It started with a bang but ended with a whimper. After thumping Arsenal and losing narrowly to Bayern Munich, Chelsea ended their tour of the Far East with a 2-1 defeat against Inter Milan. It’s not the most confidence-inspiring pre-season we could have had but it laid bare the work that still needs to be done to ready the team for a gruelling season.

So, a second consecutive loss on the spin but it did teach us a few things. Here’s what we learned.

  1. Seen Them Given: A penalty that wasn’t, for a foul that wasn’t. Still, it was just pre-season. These things even themselves out, so expect Chelsea to be awarded a hilariously dubious penalty in next year’s tour of emerging markets.
  2. Thibaut Stands Tall: Out of the entire squad on this tour, it appears that Courtois is the closest to his peak level of fitness. He made several good saves, including the farcical penalty but was continually let down by the rest of his team-mates.
  3. They’re Slowpokes, Antonio: Conte must have been frustrated by his defenders, who were generally slow to react and seemed to be running through treacle. The team, as a whole, looks well short of fitness. Harder training sessions beckon at Cobham.
  4. Batman Begins: Michy Batshuayi has been playing second fiddle to a senior striker since he arrived at Chelsea, but this might be the season that the apprentice becomes the master. Batshuayi was a constant thorn in Inter’s side and, again, had a goal incorrectly disallowed. It would be a shame if he were to be loaned out after showing good progress.
  5. Slim Pickings: The absence of Pedro through injury meant Alvaro Morata started on the left of the front three, which is not an ideal scenario. Antonio Rudiger also made his debut but not in his preferred position. Another injury to a squad already short on numbers would leave Conte perilously close to meltdown and Chelsea in all sorts of disarray. Time to start panicking? Maybe a little.
  6. Kondogbiahahahahaha: An own goal made in the image of Ramires’ chip at the Camp Nou. Words could never do justice to the sublime strike by Geoffrey Kondogbia. Go check it out.
  7. Shades of 15-16: Chelsea supporters might be forgiven for having a sense of deja vu right now. Although Mourinho dismissed pre-season results as fake, it did show a distinct lack of preparation and preparedness. This time, the symptoms are too similar to be ignored. The squad needs strengthening in terms of additions and not just replacements for outgoing players. And Conte needs to get his charges back at Cobham, line them up and crack the whip.

The fun part of pre-season is done and dusted. The hard work starts now on the training ground and the results will be visible in a fortnight when the Premier League kicks off. A slow start and we might not be able to catch up this time.