Wednesday, July 27, 2011



Summary Chelsea will play Aston Villa in Saturday's final of the Barclays Asia Trophy. Frank Lampard opened the scoring for the second game in a row, this time from the penalty spot. Chelsea should have been awarded another spot kick in the first half but were handed a second goal shortly after the interval, 'own-goal' continuing as the pre-season top scorer having now contributed three times.
Didier Drogba headed in a third goal and Daniel Sturridge struck a peach to equal the scoring of the previous game. Unlike in Bangkok, none of the Chelsea keepers fielded had a save to make. Salomon Kalou and Fernando Torres both hit woodwork.
It was a very comfortable win against the Hong Kong league champions. The team chosen by Andre Villas-Boas showed the preparations are still very much about equal minutes of playing time for most in the squad.
Best moment
Yossi Benayoun's craft that had two defenders chasing his shadow, one of them fouling inside the area to set Chelsea on our way in this game. The Israel captain is enjoying an influential pre-season.

Team news
The majority of the side was the one that played the last half hour of the previous game in Thailand. Ross Turnbull, not involved that day, started. John Terry and Lampard, who did begin the game in Bangkok were also in the initial 11. The formation was a new one for pre-season starting line up, a 4-2-3-1 with Lampard and Yury Zhirkov deeper but pushing forward in turn. Most of the substitutions took place around the hour mark.
Spanish-coached Kitchee had five Spaniards in their side, three in defence, but their Hong Kong internationals were limited to short spells because of imminent duty for that team.
First half
Kitchee were fairly lively in the early minutes although the first shot was by Zhirkov, volleying wide with a difficult chance. Lampard had a ninth-minute dig towards the same bottom corner he found in the previous match but the keeper got down to save two-handed.
Chelsea, wearing the new black and blue away kit for the first time, began to take control. Lampard, ignoring the obvious pass, spotted Malouda unmarked but he too volleyed wide.
On 16 minutes came a genuine chance. Drogba initially didn't gather Benayoun's pass out wide but when he caught up, the Ivorian struck a peach of a cross to his compatriot. Kalou's header was firm enough but it bounced off the turf and up onto the crossbar. Unlucky.
Kitchee keeper Wang Zhenpeng was in turn lucky to get away with a scuffed kick a few minutes later.
Drogba was enjoying himself when moving out of the centre towards the right. He turned the Kitchee defence inside out before laying inside a pass for Lampard to shoot, a pink-shirted defender blocking.
On 34 minutes the penalty was won and it was all of Benayoun's making. Turning beautifully inside one defender with his first touch on a Ferreira pass, the Israeli who was playing in the middle behind Drogba, was tripped as he went by a second Kitchee player.
Lampard's penalty strike was low and down the middle, his second goal of the pre-season programme.

Drogba could have added a second very soon after but headed across the goal instead of at it, and he was certainly on target on 41 minutes with a 30-yard free-kick that the keeper made a meal of keeping out, but did.
There was a rare attack from the Hong Kong champions a minute later but Huang Yang's ambitious lob was too high to force the backpeddling Turnbull to save.
Chelsea were soon up the other end and Malouda chased a seemingly lost cause and took the ball past the keeper, only for a defender to clear off the line with what looked suspiciously like his elbow.
Second half
Drogba struck a 49th minute free kick onto the roof of the net and moments later played a big part in Chelsea's second, frightening Kitchee captain Ubay Luzardo into shinning Malouda's cross into his own net by breathing down his neck.
Goal number three was the Drogba-Malouda combination without the aid of any Kitchee player. The Frenchman volleyed a cross that was deflected on its way with the Ivorian, bravely, putting his head in where a defender's boot was to score from close range (pictured top).
Torres, Sturridge and McEachran were all introduced immediately; Ivanovic, Mikel and Hilario following them on soon after.
Ferreira, playing the full 90 minutes, delivered several good balls into the area and would have been hoping to see a low one into the six-yard box turned into the net but Torres hadn't reacted quickly enough.
Sharp however was the word to describe Sturridge's goal, when he took the ball with back to net out on the right and swivelled past one defender before pushing it wide of another, angling a drive past the keeper.

It took a fair save to prevent Kalou adding his name to the scorers, and Torres, like Sturridge before him, hit a free-kick too high.
Then, on the stroke of 90 minutes, Torres hit his best shot of the pre-season but could only watch from 30 yards out as it beat the keeper but not the post.
Aston Villa beat Blackburn 1-0 in the earlier game, Darren Bent the scorer. Chelsea continue to improve and this excellent stadium in Hong Kong will enjoy the final in three days' time.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Turnbull (Hilario 63); Ferreira, Rajkovic (Chalobah 76), Terry (c) (Ivanovic 63), Cole; Lampard (Mikel 63), Zhirkov (McEachran 61); Kalou, Benayoun, Malouda (Sturridge 61); Drogba (Torres 61).
Unused subs Bosingwa, Van Aanholt, Anelka.
Goals Lampard pen 35, Ubay Luzardo o.g 53, Drogba 59, Sturridge 75.
Kitchee (4-5-1): Wang Zhenpang; Dani Guerrero, Fernando Recio, Ubay Luzardo (c), Dani Cancela; Jordi Tarrés (Lo Chi Kwan 21) (Ngan Lok Fung 78), Huang Yang (Lo Kwan Yee 72), Gao Wen (Dean Evans 53), Tsang Kam To (Liu Quankun 85), Liang Zicheng (Chu Siu Kei 58), Roberto Losada (James Ha 82).
Unused subs Lam Ka Wai, Tsang Chi Hau, Chan Man Fai, Chan Ho Fung, Tsang Kin Fong, Leung Ka Hei Robson Augusto, Su Yang.
Referee Mike Dean
Crowd 33,967.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thailand All-Stars 0-4 Chelsea


