Chelsea's near-perfect pre-season
Chelsea have almost finished their preparations for the new Premier League season, and Thomas Tuchel will be looking ahead to their opener against Crystal Palace after the Super Cup final against Villarreal on Wednesday, August 11.
In terms of outgoings at least, Chelsea have been busy in the transfer market, with the sales of Fikayo Tomori, Marc Guehi and Olivier Giroud, among others, including Valentino Livramento, and the loan moves of Billy Gilmour to Norwich and Armando Broja to Southampton.
With regards to players coming in, they remain strongly linked with Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, while their acquisition of Inter's Romelu Lukaku just needs an official confirmation. Inter have accepted a bid, and the Belgian is in the process of undergoing a medical.
With the most players at Euro 2020 of any club in the world, Chelsea have seen much of their Champions League winning squad slow to return to training, but with a bloated squad, and a plethora of players returning from loan spells away, they certainly have more than enough players at Cobham.
But what pre-season fixtures have they had?
Chelsea's pre-season friendlies
27 July v Bournemouth (A) - WON 2-1 (Broja, Ugbo)
1 August v Arsenal (A) - WON 2-1 (Havertz, Abraham)
4 August v Tottenham (H) - DREW 2-2 (Ziyech x2)
11 August v Villarreal (N)
Chelsea kicked off their pre-season fixtures with a behind-closed-doors friendly against Peterborough at Cobham. Hakim Ziyech scored a hat-trick, with Tammy Abraham, Christian Pulisic, and Armando Broja also on the scoresheet.
Peterborough had taken the lead through a penalty.
Chelsea's starting XI was as follows: Jamie Cumming; Trevoh Chalobah, Jake Clarke-Salter, Malang Sarr; Davide Zappacosta, Danny Drinkwater, Ross Barkley, Marcos Alonso; Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Tammy Abraham.
Thomas Tuchel did, however, make significant changes in the second half, with only goalkeeper Cumming playing more than 45 minutes.
In their second pre-season fixture they faced Bournemouth, winning 2-1 thanks to goals from Broja and Ike Ugbo.
Broja had an outstanding pre-season before joining Southampton on loan and both he and Ugbo are coming on loan deals last campaign. The former scored 10 Eredivisie goals for Vitesse, while the latter impressive struck 16 times for Cercle Brugge.
In the first half, the likes of Pulisic, Ziyech, Abraham, Hudson-Odoi and Alonso played, while Lewis Baker played in the middle of a back three.
Dujon Sterling and Conor Gallagher were also given minutes from the start.
Tuchel naturally made a variety of changes into the second half, with youth players and returning loanees receiving game time.
From the side that won the Champions League final, only Edouard Mendy saw action.
Chelsea were next scheduled to play Arsenal and Tottenham as part of The Mind Series to help support better mental health.
The Blues earned an excellent 2-1 win at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday 1 August against Arsenal.
Kai Havertz opened the scoring in the first half with a stunning right-footed finish, lashing the ball into the roof of the net to send a message that he can be a clinical number nine.
Ice cold finish from Havertz. Hard not to feel this man is going to have a big, big season. pic.twitter.com/Omgj8HVK72— Adam Newson (@AdamNewson) August 1, 2021
Granit Xhaka equalised in the second half with a header from a corner, but Tammy Abraham earned Chelsea victory by capitalising on a mistake and slipping the ball in.
The Blues then played Tottenham, and were held to a 2-2 draw despite dominating. Two defensive errors cost them the win, although the likes of Tino Anjorin looked sharp off the bench.
Chelsea will play the UEFA Super Cup final against Villarreal on August 11, three days before their new Premier League season starts.