Pre-Season 2021: A Strong Start

After finishing last season with a Champions League medal, three Chelsea players went on to reach finals at international level. Although Thiago Silva saw defeat in the final of Copa América, Jorginho and Emerson going one step further with Italy as they were crowned double European Champions at Wembley.

Following a summer of success and silverware, Thomas Tuchel and his players are currently preparing for the new season – which ultimately see’s the return of supporters and normality.

Although stadiums are beginning to return to full capacity, COVID-19 has still influenced pre-season.

The regulations with travel saw English clubs play their friendlies on a local level. Chelsea only managed to go as far as Dublin, where their match against Drogheda was ironically cancelled due to a positive COVID-19 case.

This post aims to summarise Chelsea’s pre-season thus far, providing a brief round-up of each game and who has impressed early on for the Blues.

July 17th 2021: Chelsea 6-1 Peterborough United

Tuchel’s first game back after the Champions League final came at Cobham, as the Blues took on Championship side Peterborough United in a behind-closed-doors friendly.

With Chelsea’s ‘loan army’ returning from their stints away, Tuchel had a large group of players to pick from – with most aiming to make a good first impression in front of the German.

On the day, the Chelsea ending up winning the match 6-1, with Hakim Ziyech stealing the limelight following a second half hat-trick.

Tammy Abraham, Christian Pulisic (penalty) and Armando Broja was the other scorers for the Blues.

July 22nd 2021: Drogheda United – Chelsea (Cancelled)

As previously mentioned, Chelsea’s proposed friendly against Drogheda was cancelled due to a suspected COVID-19 outbreak in the London club’s camp. The player who contracted the virus was never officially announced.

As a result, the Blue’s had to cut their stay in Ireland short. Chelsea instead headed straight back to London, looking forward to their trip to the coast against Bournemouth.

July 27th 2021: Bournemouth 1-2 Chelsea

In what was their first pre-season game open to fans, Thomas Tuchel took his players south to take on Scott Parker’s Bournemouth at the Vitality.

Tuchel layed out a relatively experimental side for his starting eleven, which featured Christian Pulisic at full-back and Dujon Sterling at centre back. The German used 21 different players in the process, taking a fair look at the variety of players he had available.

After going 1-0 down in the second half, the Blues responded after just six minutes thanks to substitute Armando Broja – who continued to impress in front of goal. The Albanian striker was rewarded for his previous performances with a new contract on July 18th, which will see him continue his stay at Stamford Bridge until June 2026.

The Blues went on to score again four minutes later, with Ike Ugbo’s close range finish being enough to seal the victory for the London club.

August 1st 2021: Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea (Mind Series)

Next up for the Champions of Europe was a trip to the Emirates, where the Blues took on Arsenal in the first game of the ‘Mind Series’.

Against their London rivals, Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea reverted to more favourable starting eleven, which featured the likes of Kai Havertz and Timo Werner. The German blended his regulars with a slight mix of youth, as Trevoh Chalobah, Malang Sarr and Dujon Sterling all made appearances in the game.

The Blues took control in the first half and entered the half-time break with a 1-0 lead thanks to a clinical finish from Kai Havertz.

After making various changes in the second half, Arsenal began to grow into the game. The Gunners eventually equalised on the 69th minute through Granit Xhaka.

However, just three minutes later, substitute Tammy Abraham was able to capitalise on a Héctor Bellerín mistake to fire the Blue’s back ahead.

Just as he did in 2019, Abraham won Chelsea the game at the Emirates with the score-line finishing 2-1.

August 4th 2021: Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur (Mind Series)

Three days later, Chelsea was back at a full-capacity Stamford Bridge to take on Spurs, where they showcased the Champions League trophy for the first time since winning it.

Just as they did against Arsenal, the Blues took a strong lead into the break. Hakim Ziyech was the scorer, as he proves to excel and build on his strong pre-season performances.

Just four minutes into the second half, the Moroccan was on target again.

Tuchel went on to heavily rotate his side in the second half, with history repeating itself as Spurs went on to score and eventually equalise against the Blues.

Both Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn made their way onto the scoresheet for the visitors, with the game finishing all square at the Bridge.

What’s Next?

Next up for the Blues is a trip to Belfast on Wednesday, as Chelsea takes on Villarreal in the Super Cup final.

Tuchel’s side will then face Crystal Palace on the following Saturday, before playing Weymouth in a behind-closed-doors friendly on the Sunday.

The game was scheduled to benefit the players that will fail to feature in the team’s Premier League opener.

Tuchel currently has a squad of 42 players which needs trimming and across the next few weeks, we should expect to see exactly that.


Written by Ryan Bellenie (@BellenieSport).

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