Sarri-Ball is not fiction!
Chelsea opened their pre-season with a win against Perth Glory on Monday. The lineup was fairly similar to the predicted lineup with the exception of Zappacosta and Alonso starting. From the get go Sarri’s initial work on the pitch was evident as Chelsea were active and tracking down every pass with Jorginho dictating play from right in front of the defence. The fact that Jorginho made 101 passes in the first 45 minutes and completed 98 of those shows how much of an impact our new signing had. The goal came in the opening 10 minutes as some brilliant play by Hudson-Odoi led to a cross in the box which Pedro expertly finished. The rest of the 45 minutes and the first 20 of the second half were dominated by Chelsea as David Luiz and Ampadu played at the half way line. The last 20-30 minutes saw Chelsea lose pace which mostly due to tired legs and the lack of tactical practice but this should improve as we approach the Community Shield.
While it is only pre-season some senior players that shined during this game and especially the first 45 were Jorginho, Fabregas, Barkley, and Pedro. Out of these four Fabregas and Barkley are probably fighting for the third spot in the midfield trio and we can safely throw Loftus Cheek into the mix once he returns. Fabregas played the whole 90 but was much more decisive as he played further up the pitch while Barkley having returned to full fitness was dominant and created several chance, if he works on his finishing he could see several more starts this season. Pedro might only have a squad role this season but he showed that he can contribute when called upon. From the youth and loan players Hudson-Odoi and Ampadu were the ones that impressed the most while Abraham had some good moments when he came on in the second half. This could be Hudson-Odoi’s breakthrough season as an understudy to Hazard and with so many games in the Europa League and cup competitions to come. Ampadu was mature beyond his age in defence and fit in nicely next to David Luiz though he is also likely to see more game time in cup competitions and the Europa League.
Chelsea completed north of 3000 passes in yesterday’s game with 75% possession and while this is just Perth Glory and it is just the first pre-season game I am excited to see what this team can do once Hazard and Kante return and with more game time under their belt.