Chelsea’s new era under Maurizio Sarri kicked off with a 1-0 win over Perth Glory at the Optus Stadium in Australia.
The Blues, without many of their usual first-team players, still managed to field a strong squad with Cesc Fabregas leading the side. Jorginho made his debut for the London club in his familiar central midfield role.
Chelsea opened the scoring in the 5th minute when Calum Hudson-Odoi weaved his way past his defender on the left flank and delivered a cheeky ball in for Pedro, who tucked it in the back of the net.
Sarri’s compact 4-3-3 was evident in Chelsea’s play as Perth struggled to string together passes in midfield. The Australian side rarely troubled Bolka in goal, and the Luiz-Ampadu centre back partnership had the luxury of comfortably playing the ball from the defensive third.
In the second half, Fabregas and Barkley went close to doubling Chelsea’s lead, but both their strikes were denied by the right post.
The Blues were able to give some of their other young players a run out. Thomas Kalas, Lucas Piazon, Charly Musonda and Tammy Abraham all got some minutes under their belt.
After a pretty comfortable 90 minutes for Chelsea, they settled for a 1-0 win.
MAN OF THE MATCH:
- Sarri’s 4-3-3 provided a new identity for Chelsea. Players like Fabregas, Bakayoko, Zappacosta and Emerson all looked more like themselves in the new system.
- Jorginho could prove to be a key player for Chelsea, especially when partnered with Ngolo Kante in central midfield.
- Alvaro Morata does not fit Sarri’s system and may need to be let go by Chelsea for the sake of finding the missing puzzle piece in the new 4-3-3.
- Calum Hudson-Odoi will be instrumental in Chelsea’s squad depth this season, especially if Eden Hazard leaves the club. With the amount of games that Chelsea will play, he will be needed to deputise or even solidify a starting role.