Match Report: Barclays Asia Trophy Back At The Bridge

Posted: July 30, 2011 by callummaclean in Chelsea, Match Report, Pre-season, Torres

Chelsea’s first real test of pre-season against Aston Villa got off to a great start, with José Bosingwa putting through Nicolas Anelka, who outmuscled Richard Dunne had his shot parried by Shay Given into Florent Malouda who thought he’d scored. Given saved again though, but only into the path of Josh McEachran, who scored his first senior Chelsea goal after only 32 seconds, sticking the ball into the roof of the net.

Two minutes later, once Aston Villa had got over the initial shock of conceding an early goal had to have a stoppage as Stephen Warnock had some eye trouble. On five minutes, Lampard, who won player of the tournament, had a go, which bobbled wide. With a massive following in Asia, Chelsea were certainly the fans favourite, who continued to press with through balls making Dunne run more than he wanted to, having to cover his other defenders.

Villa had a chance of getting back in the game 10 minutes in with a half chance which Stephen Ireland blazed over. The fans thought Anelka had scored in the 13th minute, but he was deemed marginally offside, the wrong decision by the linesman. Another stoppage at 17 minutes as Mark Albrighton took a knock after contending a header with Yuri Zhirkov.

After a slow few minutes, Daniel Sturridge fired a shot high and wide in the 21st minute. More action, as John Obi Mikel latched onto an Anelka ball, but he was offside following a Frank Lampard free-kick halfway through the first half. The first booking of the game went to Albrighton as he chopped down Zhirkov. The following free-kick was punched away by Given. Zhirkov was amongst the action again, after his corner came out to Malouda, whose volley was way off-target.

Throughout the game, it was obvious that Chelsea were playing for each other, passing well and looking to whoever had the best opportunity to get the ball in the back of the net. Bosingwa also, was looking lively and getting up the pitch at every opportunity. That passing play put Anelka through to force a Shay Given save in the 36th minute. There was nothing of note in the final moments of the first half, and the one added minute rounded off a good half for Chelsea.

After a half time substitution each, the second half didn’t start nearly as quickly as the first. Zhirkov was in the wars, taking a knock after falling into James Collins. Aston Villa had the first chance of the second half, with a corner coming out to Stiliyan Petrov, who volleyed it wide. There was a scare a couple of minutes afterwards, as an Alex back pass caused the ball to bobble awkwardly over Petr Čech’s foot, making him dash back to goal in order to retrieve it. Up the other end of the pitch at 55 minutes, Zhirkov forced a save with a left footed effort.

Lampard had an opportunity to be on the score sheet, with a header at Given which should have troubled him more, though Sturridge shot the rebound wildly over the bar from only a few yards out. After three Chelsea substitutions at 57 minutes, fans were given the opportunity to see Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba together for the first time in pre-season. With Torres’ first touch he scored, getting onto a ball through from Malouda, making it 2-0, and setting Chelsea on their way to their second Barclays Asia Trophy. Four minutes later, Patrick Van Aanholt had a good effort that just went wide.

When Darren Bent came on after 61 minutes, Chelsea’s defence were given a little more to deal with. After Torres’ goal, he tried to get on the end of anything he could, showing an improvement in confidence, with two shooting opportunities in as many minutes. On 78 minutes, Yossi Benayoun had an effort after a Lampard corner that went wide. A minute later, Bent, under pressure from Alex stuck the ball wide when he should of at least got it on target. As the game came to a close, players were losing their footing on the cut up pitch.

Emile Heskey then tried to test the Chelsea goal with an effort from outside the box which just went past the post five minutes from the end of normal time. Towards the end of the game, Drogba tried to play through Torres, which many Chelsea fans will hope to see during next season. With three minutes added on, there was nothing to play for, though Malouda got himself in the book at the end of stoppage time for a foul on Jean Makoun, and Lampard was announced as the player of the tournament.

The resulting free-kick led to the final whistle, Chelsea winning the Barclays Asia Trophy after a comfortable 2-0 win. Had it not been for Shay Given in goal, it could’ve been more. The next game is at Rangers on Saturday 6th August at 15:00 BST.

Chelsea: Čech; Bosingwa, Ivanovic (Alex h-t), Terry (c) (Chalobah 89), Zhirkov (Van Aanholt 57); McEachran (Drogba 57), Mikel, Lampard (Kalou 84); Sturridge (Drogba 57), Anelka (Benayoun 73), Malouda.

Aston Villa: Given;Young, Dunne (Clark 83), Collins, Warnock; Albrighton (Heskey h-t), Delph (Makoun 73), Petrov (c) (Gardner 73), Ireland (Bent 61), Delfouneso (Bannan 61); Agbonlahor.

Referee – Mike Dean

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