Archive for the ‘Pre-season’ Category


Here at Chelsea Headache, we love to welcome guest writers to express their thoughts on Chelsea. Today, we have the great opportunity to host the opinions of a certain @ChelseaRumours:

Thursday, 20th September 2007.

This was the day the world woke up to the news, that José Mourinho and Chelsea had parted company. Having won back-to-back titles, the 2nd and 3rd championships in the club’s history, Mourinho had already cemented a special place in Chelsea supporters’ hearts. However, an indifferent start to the 2007/2008 season that culminated in successive home draws against Blackburn Rovers and Rosenborg became the end of Mourinho’s era at Chelsea. It was to become the start of a season of heartbreaks, as we lost the league cup final to Tottenham in extra time, and then the lowest point in recent Chelsea history – losing to United on penalties, after John Terry slipped and hit the post.

Since, we have enjoyed mixed fortunes and under several different managers. Avram Grant took over immediately after José, but was never seen as a long-term solution by anybody. He was fired immediately after Chelsea’s champions league final defeat.

When Scolari was appointed in July 2008, hopes were again high at Stamford Bridge – but some zonal-marking later and we were managerless once again. Guus Hiddink took over, a favour for his old pal Roman Abramovich, and it was public knowledge that he would only be in charge for the rest of season. He did fantastically well in his brief period as manager, and by the end of his reign, many fans were wishing he would stay. A win % of 73 says it all, just one defeat in his 22 games in charge – and as all Chelsea fans will remember, the win percentage would’ve been even higher had a Mr. Øvrebø not decided to forget to put on his contact lenses when we faced Barcelona at the bridge. (Barcelona then played United off the pitch in the final, and that left all Chelsea fans wondering what might’ve been…) Never the less, Hiddink won us the FA Cup and left with his head held high.

Then came Ancelotti – and boy did we turn on the style in 2009/2010! 103 league goals, one FA Cup and one Premier League title later, and we’d won the first double in the club’s history. However, Ancelotti’s reign came to an end after a trophyless 2nd season, where a winter slump essentially cost us the title – we very nearly won it in the 36th round when we faced United at Old Trafford, but they ran out 2-1 winners and more or less secured the title that day. Fans and pundits alike were outraged when the news broke that Carlo had been fired – and looking back at the 2 seasons that have followed, it probably was a big mistake.

André Villas-Boas was the hottest manager name in the game when we appointed him, but some dreadful man-management skills and drastic tactics soon meant that he was unemployed again. His assistant Roberto Di Matteo, already a name known to the Chelsea supporters of course, took over – and we all know what the lead to. FA Cup glory and a Champions League won through shere determination against opponents who had far better players than us saw Roberto being offered a 2-year contract, which he signed. However, people were already saying that he was just a short-term solution before Abramovich could get his preferred manager in: Pep Guardiola. It proved to be a very short term solution, as we crashed out of the Champions League in the group stages and suffered a few poor results in the Premier League… things seemed bleak…

And then Rafa took over. As much as Chelsea fans unite in glory, here they united in rage. Some went as far as to saying that it was the worst possible replacement for a club legend – and many agreed. Results such as 0-1 at home to QPR and throwing away a 2-goal lead at Reading didn’t help Rafa convince the supporters that he was the right man for the job either, however a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford proved to be the turning point in our season – a few good results later, and Champions League participation as well as the Europa League trophy had been secured. Rafa left, and fans were now wondering who would take charge at the Bridge.

We were all hoping.

We were all dreaming.

But when it finally happened, we couldn’t really believe it. José Mourinho, the man who left Stamford Bridge on that Thursday in September 2007 had returned.

“I had in my career two great passions, Inter and Chelsea, and Chelsea is more than important for me. It was very, very hard to play against Chelsea and I did it only twice which was not so bad so now I promise exactly the same things I promised in 2004, with this difference which is I’m one of you.” – José Mourinho’s first interview during his second reign as Chelsea manager.

In many ways, Mourinho put more effort into this interview than he needed – he had us at ”I’m very happy.” – he’d continue his winning form at Chelsea by winning 2 italian titles with Inter as well as the Champions League, before winning the Copa del Rey and La Liga with Real Madrid. We’ve never doubted his managerial skills, and when Chelsea finally announced his return, my Twitter timeline exploded with happy tweets… After such a season with a manager like Benitez, it’s difficult to remember the last time we’ve all been this happy. (19/05/12)

Furthermore, Mourinho has stated that he’s in it for the long haul this time around. He says he’s much more mature, ready for a different kind of long-term project, where his previous clubs have mostly been about achieving immediate success – which, granted, he has done.

