Thank the football gods, for preseason is over and the Premier League season is finally upon us.
Seven wins out of seven in preseason, one goal conceded, Sturridge our top scorer. New manager, new assistant. What did we learn? Here are a few of my thoughts and observations - feel free to add your own.
- Our defense looks good. AVB has tried several different combos in the center, and everyone seems to be working together well. Even Chalobah represented himself well. As for the fullbacks, I think Patrick Van Aanholt is one of the standout kids and should be good back-up for Ashley Cole now that Zhirkov is gone. Paulo Ferreira also showed he's still capable and competent. Interestingly, AVB never put Ivanovic in the right back position.
- Bosingwa may not be a completely lost cause with his crosses.
- Give Drogba first dibs on freekicks. We had a few people try them, including Ashley Cole, Torres, Sturridge, Alex and of course Lampard. I'd still let the Drogs have first crack.
- Sturridge deserves a place in the starting eleven. Unfortunately, he may have to wait a while to get it as he is banned for the first three matches of the season due to the red card he received in Bolton's final match in May.
- AVB = crouching tiger.
- Mikel being part of the attack on corners? I like it.
- Do we have a coach who might actually have a Plan B if things aren't going right? Will he be able to switch up the team if he needs to? I liked the variety of tactics. He seems to want to continue our 4-3-3 solo striker approach, but he also tried the diamond and I also didn't think we looked so bad when he put Drogba and Torres on at the same time, either.
- Sadly, I cringe whenever Lampard steps up to take a penalty. Just blast in into the roof of the net, mate.
- Young Josh McEachran looks a very calm and quietly confident player. He's so young but he looks so comfortable out there with all the big names. He's not afraid to shove someone off the ball and he really has the eye for a perfect pass. I look forward to seeing him get more opportunities in the first team as well.
- Our corners still need work. I still can't decide if I'd rather Drogba taking them or being in the mix to receive them. He was our best corner taker last season.
- We scored a lot of goals, but I'm still concerned about our lack of a true playmaker. I still feel like, when a team decides to park the bus, we won't be able to break them down.
- I'm also curious as to how David Luiz and Ramires are going to work into AVB's plans. We got a glimpse of Rami against Rangers, but Luiz got an extra day off. I've liked the idea of trying Luiz in the defensive midfield position and letting him go on the attack more... and hopefully keeping some of those fouls out of our penalty box.
What am I missing that you also noticed?