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Chelsea 4-0 Thailand All-Stars: Blues Bounce Back From Sluggish First Half

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Remember what I said about the preseason not mattering? That goes double for when we win. Chelsea emerged 4-0 victors over the Thailand All-Stars, with goals from Frank Lampard, Jose Bosingwa, Branislav Ivanovic and Florent Malouda putting a nice little gloss on the scoreline. Andre Villas-Boas started Chelsea in a 4-3-3 that featured much of his first choice team, with Josh McEachran, John Obi Mikel and Lampard forming a formidable midfield triangle which dictated the game, McEachran in particular shining.

You wouldn't expect a Thailand All-Star team to have much of a chance against Chelsea, but they kept it reasonably close in the first half, with the front three of Daniel Sturridge, Nicolas Anelka and most especially Fernando Torres scuffling. It took more than half an hour for the game to produce its first goal, and it was mostly goalkeeper Pattarakorn Thanganuruck's* fault after letting a long-range Frank Lampard effort escape him on its way to the back of the net. It was a goal Chelsea barely deserved thanks to their sluggish play, but they quickly built on their lead after the interval.

*Match reports are calling him 'Tanganurat' but I don't think that's right.

It's unclear just what Bosingwa was doing when he swung in a cross from the right wing that seemed aimed directly at the goalkeeper, but it worked - Thanganuruck opted to let the ball bounce off his palms, off the post, and into the back of the net. It was a very odd goal, and Bosingwa was duely chided for serving up an absolutely rubbish cross. Chelsea had scored twice without really creating an opening to speak of.

That would change for the next goal, as McEachran found the surging run of Ivanovic, sending the centre half clean through with a neat pass that the Serbian converted with aplomb. Chelsea were playing properly now, generating chance after chance with incisive football. This continued despite a flurry of Blues substitutions as the game went on. Yuri Zhirkov, who came on for McEachran at the hour mark, found himself in space but shot right at the goalkeeper, but Malouda made no mistake when a lovely ball from left back Ashley Cole played him through. Didier Drogba also got the ball in the back of the net, but it was ruled out - incorrectly - for offside.

That's not to say it all went Chelsea's way int he second half. There were a number of defensive errors from John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic that went unpunished due to the bizarre heroics of Henrique Hilario in the goal (he came on for Petr Cech at the end of the first half). Had the Portuguese backup not been quite so alert, the Thai All-Stars could easily have scored three. They all looked like pretty elementary, rust-aided mistakes, so I'm not really worried about them appearing in real games, but they sure looked silly when they happened.

Anyway, Chelsea's pre-season record now reads four played, four wins, and a 9-0 aggregate score. Not that that matters, of course... just like after not-so-good games, all Andre Villas-Boas will be trying to do here is to get his plays game time. Actually playing decently in the second half is just a bonus.

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