Perth Glory vs Chelsea – Match review
Chelsea played their first pre-season game of 2018 against Perth Glory in Australia, game that ended in a 1-0 win for the Blues. Not only the 90 minutes, but the build-up to the game had particular importance for the locals, especially for the Chelsea fans from Perth, who were right there to welcome the team as soon as the plane landed on the airport. But it didn’t end there, as the autographs and selfies continued after the open training session on Saturday, too and obviously, lasted until post-match today, despite the heavy rain falling over the Optus Stadium with a capacity of 60,000.
Giving my thoughts about the game, as a Chelsea fan, I think that the first game under Maurizio Sarri left me with a very positive feeling. ‘Sarriball’ was there and the first signs or effects were evident, with players trying to keep the ball and to use one-touch passes in short triangles. Naturally, there is a lot of room for improvement, but I’m very happy with the performances of some players. Particularly, Callum Hudson-Odoi, who showed to be very mature for his young age and his dribbling skills and above all, the assist for Pedro, made me give him my MOTM, despite playing only 45 minutes. On the other side, I liked a lot Jorginho’s performance as well, who had a 93.9% passing percentage, completing 98 passes and it’s fair to say after he got subbed off, the game really lost its rhythm.
Another player that really, really impressed me was Ross Barkley. Unlike some performances from last season, when he was a bit sloppy, today he looked very suited to ‘Sarriball’, with his versatility and ability to play in the centre (Hamsik role), but also on the wing, in the second half, where he was unlucky not to score after hitting the post on one occasion and sending the ball just wide in another. Generally, it was a good game from Pedro, too, David Luiz, Ampadu, Zappacosta played better and Emerson contributed in attack a lot as well.
Moving to the negatives, I’m disappointed with Morata’s performance. I rate him highly as a player however his bad first touch and his choices to continuously fall onto the floor terribly annoying. Still I think that with work during this pre-season he can improve and find his best form. Also, as Sarri said. I expected more from the last 30 minutes and we should have killed the game off before, seeing that Perth took risks in some moments through counter-attacks out wide.
However, overall, I’m very happy with the application of the new philosophy, knowing that there has been less than a week of training and I am glad that the first match under Sarri has been completed without too much trouble. Naturally, as I said before, there is a lot of room for improvement, especially because the team is changing from a very defensive philosophy to a possession-based, attacking, tiki-taka style, so the first step was very enjoyable.