Chelsea enjoys 3 – 1 victory over Everton
It was good to see the Blues back in action after the lengthy international break. I’m not much of a fan of the international breaks by the way. I understand their necessity and I don’t have a better solution to offer, but I’d rather not have them interrupting the season.
Chelsea put in an excellent performance against Everton yesterday. It was a mostly comfortable victory – one that actually reminded me of the ‘09/10 EPL title winning Blues. This season’s Sunderland, Bolton, and Everton wins are reminiscent of Chelsea’s more dominant phases of the past several years. Things are looking up. If only they hadn’t let Man U get the better of them!
Conceding a late goal to Everton slightly marred the day. Defensively, sometimes it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security with a three-goal lead, but Chelsea really needs to seal those leaks in preparation for tougher days ahead. Petr Cech must be banging his padded noggin against his locker lamenting the lack of clean sheets this season.
One major confidence booster for Chelsea and its fans is the current lineup depth. It sure is heartening to see the likes of Malouda and Anelka warming up as substitutes! It’s an embarrassment of riches really. I think Chelsea has the best depth in the league right now. Look at the guys who weren’t playing yesterday: Torres, Luiz, Alex, Meireles, Lukaku. The TV cameras even gave us a glimpse of Michael Essien in the stands, still out with his knee injury. Here’s hoping Essien can rejoin the squad for the second half of the season!
Other thoughts from the game…
Bosingwa has surprised and impressed me this year. He has been quite a reliable right back from preseason on. However, if I’m being picky, his crosses into the box, or pass selection at the end of positive runs down the wing, are often hasty and sloppy.
Hope Ramires’ knee injury suffered when netting Chelsea’s third goal just turns out to be a knock. He has been Chelsea’s Energizer bunny this season and would be missed if he has to sit out long. Ramires could turn into a long-term star for Chelsea.Juan Mata is looking like a genius signing thus far. He is all over the field, offensively innovative, with great passing and deft ball handling.
Likewise, Daniel Sturridge continues to impress. Chelsea needs to wrap him up with a long-term contract.
Drogba had a bit of an off day, but he’ll come around. He was still involved through his strong physical presence and made several key passes. I still think he should start alongside Torres once Fernando returns from his three-match red card ban.
It was a good weekend for Chelsea fans and a positive primer for Wednesday’s Champions League match against Genk!
Thoughts on Chelsea’s performance against Everton? Feel free to share below…
Blues win Barclay’s Asia Trophy with 2 – 0 victory over Aston Villa
1st Half Highlights/Commentary
-1st min: Amazing start for Chelsea… Bosingwa made a great leading pass to Anelka who raced into the box and shot, but was blocked by Villa GK Shea Given. Ball deflected to Malouda who shot, but Given saved it again. This time McEachran slammed the rebound into the net!
-Aside from the obvious early goal, Chelsea began the game very strong, perhaps even stronger than the Kitchee game. The passing was precise and had a quicker tempo than we saw in the first two Asian games.
-Competition for starting forward spots seems to have inspired everyone to step up their game this preseason (except Torres – yet). Anelka and Sturridge had a sharp first half against Aston Villa, both carrying the ball confidently into space.
-Commentator Martin Tyler again talked about the “ageing” Chelsea stars. The problem in bringing this up so often during this preseason is that age doesn’t appear to be a factor for Chelsea yet. Next year, or two seasons down the road, it will probably be something to talk about. But right now you can’t say Terry, Lampard, Malouda, Anelka, or Drogba are struggling because of their age.
-Good to see Chelsea dominate a Premier League side, looking very comfortable in the first half. Minor quibble with the fact that Chelsea’s scoring threats dried up in the last 20 minutes of the half.
2nd Half Highlights/Commentary
-Great to see Alex on for the first time this preseason! He replaced Ivanovic to start the second half.
-55th min: Fantastic dribble run at the top of the box by Sturridge, who slid it to Malouda on the left. Malouda made an excellent cross to Lampard who headed it on goal. Given made a diving save, deflecting it out to Sturridge who blasted it over the goal. Great sequence, though Lampard and Sturridge should’ve scored.
