Ninety more preseason minutes in the bag; ninety more preseason minutes to come. And then it will finally be time for the proper football, about which we can properly get excited or upset or angry or excited. While some of you are in mid-season form already when it comes to such things, unfortunately most of the Chelsea squad aren't quite there yet.
Chelsea's last friendly will be at home against Real Sociedad on Tuesday. Until then, here are a few thoughts.
- Preseason, preseason, preseason. With random lineups, mass substitutions, and varying degrees of fitness, it's really not very indicative of how a team will perform in the coming season. It's a bit more useful for judging individual performances, but just barely.
- Preseason, preseason, preseason. Should be all about fitness and getting the players to gel. And not getting injured. Unfortunately, Didier Drogba limped off with an ankle injury in the first half, the extent of which is not yet known. Hopefully it's nothing serious.
- Kurt Zouma is still learning. As is Andreas Christensen. That central defensive combination is something that we'll probably not see again this season. On the conceded goal, they were made to pay by clever veteran movement. Chelsea were also routinely leaving wide players open as Azpilicueta and Filipe Luis spent a lot of time tucking in to help the youngsters in the middle.
- The second half saw a strange 3-5-2 formation, with Zouma, Cahill, and Ivanovic across the back. The more important part was in midfield, where the triangle of Mikel-Ramires-Fabregas worked very well. We could see something like that in both a 3-5-2 and a 4-3-3 lineup. Unsurprisingly, Ramires looked quite useful in there.
- Andre Schurrle looks eager and ready to go already, but is still a bit rusty. As are most of the late returnees from the World Cup. Hazard had several flashes of brilliance, as did Oscar and even Willian, too.
- The wingbacks in the 3-5-2 were Salah (left) and Azpilicueta (right). Victor Moses (!) replaced Azpilicueta for the final 20 or so minutes. And Nathan Ake replaced Salah for the final ten. Salah looked probably the most useful, Ake had the best chance to score. Moses did produce a lovely cross towards the end, which really should've brought Chelsea's third.
- Preseason, preseason, preseason. At one point towards the end, Marco van Ginkel played center back.
- Cesc Fabregas, Ramires scored the Chelsea goals. Both were of the highest quality.
- Diego Costa is the feistiest Chelsea player since Dennis "could start a fight in an empty room" Wise. For now, I'm loving it. He missed a glorious chance at the end, from yet another Fabregas through ball. He is human, after all.