This new project includes establishing a confidence in the young players we have in our squad, a confidence that will see them achieve great things – which talents like Oscar, Eden Hazard and Lukaku as well as our youth players (Chalobah, Baker, Piazon, Aké and Loftus-Cheek spring to mind) are destined for. We might not see immediate success, but at the same time we are only one or two additions away from having a squad that is ready to challenge at the highest level – and I’m sure Mourinho has some players in mind.

Some of the big dilemmas he’ll face though, is whether to keep the likes of Petr Cech and Frank Lampard in our first XI, or whether to replace them with the huge talents that are Thibaut Courtois and Kevin De Bruyne. While it is always hard enough to just say goodbye to legends like these, they might also be an important part of Mourinho’s plans in terms of the balance of experience and young talent – and it is no secret that these two as well as Terry and Ashley Cole are great friends with Mourinho, and could be vital for him to obtain a ”daddy” status (as Essien has labelled him) for some of our newer additions to the squad who aren’t familiar with José and his training methods.

Additionally there is the question of whether we need to sign another striker, with a big money move for Edinson Cavani being discussed. Romelu Lukaku has publically stated that he’d prefer to be loaned out if we do sign Cavani, as he fears he wouldn’t play frequently. Admittedly at his age, minutes on the pitch are a necessity, and Mourinho must decide if he trusts him to be our first choice striker (or whether Demba Ba or Fernando Torres are good enough for that!)

With André Schürrle all but one foot in Chelsea, maybe Mourinho will think of that as enough goal-scoring talent in the squad, with the likes of Juan Mata and Eden Hazard regularly hitting the back of the net – not to mention our defence who scored 27 goals this season, a quite spectacular amount of goals!

Mourinho will have many tasks to face as Chelsea manager, but he is up for the challenge – in fact he stated in his first interview that ”he wishes they’d start tomorrow.” while recognising the fact that the players obviously need a holiday. He’s determined, he’s got a plan and he’s at home here, so why shouldn’t it work out? It will most likely be a different story, but he has already said that himself as well – this is a new project, hopefully a long term one. Ultimately, this is what all Chelsea fans wanted to hear, many have screamed out for stability since Mourinho’s first reign as Chelsea manager, and is there anyone we’d rather have in charge of a long-term project Chelsea than The Special One? I doubt it.

He is one of us.

*This post was written a week or so ago so some topics such as Schürrle signing have now developed


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



As always, it’s a pleasure to hear views from fellow Chelsea fans. Today, we interview Chelsea Blogger, ‘The Chelsea Chat’, as he shares his views on keeping Hilario, using Sturridge, benching McEachran and our right flank.




Chelsea Headache: Hello The Chelsea Chat. Thank you very much for your time today as we look forward to hearing some of your thoughts and feelings on Chelsea.

First up, what is your view on our transfer dealings (or lack of) so far in this transfer window? Do you think we really need to be going out for a player like Pastore or Modric when they could be costing in excess of £30m?

The Chelsea Chat: I am happy with the current dealings in the transfer market at the moment. Both Courtois and Romeu look like great signings for the future and it’s great to see Villas-Boas focusing on the youth so much. I do think we need a creative player like Pastore or Modric, but whether they would be worth the money is yet to be seen. I would definitely prefer Modric though; a proven performer at Premier league level. Whereas Pastore looks like he could be too small and weak for English football. I also believe Yossi Benayoun should deserve a go, and with the pre season he’s having, maybe we don’t need a creative player bought.

Chelsea Headache: Some people were shocked, and even angered, by Hilario being rewarded with a contract extension recently. Do you think his collection of stunning saves against the Thailand All Stars has justified why Chelsea did such a thing?

The Chelsea Chat: I didn’t actually catch the Thailand All Stars match myself, but I’ve long been an admirer of the way Hilario has stayed at Chelsea for these years, happy to warm the bench, but reliable and calm when he is needed on the pitch. Yes, he made one error against Man City in the 4-2 loss in 2010, but apart from that he’s been solid, and as we know from many an example, 35 is not old for a keeper. Turnbull doesn’t match up to the standard of Hilario, and has always looked nervous when playing for us. I’m happy to have Hilario stay.

