With a pre-season full of highs and lows now behind them, Chelsea will regroup back in London on Tuesday and prepare for the season ahead.
The two big news stories from the tour were reflective of the up and down nature of Chelsea’s visit to the Far East. The Blues were pleased to confirm Gary Cahill as the new club captain, but the other major announcement from the past week was that Kenedy had been sent home from the tour following offensive social media posts the Brazilian made in China.
Given Antonio Conte didn’t ever seem too eager to provide Kenedy with much first-team action anyway, it is now unlikely that the twenty-one year-old will feature in the squad led by Cahill for the 2017/18 season.
Moving towards the events that unfolded on the pitch during Chelsea’s pre-season tour, and supporters will have been delighted with the club’s opening game in the Far East that saw the Blues comfortably defeat London rivals Arsenal 3-0 in Beijing.
Three goals and a clean sheet certainly meant things were looking positive after an uncertain opening to the summer. Willian and Batshuayi were the players on the scoresheet, and though a nasty collision with David Ospina led to Pedro having to return to the UK for treatment on his face, fans were soon smiling again following the transfer news that Chelsea had completed a deal for Spanish striker Alvaro Morata.
Multiple changes were enforced throughout that opening game as Antonio Conte provided the Chelsea youngsters with some game time, another pleasing factor for supporters. Jeremie Boga in particular stands out as a young player who looks to have real quality.
However, the winning start did not continue throughout the tour of Asia, as Chelsea lost their second match against Bayern Munich 3-2 in Singapore. Despite finishing each half the stronger side, Chelsea just couldn’t get the crucial goal to force a draw following a very poor start that saw the Blues fall to a 3-0 deficit before 30 minutes.
With a slightly altered line-up due to the injury to Pedro, Jeremie Boga started. Meanwhile, in place of David Luiz, Andreas Christensen started to face opponents he knows well after a two season-long loan in the Bundesliga.
The damage was done to Chelsea by Rafinha and Thomas Muller, who bagged a brace, with our slightly altered back-three looking disorganised in the opening stages. However, Chelsea managed to get one back in added time in the first half as Marcos Alonso smashed home at the back post following a cross from Victor Moses.
Chelsea continued to press throughout the second period and eventually cut the score line to 3-2 in the 85th minute, as Batshuayi scored his third on the tour. But the equaliser just wasn’t happening. Despite Chelsea looking the most likely to score the next goal, they couldn’t get it in time. On a more positive note, new boy Morata secured his first minutes for Chelsea.
Morata wasn’t the only new signing to make his unofficial debut on the tour however, as German defender Antonio Rudiger joined the Blues for their final game in the Far East. Rudiger didn’t start the match against Inter Milan that also took place in Singapore, but was given some minutes in the second half of what turned out to be another loss for Chelsea.
Inter took the lead after slotting home the rebound of a penalty kick that was saved by Thibaut Courtois, though the penalty was a controversial one given that the tackle that was penalised looked a solid and fair challenge from Cesar Azpilicueta. Things got worse for Chelsea just after the half time interval when Ivan Perisic broke free down the left flank and unleashed a firm shot past Courtois to make it 2-0 to the Serie A side.
Chelsea did manage to get one back halfway through the second half but only through bizarre circumstances, as a spectacular own goal from Geoffrey Kondogbia saw the French midfielder lob his own goalkeeper from 45 yards. Michy Batshuayi was perhaps unfairly denied an equaliser and what would have been his fourth goal of the tour by the linesman’s flag late on in the game.
But it wasn’t to be for the Blues who have now headed home to continue their preparation for the upcoming season. Chelsea have a final pre-season match against Arsenal in the Community Shield next weekend before their Premier League opener vs. Burnley the following Saturday.
With the new additions and youngsters getting game time throughout pre-season, the clash with Arsenal at Wembley will be Conte’s final look at what he has got to attempt to defend the league title.