As the summer break draws to an end and start of the new season approaches, Chelsea and their new management team are now in full flow of their pre season regime. After an opening match on the other side of the world last Monday, where a 25 man squad devoid of all World Cup participants were victorious against A-League side Perth Glory in Western Australia.
Since then, Maurizio Sarri has continued to mould his squad into his footballing philosophy. To help install what many in the media call “Sarri-ball”, The Blues have 3 preseason run outs in this summer’s International Champions Cup before they start their Premier League campaign away at Huddersfield in just 2 weeks time.
Their opponents are all of similar status within their respective home leagues with Internazionale Milano, Arsenal and Olympique Lyonnais all likely to give Sarri’s squad as good a workout as they could ask for. After 4th, 6th and 3rd place finishes last season, each club contains quality players and all have something to prove in the coming campaign.
This hasn’t been the most prolific summer in the transfer market for The Blues, but most of the activity has been hugely significant. After the club finally parted ways with Antonio Conte, former Napoli head coach Maurizio Sarri has now taken control at the helm of Chelsea’s first team affairs.
Immediately after the Italian’s arrival, one of his key players at Napoli followed in his footsteps to West London. 26 year old Jorginho is a very talented midfielder. Sitting quite deep, his footballing intelligence is remarkable and allows him to move the ball on quickly and efficiently. His range of passes is top drawer and his ability to open defences will be significant to Chelsea’s new style of playing. Surely he is a perfect match to line up alongside N’Golo Kante.
The only other first team squad signing has been to fill the third choice goalkeeper’s role with ex England international Rob Green. With the transfer window closing at 5pm on Thursday 9 August, most of both mainstream media and social media believe that this is very inadequate with time rapidly running out.
However, the timing of the appointment of Sarri could be key to the philosophy of the club. After so many years of trophy winning youth teams, the first wave of hugely talented graduates are now banging on the door of regular first team football. Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Charly Musonda, Tammy Abraham and Ethan Ampadu can all benefit from a coaching manager like Sarri.
It is now only just over a week until the traditional season opener, with the Community Shield kicking off at Wembley Stadium next Sunday, as the FA Cup holders take on last season’s Premier League winners, Manchester City.
But next up are Inter Milan. After a good showing by a number of the Chelsea players in Australia and the inclusion to the squad of 5 of the World Cup participants, this match in Nice could be the perfect workout for The Blues as they try to readjust to a 4-3-3 formation.
Watch out for new signing Jorginho’s vision and passing as he stamps his playmaker role on the team. Hudson-Odoi showed pace, belief and ability in Australia and was a constant threat on the left flank. Ross Barkley looks much fitter than last season and can be a strong driving force from the midfield and could be the answer to Chelsea’s issue with a lack of a goal scoring late runner into the opponent’s penalty box.
With Willy Caballero, Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta and Victor Moses back in training this week, Chelsea’s back line will have more options although this match may be too soon for the outfield players.
So with 12 days left in the transfer window, a new manager trying to change the team’s style of play as well as the philosophy at the club, a handful of exciting youngsters likely to be included in the first team squad, this is an interesting and exciting period within the history of this great club.