The World Cup's barely two days dead and here Chelsea are playing a pre-season friendly. Or rather, there Chelsea were playing a pre-season friendly against a Wycombe Wanderers who didn't really do so much on the playing front. The Blues, a mix of youngsters and old hands who didn't go to Brazil for various reasons, struggled to open their hosts up before the break but eventually blitzing them for four afterwards, leaving Adams Park with a very respectable 5-0 scoreline.
The first half was a sleepy affair. Chelsea had possession for extended periods of time but didn't seem particularly inclined to do much but pass it around the centre circle. The attacking midfield trio, comprised of Lewis Baker, Lucas Piazon and Jon Swift, weren't doing enough to move the ball through the centre, which reduced Marco van Ginkel and Oriol Romeu into playing long balls over the top for Patrick Bamford to chase, which didn't go very well.
Eventually, however, the sheer weight of passes told, and a raking diagonal from Romeu freed up Nathan Ake, who went storming ahead from the left back position and did extremely well to hit a near post cross from the byline. That left Bamford to steal ahead of his defender and meet the delivery on the volley, guiding his shot past whoever Wycombe's goalkeeper was at the time* and in for a 1-0 lead.
*It's pre-season for bloggers too, ok?
That was obviously the best moment of the first half, but there were several other less happy notables. Right back Todd Kane had to depart early with what looked like a groin injury, leaving Kurt Zouma on in his place. Even if you theoretically know how big Kurt Zouma is, watching him on the pitch is a different thing altogether. He is huge. And definitely not a fullback.
Elsewhere there was trouble with Ake and Nathaniel Chalobah, who both got away with some frankly weird defending, and Bamford had to clear off the line from a corner following a reasonably amusing mistake from Mark Schwarzer. But all in all, Wycombe were held at bay in fairly straightforward fashion for the first 45 minutes.
Chelsea then added some bigger names to the fray. On came Nemanja Matic. On came John Terry. On came Branislav Ivanovic and Mohamed Salah. Unsurprisingly life was slightly easier on both end of the pitch after the wave of halftime substitutes, but two less familiar substitutes were just as impressive as the first teamers: Izzy Brown grabbed a brace and Jeremie Boga found himself with two assists.
Brown's goals were taking in ebullient fashion, smacking home a Jay Dasilva cutback in the 47th minute to make it 2-0 before running onto a lose ball and sending a sumptuous effort just inside the angle of post and bar to wrap up Chelsea's scoring in the 87th. Boga, meanwhile, was causing Wycombe all kinds of problems whenever he ran with the ball through the centre, and his set piece delivery was the source of the Blues' remaining goals, which came the boot of John Terry and the head of Branislav Ivanovic.
Chelsea could have had more, and there was at times some slightly dubious decision making as we went on the attack, but all in all it's hard to find much fault with the display. 5-0 without exerting ourselves against a team further into preparations -- and without half of their squad on holiday -- is a very nice result.
So. Step one of pre-season is over with a resounding win. Yay!