The pre-season is over, the next time Chelsea take the pitch it will actually count. There wasn't too much we were going to be able to take from this one to begin with, but after Branislav Ivanovic got sent off for a ridiculous challenge in the 41st minute, the valuable part of the contest was effectively over. With that in mind, here's a few of my initial thoughts after watching this one:
- Fernando Torres is going to be very important defensively on set pieces this season, especially in games where Ivanovic does not play (or tries to kill someone).
- Many of the Chelsea players seemed more focused on staying healthy than winning balls. John Terry, Frank Lampard, and Ramires all passed on several attempts to win balls and potentially launch the counter in the first 41 minutes that they'd normally have tried. Apparently that memo never made it to Bran.
- Our "wings" like to cut inside and shoot or pass an awful lot. That's not a bad thing. It probably wouldn't hurt to see them take the ball to the touchline a little more often though, as Chelsea should still be very dangerous on corners with the aerial presences they have in defense.
- The Torres goal was encouraging in that he was very quick to get the shot off. That's something that drove me nuts last year.
The pre-season is now over. On to the real games. Please don't overreact in the comments section, as frankly the result of this one doesn't matter. If you think Di Matteo was taking the result any more seriously than Graham or I, just look closely at his halftime substitutions and tactical changes when down to 10 men and ahead a goal against a very good attacking team. Look at the Ryan Bertrand for Eden Hazard substitution when 2 goals down with 20 minutes to play. It should be a fun week ahead, and the games start to mean something again next weekend.