-57th min: Van Aanholt on for Zhirkov, Torres on for Sturridge, and Drogba on for McEachran.
-58th min: Shocker – Torres’ first touch of the game is a goal! Malouda took an overly ambitious long-range shot, which Torres calmly glanced on the run and into the goal. 2 – 0 for Chelsea.
-72nd min: Benayoun replaced Anelka. Anelka had the best game I’ve seen him play in quite some time.
-Chelsea wasn’t able to get Drogba involved at all in the second half. Perhaps it was just too crowded up top with Anelka, Drogba, and Torres in at the same time. Great to have a hungry offense – they’ve just got to figure out how to share the creative space.
-84th min: Kalou came on for Lampard. Chalobah entered for Terry in the 89th minute.
-Overall, Chelsea worked hard, demonstrating very positive progress from the earlier games of their Asia tour. Chelsea looks confident and fans have adequate reason for optimism about the season’s start in two weeks!
What positives/negatives did you notice from Chelsea against Villa?
This week’s transfer rumors and signing realities
I’ve followed the daily transfer rumors more closely this summer than I have in past years and it has been quite amusing. The latest example being Sir Alex Ferguson’s denial that Manchester United are deal-making to acquire Wesley Sneijder from Inter Milan. It was a pretty firm denial in the face of supposedly serious reports all week that a deal is imminent. The moral of the story is you don’t really know what’s going on with a player during transfer season until they show up in a new uniform.
I’ve kept tabs on the transfer rumors just to keep up with which Chelsea players are coming and going. Of course, all the attention has been on Chelsea’s attempt to get Modric from Tottenham. That deal is apparently deader than it’s been all summer after Tottenham nixed two Chelsea offers and denied Modric’s transfer request. This mini-circus will likely continue until the season starts and I wouldn’t be surprised if Modric ends up in a Chelsea uniform during the January transfer window.
I think Chelsea should abandon the Modric pursuit in favor of another of this week’s rumors: trying to get Scott Parker on loan from West Ham. The times I’ve seen Parker play the past couple seasons, he has displayed the kind of relentless hustle and passion that was missing from much of the Chelsea squad last year. Because of his age, he may not be a long-term addition, but if one of the primary personnel needs at the moment is a replacement for Essien at midfield, Parker could be just the shot in the arm the team needs. Currently Aston Villa seems to be the frontrunner to acquire Parker’s services.
The other prominent transfer rumor of the week was Chelsea’s pursuit of Bolton defender Gary Cahill. Interesting, though Chelsea’s defense seems to be in pretty good shape right now. If this deal happened, I can’t see Cahill starting over any of the current group very often.
Other quieter rumors this week include Nicolas Anelka possibly returning to Paris St. Germain and Alex maybe heading to Bayern Munich or Real Madrid. I like both players a lot, but of the two, transferring Anelka might be the shrewder move because of his age (32) and the fact that things are a little crowded at the Chelsea forward position. It’s time for Daniel Sturridge to see more minutes at forward and transferring Anelka would help facilitate that.
I would hate to see Alex go. When all the Chelsea defenders are healthy, they have a deep, quality bench, which is vital to the long EPL season. If Alex left, adding someone like a Gary Cahill would be essential to maintaining that bench depth. Anelka played in the second half of Chelsea’s first preseason game against Wycombe Wanderers Tuesday, but Alex did not.
Finally, two young Blues received welcome contract extensions today. Twenty-two-year-old left-back Ryan Bertrand signed a four-year deal. Eighteen-year-old midfielder Josh McEachran signed a five-year-deal. Both signings seem very promising, though I only saw Bertrand for a few minutes in one game last season, so I don’t know much about him yet. The McEachran signing is great for Chelsea. Ancelotti worked him into several games last season and despite his beanpole build, McEachran was extremely impressive with his poise, patience, placement, and passing prowess (I got on a roll with the p’s and had to keep it going). If McEachran can avoid burnout and develop some upper body bulk, he could very well be Chelsea’s Lampard of the future.
Which of these Chelsea transfer rumors is most exciting? Most disappointing?