Chelsea’s 2018/19 season has kicked off with a narrow win over Perth Glory, in front of a massive crowd at the brand new Optus Stadium in Perth. Here are some initial reflections from Maurizio Sarri’s first game in charge.
- "Sarri-ball" is well on its way to Chelsea football club. From the get-go, the differences in style of play from last season were palpable. 4-3-3, it’s been a while!
- Callum Hudson-Odoi displayed all the right signs, as he got the nod for a place in the starting line-up ahead of Charly Musonda, Kasey Palmer and Lucas Piazon. It's too early to be forming any sort of conclusion with respect to a first-team place but a performance like this surely hasn't done his chances any harm. The 17-year-old was constantly looking to threaten down the left and made the only goal of a game with a cross following a sumptuous dribble.
- Jorginho was majestic at the base of midfield, it was a pity he was hauled at the break.
- Alvaro Morata looked unconvincing, to say the least. Clearly some work to be done there but that’s what pre-season is for.
- We saw a whole bunch of young players take the field in the second half - Tammy Abraham, Ola Aina, Mario Pasalic, Tomas Kalas, Charly Musonda and Lucas Piazon. None particularly stood out but Abraham had a couple of good moments. A little strange that Kasey Palmer and Fikayo Tomori didn’t play instead of the likes of Kalas and Piazon, who practically have one foot out of the door, though.
- Unsurprisingly, the second half was very different from the first, as the quality of football rapidly deteriorated. However, today’s run-out has surely served its purpose, getting minutes into the legs of most of the squad and allowing Sarri to assess certain players in various roles such as Fabregas (who moved into Jorginho’s position) and Barkley (who switched to wide forward for the second half).
Onto the next, which is versus Inter Milan in five days’ time. Some of the squad involved in the World Cup should be back by then, and we may see a more tangible form of what to expect from Chelsea this season.