Trip to America
August saw Chelsea go to the United States to compete for the second successive year in the International Champions Cup.
The first match offered the new manager a reunion with his former club Inter Milan. The match was played on a very poor playing surface and didn’t offer the same thrilling viewing as the the matches in Asia had, but the club still won comfortably 2-0.
Cambiasso saw red for a horror challenge on John Terry and the skipper could count himself lucky to be left with no lasting damage. The goals were provided by way of an Eden Hazard penalty and a sublime strike from the young Brazilian, Oscar.
Moses provided the assist for Oscar and the Nigerian has been in fine form throughout the preseason, Mourinho’s style and tactics clearly suit the players game so expect to see a fair bit from him this season.
The next team to face the Europa League holders was Inter’s, inner city rival, AC Milan.
The match was the biggest test Chelsea had faced so far with Milan’s young stars like Niang and El Shaarawy providing a tough test for the defence and keeper alike. The match finished 2-0 and despite Milan’s occasional threat the Blues never really looked like losing.
The final of the tournament gave Mourinho yet another chance to face a former employer and after last season's, shall we say, difficulties between Jhim and Real Madrid this game was always likely to be a bit more fiery than the average friendly.
The game started with Real coming straight out of the blocks, certain players clearly had a point to prove to their former boss. After 12 minutes Real capitalised on some awful positional play by Ramires and Gary Cahill’s reluctance to challenge Marcelo saw the full back poke it through the defenders leg into the net.
Los Merengues' joy was short lived however, a quick counter attack, some sharp passing and a slice of luck allowed Ramires to perform one of his trademark runs behind the defence and chip Casillas.
The match was back and forth but Real’s class was posing more threat to Chelsea’s goal than to Casillas.
Madrid were flopping to the ground at any available opportunity and more often than not being rewarded for their efforts so when Ivanovic provided Real with a free kick just outside the penalty area there was an sense of inevitability about CR7’s careful placement of the ball.
Ronaldo duly provided a free kick master class and followed up in the second half with an awesome header.
The final preseason minutes were to be played in Washington against an always dangerous Roma. The team put out in the first half lacked creativity and pace, the pairing of Essien and Mikel is one I hope we don’t have to resort to very often based on the performance.
Chelsea started well but a howler from Mark Schwarzer allowed Lamela a tap in and the team went in at half time 1-0 down. The second half saw a host of changes made and Chelsea looked a different team, pressing Roma right back into their own area with Oscar and Hazard particularly impressive.
After a couple of warning shots fired at keeper Morgan De Sanctis, Lampard eventually found the back of the net with a typical long range finish. Despite being completely overrun Roma held out right to the bitter end but in the 89th minute Hazard jinked his way around the Roma defence and offered it to Ba whose shot was saved, with Lukaku knocking in the rebound.
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