Chelsea finished the preseason fixture list with a 2-2 draw against Borussia Monchengladbach, but that final score hardly tells the true story of the game. Chelsea started horribly, improved slowly, then turned things up a notch in the second half and were ultimately unlucky to not win the game. At the same time, we could’ve been blown away in the first 20 minutes. At worst, it was a 90 minutes far too reminiscent of last season’s major inconsistencies. At best, it showed promise, certainly in the attacking phase.
Afterwards, Lampard was pleased with the obviously pleasing bits, and not so pleased with the obviously not so pleasing bits. That may sounds obvious, but football managers tend to have a habit of ignoring obvious things.
“I think we should have won [but] we can’t concede goals like we did today.”
“I was not happy with the first-half performance, we conceded two bad goals, one was our mistake, the other was a counter-attack, and we weren’t as we should be in the first half. At half-time I asked for a reaction and the team gave a big reaction. We could have scored a lot more goals, their goalkeeper has been fantastic for them. I think we should have won but it was a very tough game, a good exercise for us against a very good team.”
Both conceding goals came from mistakes, as most goals tend to do. Chelsea struggled to play out from the back early, and kept giving the ball away in our own half. Eventually, we were made to pay. Chelsea’s midfield was also left dangerously open on several occasions, and Gladbach took advantage of that eventually as well (a poor offside trap helped, too).
Of course, we can’t expect Chelsea to be a finished product just yet, or anytime soon for that matter, especially with multiple key players still missing. One of them, N’Golo Kante got his first minutes of preseason just today. Others, like Willian, Rudiger, Hudson-Odoi, and Loftus-Cheek are all at least a few weeks out.
So there’s room for improvement in just about every phase, just as there always should be, but from now on, the games will actually matter. No more fake games!
“Now we have a big week where we work, focus even more, do some more fitness work as a team and be ready. We have a huge start to the season with Manchester United and then Liverpool in the Super Cup, so these games are good for us but we still need to improve.
“It will be very difficult going to Old Trafford, with the atmosphere as it will be for the first game, a quality team, a competitor every year with ourselves for Champions League places and above, so it is even more important that we are prepared. We are a team that has worked very hard but we need to be absolutely focused because it is going to be a tough game.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
It’s going to be a tough game, the first of many in what will undoubtedly be a tough season. Every team in the top six (and beyond) has improved, some significantly. We will need to be at our best to compete.