Chelsea Headache: Sturridge impressed a lot of people against Kitchee the other day. Andre Villas-Boas will be all too familiar with his situation at Chelsea and what he’s capable of in the long run. Could this season be his chance to shine in the first team?

The Chelsea Chat: Sturridge is clearly a player with immense talent, which has been brought to the public’s eye with the loan spell at Bolton, and the under-21 European Championships. Villas-Boas has looked like he’s going to focus on youth much more than any of the recent Chelsea managers, which should be good for Sturridge. I believe he should get a lot of games in the first team this year, if Villas-Boas rotates the squad correctly. He is being played in the right position of an inside forward on the wings, which is where he flourishes and he should be a star this season, if he gets the right amount of game time.

Chelsea Headache: Everything has a weakness. Where do you believe Chelsea’s to be? Many believe our right flank to be a bit understrength. Do you agree?

The Chelsea Chat: The right flank isn’t weak, but it is just has a lot less width than the left one. With Ashley Cole and Malouda being very much a wing-back and winger combination. On the right we use Ivanovic and Anelka, Kalou or Sturridge, which is a full-back and inside forward relationship which cuts down on the width, hence the less chances created from the right side of the field. The main weakness on the pitch in my opinion is the lack of a genuine playmaker, with Benayoun being inconsistent in recent seasons for Liverpool. I also believe we could use another defensive midfielder due to Essien’s injury, and the doubt in his long term future at the club.

Chelsea Headache: Recent rumours have been linking Scott Dann with a move to the Bridge. Yes, he’s an English player but with the likes of Ivanovic, Terry, Luiz and Alex all challenging at centre back, surely this is just a rumour and nothing else? What’s more Chalobah will be looking to get some first team game time this season after a nice few run-outs in pre-season. What are your thoughts on this rumour?

The Chelsea Chat: True, there is already a lot of competition at centre back at the club, but this competition is reduced with Ivanovic playing at right back, if he does stay on the flank, I think another centre back would be useful, and Dann is a good player, but the young centre half Rajkovic has shown promise, and if he gets his work permit there will be no need to buy Dann. Chalobah has shown promise, but a loan would be the right move for him at the moment, he is still about a year away from the first team.

Chelsea Headache: It’s always nice to see a player coming through the ranks from the system at Chelsea. McEachran has had a good pre-season and will be pushing for first team action. There are mixed views on whether he should be going out on loan for a season or remaining with the Chelsea squad. If you were Andre Villas-Boas, what would you do with the little English maestro?

The Chelsea Chat: If I were Villas-Boas, I would have McEachran on the bench, with Benayoun, or another creative playmaker signing, mentoring him, showing him the way forward, and having him start the odd league cup, midweek fixture and champions league game, this should help him advance and make sure the team is at the right strength next year.

Chelsea Headache: And now to close. Where will Chelsea finish next season?

The Chelsea Chat: Honestly I believe we will win it. Manchester United aren’t as strong as everyone thinks; they benefited from everyone else being fairly poor last season, City are still a bit behind the pace still, and I don’t believe anyone else has the strength to challenge.

Chelsea Headache: Sounds good to me! Thanks again and I think I speak for a lot of Chelsea fans when I say, I hope you’re right.


You can follow @thechelseachat on Twitter.

The fourth and final part of my Chelsea squad assessment will see me look at the state of our attack and then briefly summarise the entire squad. You can see all other assessments here:




Didier Drogba:

Still our main man. He suffered with malaria throughout last season and as a result his goal tally was lower than usual. However, he came back strongly towards the end of last season and when the chips were down, not to mention a £50m striker in his position, he proved to everyone he is still number one. No defender wants to play against him; he is strong, powerful, energetic and technically gifted. Drogba started his top flight playing days relatively late at 23 years old and I feel as a result has longer left in him than people think. He is the only player in the squad who can take a set piece, but he’s the one player who we want on the end of them! Can he be cloned?

