Chelsea fell to Kawasaki Frontale as preseason preparations continue in Japan.
Chelsea continued preseason preparations with a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Japanese side Kawasaki Frontale.
The Blues came into the game having already played two matches in preseason. The first was a lackadaisical draw against Bohemians in Frank Lampard's first game in charge, before they ran out 4-0 winners in their second game against St Patrick's Athletic.
Lampard's side began the game in sloppy fashion, conceding early chances to Kawasaki Frontale and although Chelsea regained control of possession, it did little to break down the J-League champions.
Lampard opted for a 4-3-3 formation, with Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic operating slightly deeper than the adventurous Mason Mount. The midfield three worked hard in the first half, though opportunities were given to Tiemoue Bakayoko and Danny Drinkwater in the second half.
They lacked a cutting edge though, despite Christian Pulisic's introduction - and were punished a few minutes from time when Leandro Damiao nodded in at the back post to condemn the Blues to defeat.
Here's a review of the action.
Key Talking Point
Lampard will have a lot to discuss with his coaching staff and his players after this performance. Admittedly, Kawasaki are in the middle of its season and this was evident by its fitness and the nature of its play. However, there were a number of individual mistakes that provided opportunities to the Japanese outfit.
The choice of formation will be the key talking point for Chelsea fans, with Jorginho appearing to enjoy himself in a more advanced role alongside Kovacic. At the tip of the three, Mount was influential - and provided the frontline with many opportunities.
The link-up play between Michy Batshuayi and Mount was of particular significance, with an early understanding there for all to see. Kenedy was also given an opportunity to impress, but he was disappointing in the final third despite drifting in from the wing and taking up good positions.
Starting XI: Caballero (7); Azpilicueta (6), Zouma (4), David Luiz (6), Alonso (5); Jorginho (6), Kovačić (6), Mount (7); Kenedy (6), Batshuayi (7), Pedro (6)
Substitutes: Zappacosta (6), Christensen (5), Emerson (6), Drinkwater (6), Barkley (8*), Pulisic (6), Palmer (5), Bakayoko (5), Giroud (6)
There is still much to work on for Lampard's side, but the new head coach can be excited by certain performers.
Most notably, Ross Barkley was outstanding in the second half. The Englishman came on with a point to prove, and he did exactly that – playing two wonderful passes for Kenedy, who unfortunately spurned the chances.
The Brazilian started off sluggishly in the opening 20 minutes, but warmed to the game with constant movement and direct running.
Another notable performance was that of Mount. The young Englishman operated higher up the field and was picking up nice pockets of space. He and Batshuayi combined well, and the Belgian was able to use these intricate passes to carve out some opportunities for himself.
Chelsea will look to improve upon this performance when facing Barcelona in four days. The Blues have already played three games, and have four more before they commence the 2019/20 Premier League season against bitter rivals Manchester United.