Well that was not exactly what anyone was expecting. Chelsea managed to claw out a second straight pre-season win, but it was far from plain sailing and the Blues spent the majority of the match in a fairly deep hole. Which is not what you expect when you're playing a friendly against AFC Wimbledon, who ply their trade in League Two.
It took all of 40 seconds for the hosts to take the lead. Ola Aina was forced to concede a corner more or less from the kickoff, and the set piece went undefended, allowing Alan Bennett to rise up and smack a header in off Mark Schwarzer's left-hand post.
None of the Blues involved in that goal had exactly covered themselves in glory, and they looked to redeem themselves by seizing control of the match, which they singularly failed to do. With Nemanja Matic and Marco van Ginkel in midfield, that was mildly alarming -- there were far too many sloppy passes in the centre for Chelsea to build up any real pressure -- but in preseason it's at least excusable.
Jeremie Boga, at least, was causing problems, and the best chance of the half came via a lovely scooped pass from the youngster. Patrick Bamford managed to flick the ball goalwards, but it was beaten away James Shea to keep the score at 1-0. Not that it would remain that way for long, however.
Kurt Zouma had had a strange half, sometimes looking imperious in the tackle and sometimes making some utterly daft decisions, and his lasting contribution to the match definitely fell into the latter bucket. The centre back lost the flight of a ball over the top, allowing Matt Tubbs to get in behind him, and he tried to make up for the error by barging him off the ball. Since Zouma weighs roughly as much as three walruses stapled together, the outcome was that Tubbs went flying, and since it was in the area, the referee pointed to the spot.
Tubbs stroked his penalty past Schwarzer to make it 2-0. This is the point where, had it been a real game, we would have been collectively throwing things. But since it was pre-season, we were merely bored. Chelsea were making mistakes, which is understandable, but they weren't compensating by entertaining anyone except the home fans. Something needed to change.
The Blues were far more direct in the second half, and could have had a couple immediately after the break. Eight new players were introduced for the restart (Schwarzer, van Ginkel and Mohamed Salah all stayed on), and the results were fairly positive. Lewis Baker forced a decent save from Shea with a flicked header, and shortly thereafter Izzy Brown nodded over when in a good position at the far post. Van Ginkel completed the trifecta of misses when he directed Baker's free kick straight down the goalkeeper's throat.
It was better, but it wasn't great, and so Jose Mourinho shook things up. Van Ginkel went off for Jordan Houghton, and the Blues shifted into a 3-5-2 which saw Oriol Romeu slot in as a centre back and Branislav Ivanovic play at centre forward. The results were pleasingly chaotic, and although Wimbledon had a few chances to get around the defence -- Salah isn't really a wingback, after all -- the game was now firmly tilted in Chelsea's favour.
John Terry made it 2-1 after the hosts failed to clear a corner, reacting first to turn in a loose ball from six yards, and it became increasingly obvious that Chelsea were going to find an equaliser at some point. Said equaliser came from the left boot of Salah, who had had an up-and-down game but was in the right place to take down a Baker chip -- with some help from the Wimbledon defence, it must be said -- and slot in to make it 2-2 late.
There was just enough time for Terry to complete the scoring, this time with a more orthodox corner kick down. Baker's delivery (yep, him again!) was perfect, and the captain had no problem thumping past the keeper to give Chelsea a very late win.
While it wasn't a great first-half performance, having to come back from a big hole was an interesting experiment, and Chelsea had just enough about them to manage it. Not pretty, of course, but the job got done. The next friendly will be in Austria on Wednesday against RZ Pellets.