Having recorded an unconvincing victory over Malaysia XI last time out, Andre Villas-Boas' Chelsea side looked to hammer home their dominance in Bangkok, with a 4-0 victory over the Thailand All-Stars XI.

Goals from Frank Lampard and second half strikes from Jose Bosingwa, Branislav Ivanovic and Florent Malouda sealed a comfortable victory for the Stamford Bridge outfit.

The first half kicked off in sweltering conditions in Thailand’s capital, and Chelsea dominated the early exchanges. In the opening 10 minutes, John Obi Mikel went close from a testing cross, while Bosingwa had a shot well saved by Thai keeper, Pattarakorn Tanganurat.

At the other end, fit-again Petr Cech did well on the rare occasions he was tested, but the visitors soon began to dominate possession and the chances.

Their dominance saw Nicolas Anelka unleash two efforts on goal, both of which were subsequently blocked by the All-Stars. Moments later, the heavily marked Fernando Torres went down under a strong challenge in the penalty area, but the referee waved away Chelsea's penalty protests.

In the 24th minute, captain John Terry had a goal ruled out for offside as Villas-Boas men appeared to go up another gear, and it would only take another 13 minutes for them to find their breakthrough, with Lampard firing home from the edge of the area.

Having made 11 changes against Malaysia XI at the interval, Villas-Boas was content with just one in Bangkok, with Cech being replaced by Hilario, as a tepid performance from Fernando Torres was prolonged into the second 45.

And it wasn't long before the Stamford Bridge side accelerated into a three-goal lead, with a quickfire double within seven minutes of the restart.

Bosingwa, having been denied in the first half, saw his luck change as his 30-yard effort was diverted off the post after a lapse in concentration from the All-Stars' keeper. With the 52nd came Chelsea's third, as a deft exchange of passing between Josh McEachran and Ivanovic saw the Serbian apply the finish.

Nevertheless, Hilario was called into action soon after, as the Portuguese shot stopper showed no signs of pre-season rustiness to deny Chaiman a consolation.

And that flourish from the hosts seemed to spark Chelsea into life. First, Villas-Boas made sweeping changes to refresh the side, with goalscorer Ivanovic one of several players making way, before Chelsea added their fourth.

Mikel, impressing in the middle of the park, found substitute Malouda's darting run with his crosshairs, and the Nigerian's inch-perfect pass allowed the winger to rifle home on 72 minutes.

And Chelsea went close to adding a fifth, when Drogba latched onto a Paulo Ferreira free kick, but was unable to keep his header down, as it drifted over the crossbar.

Starting XI

Chelsea XI: Cech; Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Van Aanholt; McEachran, Mikel, Lampard; Anelka, Torres, Sturridge.

Thailand All-Stars XI: Tanganurat; Iamwiroj, Dos Santos, Florent, Prakopkong; Siaka, Chaiman, Khonchan; Acheampong, Onmo, Kumbe.

Saturday, July 23, 2011



Andre Villas, speaking in Bangkok, has announced that Chelsea has agreed terms with Barcelona for the transfer of Oriol Romeu, a 19-year-old defensive midfielder.
The player has yet to agree personal terms or pass a medical and is currently away with the Spain Under 20 squad which is soon to compete in the World Cup for that age level in Columbia.
'I don't want to speak too much about him because he is not our player,' Villas-Boas added.
'It is a part of the squad in which we are struggling with numbers because of Michael Essien's injury and Oriol is a player with a bright future. He still has to evolve as a player.
'The Barcelona B team had a magnificent year in the Spanish second division, they finished third. Oriol had an injury during the season but he came back late on and was in time to play for the first team. So he is one of the most promising young players in that position and hopefully we can agree personal terms and hopefully he will pass a medical.'
Oriol began with Barcelona's smaller neighbours Espanyol before joining the famous Camp Nou academy in 2004, progressing through the ranks until a reserve team regular playing in Spain's second tier under Luis Enrique.

He made his La Liga debut for the senior Barça side at the end of last season, coming on as a late substitute in a 0-0 draw against Deportivo La Coruna, having also appeared at the beginning of the campaign in a Spanish Supercup loss away at Sevilla.

