First “official” preseason friendly in the books, and it’s a rousing victory for the boys in kaleidoscopic blue, coming from behind with two late-ish goals to win 2-1 after an entertaining 90 minutes. Youngsters Armando Broja and Ike Ugbo with the goals; Baba Rahman and Ross Barkley picking up the assists.
Of course, it’s just a friendly so it’s meaningless and fake in many ways, but also meaningful and very much real in others. A few notes along those lines:
- Tuchel-standard 3-4-3 formation, with Pulisic and Ziyech playing off of Abraham up top, Gallagher & Drinkwater in the middle (the latter more sitting), Hudson-Odoi back at wing-back with Alonso on the other flank, and a rather novel back-three of (left-to-right): Sarr, Baker, Sterling
- Hudson-Odoi easily our most threatening player; Ziyech active but imprecise; Pulisic & Abraham fairly quiet. Couple half-chances for Tammy, one where he probably should’ve done better but ended up firing a shot on the turn straight at the goalkeeper.
- Plenty of effort from Gallagher; Drinkwater showing good range of passing.
- Sarr cool and composed, Sterling strong if a bit less composed, Baker surprisingly good in a central defensive role, with good reading of the game, good recovery speed, and even some aerial presence.
- Alonso with the captain’s armband!
- Hudson-Odoi, Alonso, Abraham, Gallagher survive half-time
- More of a 3-5-2 then, with Tammy and Broja up top, Loftus-Cheek, Barkley, and Gallagher (deep) in midfield, and a new back-three of Clarke-Salter, Chalobah, and Miazga. Chalobah looked very good.
- Three more like-for-like changes at the hour-mark with Zappacosta (for CHO), Baba Rahman (for Alonso), Ugbo (for Abraham) on. Mendy taking over the captain’s armband.
- Gallagher the only player to play the full 90. One big mistake aside he did well and certainly had a challenging task of trying to control the midfield by his lonesome for most of the second half, with both RLC and Barkley wondering well forward — before RLC started playing more conservatively.
- Broja heavily involved in both goals, scoring the first and winning the corner for the second with some great hustle. Also showed some good hold-up play, with room for improvement in related passing.
- Beautiful cross by Baba for the first goal.