplified his willingness to go at defenders and take them on 1v1. This could be a desirable option for the right wing, where Willian tends to be more defensive minded. It’ll be interesting to see how Moses reintegrates himself into the side after spending Mourinho’s first two seasons in charge on loan. This is all assuming he stays of course.
Moving on the goalkeepers. Jamal Blackman was in attendance last night, and worked out before the match. While he didn’t play a role in the match, it appears he’ll be Chelsea’s third choice keeper next season.
Furthermore, Begovic and Courtois looked slightly shaky in their own regards. While Courtois fought off the challenge from Cech successfully, he’ll have his hands full with Begovic, who made a few skilled saves last night.
That being said, even though Chelsea’s defense buried the Blues on the first conceded goal, Begovic failed to come out with his hands and that cost him.
Along with Begovic’s mistake, Courtois almost gave the ball away in the first half, failing to control a back pass, and was lucky to recover. Both keepers will have to improve their form drastically throughout the preseason. But neither will be buzzing after last night’s performance.
Taking a look at a few other players, it’s important to note that Loftus-Cheek played in a slightly advanced role than we expected. He played in more of an attacking midfielder position, and while looking comfortable, failed to really impact the match. However, his commitment to improving his defensive work rate was evident.
Possibly Chelsea’s best player last night was Oscar. He looked comfortable, and worked tirelessly. While it’s easy to point to his rest this offseason, we’ll have to wait and see if the Brazilian can sustain these type of performances throughout the entire campaign.
Interestingly enough, it was nice to see Solanke in the team last night. He looked comfortable for the Blues, and it would be interesting to see if more first team appearances will be in the cards for the young Englishman. He certainly has established himself as a promising talent among Stamford Bridge.
Kurt Zouma looked comfortable next to Gary Cahill. I’m looking forward to seeing if he’s used even more this season, in order to help prolong John Terry’s career. His playtime will be based on the squad’s health, and Chelsea’s pursuit of Everton’s John Stones.
Finally, we saw that same hard-fought mentality from Diego Costa last night. Should he stay healthy, we should get the pleasure of watching him bully the entire Premier League this season, and hopefully continue to score in flurries.
Overall, while the result was lacking, there were several positive talking points from last night’s match. It’ll be interesting to see how the Blues bounce back and take on better sides, with the likes of PSG and Barcelona up next. One thing’s for sure, they’ll need to improve heavily over this preseason in order to retain their title.