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Fernando Torres Scores As Chelsea Earn 3-0 Win Over Wycombe in 1st Preseason Game

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 20:  Fernando Torres of Chelsea gives instructions during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Birmingham City at Stamford Bridge on April 20, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 20: Fernando Torres of Chelsea gives instructions during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Birmingham City at Stamford Bridge on April 20, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
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Chelsea FC played their first preseason game of the year behind closed doors against Wycombe Wanderers today, and from the sounds of things it all went fairly well. The Blues scored plenty of goals, created even more chances, kept a clean sheet and lost nobody to injury. Even Fernando Torres scored, which is nice to see. Obviously, I wasn't able to watch the match, so there's only so much I can say... but that doesn't mean that there was nothing noteworthy in the game that the official match reports (Chelsea and Wycombe) haven't covered.

1st Half

Chelsea (4-1-2-3): Henrique Hilario; Patrick van Aanholt, John Terry, Tomas Kalas, Jose Bosingwa; John Obi Mikel;  Aliu Djalo, Yossi Benayoun; Florent Malouda, Didier Drogba, Gael Kakuta.

Chelsea's official site are calling this a 4-4-1-1 with Benayoun sitting in the hole behind Drogba, but I can almost guarantee you that Malouda and Kakuta will have pushed up in line (at least) with Benayoun, and everything I've seen about Djalo (who also goes by Kaby) suggests that he'd have probably played up high as well. So, we'll call this Chelsea's usual shape, with the caveat that I didn't watch it and could therefore just be being stupid.

Benayoun scored fairly early and Chelsea had much the better of the first half, generating several more chances but failing to convert. Wycombe, apparently, threatened just once when a long ball was played over the top for Scott Rendell, whose shot was blocked by Hilario. Without knowing for sure, it looks like Rendell was playing a left-sided attacker in a 4-3-3, which makes sense, because he'd have been being marked by Jose Bosingwa. Aside from that spell, the Blues were, as you'd expect, in control of things, and could have gone ahead by more goals if they'd been a little bit sharper. The entire team was switched around for the second half.

2nd Half

Chelsea (4-4-2): Ross Turnbull; Ashley Cole, Slobodan Rajkovic, Branislav Ivanovic, Paulo Ferreira; Yuri Zhirkov, Josh McEachran, Billy Clifford, Salmon Kalou; Nicolas Anelka, Fernando Torres.

This shape could easily have been a 4-3-3 as well - with Kalou pushing relatively high up the pitch it all depends on how Zhirkov was deployed. Considering the failed experiment with him as a central midfielder last season, I'd expect Chelsea to have just come out in a lopsided 4-4-2, and the official site agrees. The central midfield was of real interest, with youngsters Josh McEachran* and Billy Clifford both starting. Clifford, who's recovering from a serious knee problem, only lasted fifteen minutes, presumably by design, but in that time the Blues scored twice more.

*As an aside, there's been some suggestion that Michael Essien's knee injury could end up being a blessing for McEachran, but I think the opposite is probably true. Before the injury, McEachran could easily have been loaned to Bolton Wanderers (or equivalent) and been a Premier League starter. Now he'll likely as not be required to sit on the bench as midfield depth.

Torres was fed by Anelka to score in the 52nd minute as the combination that came good against West Ham United last year once again proved more than handy, and as good as it is to see Torres' name associated with a goal it was perhaps even better to hear that Rajkovic, who spent last year on loan with Eredivisie side Vitsse, managed to get on the scoresheet himself, the centre half apparently meeting a Zhirkov corner with a neat volley from close range. Again, Chelsea had more chances, but weren't sharp enough to convert.


Several notable players didn't feature in addition to the injured Michael Essien. Daniel Sturridge, David Luiz, Ramires, Frank Lampard, Alex, Petr Cech and Ryan Bertrand were all missing. The Brazilians sans Alex are both in Argentina for the Copa America, and I'd expect Bertrand and Sturridge were being rested after the under-21 European Championships in Denmark. So, what of Lampard, Cech and Alex? I have no idea, although I could see both outfield players being rested in light of their injury-hit 2010/11 seasons.

it's obviously difficult to have any sort of emotion when nobody really knows what's happened, but the reports all suggest that everything went perfectly, so that's good. Can't really complain about a comfortable 3-0 win in which more or less everyone got a run-out, can you?

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