Chelsea lost their unbeaten pre-season record (how we mourn) with an insipid display against Werder Bremen in Germany. Some quick thoughts ...
- Good grief Thibaut Courtois is good. The Belgian's first involvement in his first match in a Chelsea shirt was to produce an impossible save -- Franco di Santo was on the end of a pinpoint cross (Kurt Zouma, not for the first time this pre-season, found himself sucked under the ball), had a free header from six yards, and not only did Courtois somehow reach out to stop the bouncing header, he did so in such a way as to get back on his feet in preparation to stop any followup efforts. Welcome to Chelsea, young padawan. Shame about the penalty. And the Obraniak goal.
- Diego Costa is a battler. Which we knew already, but he showed that more than ever today. He was chasing down everything, blowing his way through defenders, using his strength to hold up the ball and give Chelsea an outlet up the pitch when they needed one. He also blew up the goalkeeper, which is always funny. Even when Costa doesn't score, he makes a difference.
- The first penalty was ... uh. Let's just say that had this been a real game I would have been shouting a lot. Normally you don't get handball calls when your first-time cross hits a covering defender in the bottom at the edge of the area.
- The second goal was bad luck, but there was some awful defensive positioning involved too. John Terry charged out to block a pass, didn't manage it, and that took the ball away from Filipe Luis, sucked Kurt Zouma and Cesar Azpilicueta out of position, and let Ludovic Obraniak score a (very good header). Yikes.
- Speaking of Filipe Luis, that was a phenomenally unimpressive first half. Nobody really covered themselves in glory, but yikes. Nathan Ake added to the left back woes by conceding a dubious penalty at the death.
- Courtois wasn't the only Chelsea player making his first appearance of preseason. Eden Hazard, John Obi Mikel and our good friend Didier Drogba all came out in the second half. Of that trio only Mikel looked close to 100 percent. Hazard in particular was rusty, which is what you expect after a World Cup and a long holiday. They need fitness, and fitness is what they're getting.
- It's pre-season. A loss, even if the performance is poor, isn't a big deal. It's not a surprise that we struggled to create against a disciplined defence when the only real attacking midfielder we have at our disposal is Mohamed Salah. With Hazard back, things should change. Don't freak out (I know some of you will freak out).