Another day, another pre-season outing. This time, Chelsea came up against the mighty German champions, Bayern Munich, in Singapore. Unfortunately, Bayern raced into a 3-0 lead early in the first-half and despite a spirited second-half fightback, Chelsea ran out of time to overcome the deficit. There was no last-minute header to bring things back to level pegging, and so it ended 3-2 in the Rekordmeister’s favour.
What did we learn from the penultimate official pre-season fixture? A fair bit, actually. Here are the seven talking points from the game.
- A lot of us have been raving about Andreas Christensen, crying out for him to be given a chance at Chelsea and even going so far as to call him Cahill’s replacement. Conte started him in the centre of defence against Bayern and he struggled. Of course, it’s never easy playing against such a strong opponent with new team mates, even if it’s just a friendly. However, Christensen’s display left a lot to be desired. Hopefully, once he is up to speed with the Conte work ethic and the way Chelsea play, he’ll start showing us the kind of performances we’ve come to expect, watching him from afar.
- With Matic still looking for an exit, Fabregas partnered Kante in the middle of the pitch once again. Now, Cesc is a magnificent passer of the ball but he doesn’t really excel in doing the dirty-work in the engine room. This allowed Bayern to run rings around the Chelsea midfield, spray passes and release players on the wings. Bakayoko, when he is fit, might be a better partner for Kante and that would allow Fabregas more freedom to work his magic. But that would almost certainly require a tweak in the formation.
- Speaking of formations, Morata and Batshuayi playing together up front could be a lethal partnership. It was from the Spaniard’s flick-on that Batshuayi volleyed in his fifth goal of pre-season. We saw a few glimpses of Morata’s movement and skill in the short time he was afforded on the pitch, but there’s certainly a lot more to come from him. Conte preached patience with his newest acquisition, but the signs are good. He just might be the one who breaks the curse of the Chelsea number 9 shirt.
- In the defence, Marcos Alonso ran himself into the ground patrolling the left flank. His lack of speed, compounded by the lack of gas in the tank made him an easy target, even though he did score a goal himself. With no substitute left-back or wing-back available and Alex Sandro playing hard to get, Chelsea desperately need to bring in someone to provide competition and perhaps even take over the left wing-back slot.
- Bringing on David Luiz injected some urgency into Chelsea’s play as the Brazilian rallied the troops. Luiz even went on a few marauding runs into the Bayern half and hit the post with a deflected effort. Between him and Gary Cahill, Chelsea are well-stocked for leaders following Terry’s departure.
- A game against seasoned opponents allows us the opportunity to assess the squad and their preparedness. Chelsea are still some way off in both departments, but there’s plenty of time left to fix them. Conte will definitely get the players ready for the start of the season. It’s now up to the board to provide the necessary reinforcements, which, despite fans’ misgivings, they certainly will.
- Remember, this was a Chelsea team without Eden Hazard and Pedro, who would have certainly made a difference, even though pre-season results are ‘fake’. The addition of midfield steel and wingback options would make the squad much more complete and a stronger unit. A defeat such as this doesn’t necessitate undue concern and no, the sky is not falling. Keep calm and trust Conte.
And with that, on to the next one against Inter to end the tour and start preparations for the new season in earnest.