Rating: 8.5/10

Fernando Torres:

This is difficult to assess. Towards the end of last season I lost faith in him. He was feeling sorry for himself and it looked like his effort was waning. However, he has looked sharper this pre-season, albeit without a goal. The summer rest should do him no harm and we have to remember how good he was. I don’t buy the ‘he got no service’ argument – yesterday’s article would claim the contrary. What I do believe is that he maybe isn’t 100% suited to our current style and is taking time to adjust. Am I confident he will fire them in this season? No, but I am hopeful. I think a marquee signing this summer might take some pressure away from him also. He seems to be making the right runs again but is just let down slightly by a mixture of his touch and luck – which I’m not worried about because both will improve with games. He needs two goals in two games consecutively and he will be a 9/10 again.

Rating: 6/10

Nicolas Anelka:

A genius on the pitch. Nico is as graceful as a swan when he is on the ball. He rarely loses possession and if he is given a chance he is likely to find the net. He gets a hard time for dropping deep and slowing the game down, which I agree he does do. However, let’s remember he is a striker – not a winger, he never will be either. If we stuck Nico up front all season he will score close to 30 goals – put him on the wing and he won’t be entirely natural there and as a result the team concedes it’s shape and an outlet on the right. Many people have been calling for his exit this summer but unless he is going to be replaced with a world class winger I think those calls should fall on deaf ears. He is an experienced and proven goalscorer who is helping the team out by playing out of position. World class centre forward but unfortunately I’m rating him as a stop-gap winger.

Rating: 6.5/10

Salomon Kalou:

And we thought Mikel was an enigma?! Sala, Sala, Sala – what can I say that hasn’t already been said. Yes he’s frustrating, yes he lacks decision making nous, yes he loses the ball a lot… now I’ve finished picking his bad points; let’s see what he has to offer Chelsea. Goals, important goals at that, dribbling ability (about the only squad member with that talent right now), speed, width and the right attitude. While he’ll never be a world beater, he offers our team good depth and cover. He scored 10 league goals from the wing last season – that is unlikely to be beaten by a back-up winger in any league. Another one who people want out, and for the aforementioned reasons, I disagree.

Rating: 6.5/10

Florent Malouda:

All I can say is let’s hope it stays sunny all season because Flo seems to hibernate during the winter months. He was the best player in the Premiership from August to October and again one of the best from April through May. Not sure where he was from November to March, although that can be said of a lot of Chelsea players last season. He was our top scorer last season in the league with 13 goals and with the right shape he will flourish once again. A game changing player on his day – he just needs more days.

Rating: 7.5/10

Daniel Sturridge:

Well hasn’t this boy got a thing or two to prove, and isn’t he doing just that. Along with Yossi he has been our shining light this pre-season so far. He’s young, home grown, fast, a natural goalscorer and most of all he’s hungry. Come on AVB, trust him! He is showing such determination to get into the Chelsea side and I know this is slightly contradicting what I said about Anelka, but play Studge on the right wing. I know he’s a natural centre forward but he shows plenty of ability to play the wing too. Let him build up a year or two’s experience of playing regularly there before he’s ready to take up the central role. He can also play centrally from time to time this season in certain games I’m sure. If given the opportunity, he’s the one to watch this season.

Rating: 7/10

Overall rating of Attacking Positions: 7/10

Again I must stress that this rating is a CURRENT rating. 7/10 may seem harsh but it has potential to be a 9/10 by Christmas if Torres re-finds his form and Sturridge is trusted. It will be interesting to see what happens formation-wise, will it be Drogba or Torres, or even both? AVB has some very difficult decisions to make over the next few weeks but I trust they will be the right ones. Overall, I’m very happy not only with the striking options we have but with the squad overall.

I don’t think we NEED to sign anyone to win the league next season, although if I was pushed it would be a winger who can dribble and cross. Sanchez is gone, Neymar is gone – let’s make a move for Afellay or Mata. If the right players aren’t available then we shouldn’t buy the wrong ones who will hinder the chances of our own young stars.

My first choice Chelsea XI (as of 28/7/2011):

I would involve Benayoun and Torres a lot also. This team is in terms of form and this can obviously change. For those of you panicking, look at what we have in reserve:

Hilario, Bosingwa, Ferriera, Bertrand, Van Aanholt, Mikel, Essien, Benayoun, Kalou, Anelka, Torres (not forgetting the imminent arrival of Romeu and I believe one BIG signing).