The 6ft Catalan can also play in central defence and is renowned for his strength and his expansive passing ability.
Villas-Boas also had news on Thibaut Courtois, the 19-year-old goalkeeper who is on the verge of finalising a move from Belgium and is subject to news reports that he is to be loaned out to Atletico Madrid.
'It is also a question of time and of deciding where we think it is better for him to evolve as a player, in Spain or in another country,' the manager reported.
'The Spanish League is an extremely competitive league and Atletico is a great club to be at but it is not decided yet on his future.
'It is still a couple of days until we can confirm agreement between all three parties.'

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chelsea 3-0 Wycombe Videos




Twenty-three Chelsea players experienced their first match action of the pre-season programme as Wycombe Wanderers were beaten at Cobham on Tuesday evening.
Yossi Benayoun, Fernando Torres and 22-year-old centre-back Slobodan Rajkovic, who spent last season on loan at Vitesse Arnhem, found the net in a 'behind-closed-doors' encounter against the League One side. As is frequently the case in the opening match at this stage of the preparations, no Chelsea player was asked to play for longer than 45 minutes.
There was a mixture of senior and younger players in both the first half and second half selections. Hilario began the game in goal and made two straightforward saves in the opening minutes, his busiest period, before Benayoun juggled in the opener with only four minutes on the clock.
The Israeli controlled a dropping ball inside the area and kept it airborne with two further touches, the second over the goalkeeper who tried to claw it back out with a despairing dive but not before it had crossed the line.
Scott Rendell missed a chance for Wycombe after the experienced Gareth Ainsworth played a good ball over the top of the Chelsea defence. It turned out to be the visitors' best opening of the first half.

Benayoun would have added a second goal on 17 minutes had he put more height on his chip after Didier Drogba played him through. Instead keeper Nikki Bull caught and moments later he denied Chelsea again with his legs when Drogba was given a one-on-one chance by Florent Malouda's pass. A mid-season Didier would have scored.
Chelsea were in control and beginning to link up well with passes on the deck. On 29 minutes, John Terry, taking the ball off the toes of Malouda, shot just wide.
The Blues were causing Wycombe problems down their left, with Malouda worming past the full-back on one occasion, and then Jose Bosingwa hitting the inside of the far post when he drilled the ball hard into the box towards Drogba.
At the other end, Van Aanholt defended strongly when Kevin Betsy tried to burst past the Dutch Under 21 international down the flank.
Chelsea won a corner just before the interval when a Malouda shot was deflected just wide and although Drogba rose well to Kakuta's deadball delivery, he powered a header just over.
It was all change for the second half and Chelsea's new keeper, Ross Turnbull was tested early by Kadeem Harris's shot.

Nicolas Anelka was sharp in playing a ball through a small gap on 51 minutes but Torres's first time shot was stopped by Bull who spread himself well, but a minute later the same combination did come up with the goods, the Spaniard sweeping Anelka's pass into the net with aplomb from inside the area to make it 2-0.
The third goal came four minutes later after young midfielder Billy Clifford, back from the knee operation that ended his Youth Cup campaign early last season, played a part in winning a corner. It was delivered from the right by Yury Zhirkov, headed on by Torres, and was sweetly volleyed home by Rajkovic who was playing his first Chelsea game after a series of loans.
Anelka saw his header from another Zhirkov corner headed over on the hour and Cole made one of his famous lung-busting runs forward to take over a move from Anelka and Kalou, but the ball was bundled out of play.

With 20 minutes to go Cole and Torres combined down the left, the England man taking a return pass but shooting wide of the far post, and then when the ball broke well for Anelka moments later, his shot from just inside the area was tipped wide.
Anelka shot wide of his own accord with 10 minutes left on the clock after exchanging passes with Torres, Chelsea's interchange and movement continuing to work well, and five minutes later Kalou deserved a goal after taking a McEachran pass and neatly sidestepping a challenge, only for his curled shot to rebound back off an upright.
Torres was denied another goal on 89 minutes when a defender slid across to block a fierce drive. The striker had been fed by Jacob Mellis who shared the second half with Clifford. That was the last incident of the game.
With goals, a clean sheet and a clean bill of health coming out of the game, an important step in Andre Villas-Boas's build-up to his first season in charge had been made.

Chelsea are next in action on Saturday away to Portsmouth, a game that kicks-off at 3pm and will be screened live and exclusive by Chelsea TV (build-up [2.30pm-3pm] will be free to all Sky Digital customers.)
Chelsea (first-half): Hilario; Bosingwa, Kalas, Terry (c), Van Aanholt; Malouda, Kaby, Mikel, Kakuta; Benayoun, Drogba.
Chelsea (second-half): Turnbull; Ferreira (c), Ivanovic, Rajkovic, Cole; B. Clifford (Mellis 65), McEachran, Zhirkov, Kalou; Anelka, Torres.
Wycombe (first-half): Bull; Foster, Sandell (Dunne), Winfield, Tunnicliffe (Stewart); Halls, Lewis, Betsy; Ainsworth, Grant, Rendell.
Wycombe (second-half): Bull (Arnold), McCoy, Sandell, Johnson, Tunnicliffe; Harris, Donnelly, Bloomfield, McClure (Ibe); Beavon, Strevens.