'Ello maitee's, how are we tonight?
I just got home from Busch Stadium as I went to the training session tonight (whoa bet you didnt guess that from the title now did you?). Anyway I'll give everyone a brief overview of how it was and what went on.
I snuck out of my internship about 20 minutes early so I could get home in time to meet up with my buddies before we headed down to the stadium. We got there at about 6:15 (doors opened at 5:30) and I was worried we were going to get shitty seats. Walking up the stadium there was a few Chelsea tents and they were giving out free flags!!! WOO! FREE STUFF! SWAG! #plasticfans #weknowwhoweare. When we walked in there were only about 3 thousand people there and so we got relatively decent seats in the lower bowl section at about the half line. That was nice. I enjoy a nice good seat.
We were all sitting anxiously awaiting our hero's to emerge from the away team's dugout (which I found rather strange, why wouldn't they get the Redbird's dugout?) when out comes the Lead Drummer Petr Cech followed by Big Blacks and last but certainly least Hilario. They all had about 3 or 4 mini adidas balls that they proceeded to kick into the crowd and none of them came toward me. Of course they didn't though, Im not that lucky. About 5 minutes later the rest of the Blues emerged from the tunnel, again carrying the balls and again no balls for me. Oscar found it quite fun to kick all of his into the upper deck while Ivanovic found it fun to try and throw his but come up short...twice.
The boys were split up into two groups for some 1 touch 7v2. One group in orange bibs and one group in the gold training kit.
Orange squad: Ake, Luiz, Lampard, Paulo, Ba, Cahill, Marin, Mata, Ramires
Gold squad: Oscar, Azpilicueta, Cole, Ivanovic, Loftus-Creek, Christiansen, Mikel, Yossi, Torres
The orange bibbed group was far more entertaining to watch as Mata and Luiz were quite amazing and Marin was in the middle probably about 80% of the time. Demba Ba spent most of his time laughing and hugging people and Paulo spent most of his time being incredible at life.
After the small sided games they moved to a game of keep away with gates in the middle. Pass/Dribble through to get a point, pretty standard stuff. Luiz was the most dynamic player in this game constantly in possession of the ball as well as winning it back whenever he was in the area. Mikel was quite amazing as well and from my memory he didn't lose the ball once. What amazed me the most about this was how quickly space was closed down after a switch in play/long-ball to break down the press. Marin again lost possession a lot and Benayoun was surprisingly excellent. Mata was also amazing. I probably didn't need to type that sentence because you guys know that already. Duh.
Next was 9v9 half field to goal. Oh wait, before this drill there was a ball at the halfway line and Frank walked up and stroked it onto the crossbar, so that was cool. Anyway, 9v9 was just ok. It was kind of compact but that is understandable as they have a game tomorrow, have played 68 games this year, and probably didn't want to try that hard. Torres scored 2 goals on pretty decent finishes and again Yossi was one of the better players out there. Frank picked up a little niggle it looked like and he was taken off. Before going down the tunnel he signed about 200 autographs for little girls that probably have no idea who he is but they probably have some pretty happy fathers.
Last thing on Rafa's agenda was 2 guys out wide and 2 guys making runs into the box, one near and one far. Pretty standard drill. Cole and Paulo were the first crossers of the ball and they were equally terrible. No one had any cool goals so that made me sad. Mata and Oscar were next out wide and immediately the quality of the crosses improved, thus improving the finishing. I dont think Ivanovic missed a header the entire time and Luiz was fantastic. Mata and Oscar ended with each of them attempting to set themselves up for a bicycle kick but neither of them would find the net. Blackman was pretty outstanding between the pipes and I wouldn't be surprised if he gets the start tomorrow.
Im sure you all saw the results of the crossbar challenge on twitter but Gary Cahill beat out Cech, Christiansen, Luiz, and Ba for the title winning a trip to Stamford Bridge for the lucky fan he was paired with. Luiz was doing his usual shenanigans out there and had his tongue out 95% of the time tonight. He is an amazing person.
In the end it was an awesome night...I cant wait for tomorrow night, which should be an even better experience. Not everyday your favorite team in the world plays a game in your hometown. Unless, of course, you live in England.
Thanks. Any questions feel free to ask!
oh yea...there was a Cracker concert after the training session. I left.