I hope that any worriers may be happier having seen the talent at our disposal. We have every position heavily covered and we’re being marshalled by, what I think, is going to be the best tactician on the planet (if he isn’t already). So chins up, buckle in and enjoy the ride this season. In Andre we trust. KTBFFH!

Agree/Disagree? Please comment below or let me know @fattyfoulke


Article by Derek O’Rourke

Follow me on Twitter: @fattyfoulke

Daniel Sturridge was amongst the goalscorers as Chelsea beat Kitchee in the semi-final of the Barclays Asia Trophy at the Hong Kong stadium.

Early proceedings were slow yet controlled by Chelsea, and in the first 10 minutes there were only two instances to note, Yuri Zhirkov volleying wide and Slobodan Rajković making a hash of a clearance. For the first half, Chelsea mainly focussed on keeping possession rather than surging forward everytime they got the ball. 16 minutes into the game, and a brilliant Didier Drogba cross was met by Salomon Kalou, who headed into the ground before the ball bounced up onto the bar, followed by Yossi Benayoun attempting a bicycle kick into his own face. Once Kitchee’s first substitution was made, the tempo did slow down, though Chelsea remained the dominant side.

Kitchee’s tactics of defending in numbers kept the score at 0-0. Kalou almost lobbed the ‘keeper Wang Zhenpang with a cross/shot in the 34th minute. Though in the 36th minute, Benayoun was brought down inside the box, with Lampard slotting the resulting penalty down the middle to make it 1-0.

Almost immediately after, Chelsea could’ve doubled their lead but Drogba headed across goal instead of at it and Kitchee were let off the hook. Drogba caused more trouble for the opponents on 43 minutes with a free-kick that forced Zhenpang into making an awkward diving save. Turnbull had very little to do in the first half, and when he did, he was almost caught out with a lobbed shot that ended up going over the bar.

To finish off the half, controversy, as Florent Malouda, as played through from a through ball from John Terry had a shot saved off the line by a defender with his arm, which would’ve resulted in another penalty and a sending off this time for sure.

With only one Kitchee sub at half-time, Chelsea players had more time to impress new boss Andre Villas-Boas. Zhirkov may have been a bit too keen though, as his wanting to impress landed his name in the book by referee Phil Dowd. After Kalou was fouled by Dani Cancela on the edge of the box after 48 minutes, Drogba fired onto the top of the net. A minute later, a Malouda cross was bundled into his own net by defender Ubay Luzardo.

After the second goal, Kitchee tried to press a bit more, but as soon as Chelsea got the ball back each time, normal service resumed. The only time they ventured upfield was around the 52nd minute, but the ball was ran out of play for a throw in. Malouda got another assist on 60 minutes, when his cross was met by a brave diving header by Didier Drogba, who was immediately substituted as Chelsea made six changes in two minutes. One of the biggest cheers of the night came when record signing Fernando Torres came on. As John Terry came off, the captain’s armband was given to Ashley Cole. The first substitute to make an impression was John Obi Mikel with a header from a Benayoun cross that went wide.

The next man to try and make a mark on the game was Daniel Sturridge, his first effort going well wide. However, after a free-kick that went over the bar, on the 77th minute, following lovely footwork he beat the ‘keeper at his near post and got the fourth and final goal. Benayoun won man of the match for his efforts.

Late in the game, even though 4-0 up, players were still looking to impress and put pressure on their opponents. Torres, in the 87th minute had a go with a free-kick, which flew over the bar. Though he improved, as the game reached the end, with a turn and shot hitting the post from a good 20 yards out. With an uneventful final two minutes of stoppage time, Chelsea finished the game like they had for the majority of the game, in possession. Another win, another clean sheet and no more injuries, which should please Andre Villas-Boas and Chelsea fans alike. Chelsea’s next game is against Aston Villa on Saturday 30th July at 13:30 BST.

Attendance – 33,900

Chelsea – Turnbull (Hilario 63); Ferreira, Rajković (Chalobah 76), Terry (c) (Ivanovic 63), Cole; Lampard (Mikel 63), Zhirkov (McEachran 61); Kalou, Benayoun, Malouda (Sturridge 61); Drogba (Torres 61).

Kitchee – 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).

Referee – Phil Dowd


Match report written by Callum Maclean. You can follow Callum on Twitter @callummaclean91