Chelsea expected a challenge from the J1 League champions, and that’s precisely what Kawasaki Frontale provided. A scoreless first half where Chelsea controlled play but threatened little was followed by an almost scoreless and generally more even second, where a late Leandro Damião goal won the day for the home side.
Frontale came out of the blocks the quicker and faster team and caused some problems with their high press, but Chelsea eventually settled in and pushed them back into their final third for most of the rest of the first half — while applying a good high press, winning the ball back on multiple occasion.
Frontale started the second half the better of the two sides as well, but Chelsea’s quality eventually shone through in terms of chances, if not quite in terms of the scoreline. But it were the hosts who finished the much stronger of the two teams and grabbed the goal to send the locals into absolute raptures.
But it’s just preseason. Now is the time for such things, not later.
FIRST HALF (4-3-3):
Caballero | Alonso, Zouma, David Luiz, Azpilicueta (c) | Mount, Jorginho, Kovačić | Kenedy, Batshuayi, Pedro
- Excellent work on the high press and freeing Azpilicueta down the right with combinations.
- Defense not tested beyond instances of the midfield getting cut to ribbons on counters
SECOND HALF (4-2-3-1):
Caballero | Emerson, David Luiz (c), Christensen, Zappacosta | Jorginho, Kovačić | Mount, Barkley, Kenedy | Giroud
- Jorginho-Kovačić double pivot goes for a test ride, then replaced by the Drinkwater-Bakayoko version
- Mount looking good in midfield and wide left
- PULISIC! Wore shirt No.24, but as Chelsea went to great lengths to point out, these are not the final numbers.
- Palmer (for Kenedy) also made an appearance
- Bit too sloppy in the end