Archive for the ‘Torres’ Category

The Fernando Torres Disorder

Posted: September 6, 2012 by aidansweeney in Chelsea, Torres
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Before I start, I would just like to clarify that I am a fan of Torres, not quite what I used to be like but more importantly I support Chelsea. I want what’s best for the club, not Fernando Torres or any other player at the club. I really want Torres to succeed and be amazing but it just isn’t going to happen.

When Chelsea announced that Fernando Torres had been signed, I couldn’t contain my excitement. Torres was a player who I had often wished was playing for us instead of against us. I was so delighted that I went and paid £15 to have his name and number on the back of my shirt. He was already a hero in my eyes and I think that is why it has taken me so long to realise that he will never shine at Chelsea.

He will never ‘be back’, he will never singlehandedly ruin teams like Robin van Persie or Falcao would, he will continue to look out of place and feed off the magic of those around him. I struggle to recall a game in a Chelsea shirt where Torres has actually looked like part of the team. In my eyes he sticks out like a sore thumb. Of course this is a Chelsea team ‘in transition’ for those of you who want to give excuses for the terrible cohesion throughout the team but even when it does click, it is through Eden Hazard, who looks every bit worth the £32M he signed for, unlike £50M Fernando Torres. For so long I ignored the poor first touch, the clear lack of pace and the pretty poor movement. He gets it right, occasionally but nowhere near enough for a £50M striker. It is of course only a handful of games into the season and Torres probably will stagger his way to 20 goals this season in all competitions but who wouldn’t with Hazard, Mata and Oscar behind them?

To those Chelsea fans who are still convinced he’s the best thing ever to happen to the club, you’ll realise soon. You’ll notice how he often hides behind defenders or how his touch is often about five yards in front of himself but he’s so far away from everyone else he gets away with it. I’m pretty sure he had a moan at the end of last season about not being able to be the main man and the star striker, so why Fernando, now you’ve got your big chance, do I often see you drifting out wide?  I really want Torres to be a success but he’s just a shadow of his former self. He’s obviously never going to get that blistering pace back. I recall the game versus Wigan where he was one on one with a player and at one point was actually a yard ahead of the defender but he turned back inside allowing the defender to catch up? Fernando Torres of three seasons ago would have left him for dead and went and slotted it in. There must be something not quite there mentally; there are obviously doubts in his own mind as well as he’s nowhere near as confident as he used to be. His goal against Newcastle was impressive but I lost count how many times I found myself ‘MOVE TORRES’ at him during that game. Hazard would be dancing round players down the wing yet Torres would be stationary on the corner of the box. Is it hard to make a near post run?

You might be wondering why this article is titled ‘The Fernando Torres Disorder’, well it’s because of how many Chelsea fans are still adamant that he’s going to set the world alight. I want it to happen too but it just isn’t going to happen. What sort of player moans about the club who pay him £175,000 a week, the day after he’s just won the Champions League? Torres can do no wrong according to a section of the Chelsea support and it’s sad to see. I’m pretty sure there are fans out there that would be happy if Torres scored but Chelsea lost. It does make me laugh when Torres does score and all his fan boys/girls say things like ‘that will shut the haters up’…they aren’t haters, they are people who want the best for Chelsea. I used to be part of this deluded gang but they need to wake up. I would swap him for Falcao any day of the week.

To his credit, there have been times where he’s look decent but let’s consider the opposition in those games. He scored a hat trick against QPR. A QPR defence including Anton Ferdinand who quite understandably must of wanted to get those 90 minutes over and done with. He scored two against Leicester, a Championship team. He scored two for Spain against Ireland. He scored that goal versus Barcelona where he did show good composure but the game was already dead. That goal away against Manchester United was a very well taken finish but we all know what happened a few minutes later after he rounded De Gea.

Torres’ goal versus Reading was the first goal he’s scored for Chelsea that has actually changed the outcome of the game/tie. Only 20 months after the club spent £50M on him…Shambolic.

You can abuse me on Twitter here: @aidansweeney_

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Ecstasy and the Cesspool

Posted: August 29, 2012 by GaryCRobertson in Attack, Barcelona, Champions' League, Chelsea, Essien, Rants, Torres
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Pain is a horrible thing.

Moscow 2008. Pain.

Torres at some points last season. Pain.

Essien’s recurring injury problems. Pain.

But with pain arises progress.

We won the Champions League. We are Champions of Europe. Say it again to yourself, it’s true. Nobody can take that away from you. It’s not an opinion, it’s a fact.

Torres is trying harder than ever during games and seems to be on the brink of recapturing his old form.

Essien, well, it may not be as positive for him at the moment but I’d still love to think that he could regain match fitness and become a crucial part of the team regardless of how difficult that could turn out to be.

I think some of the players at Chelsea may have realised that if they work hard, it will pay off…eventually.

Maybe it was destiny that we won the Champions League but there is still a lot of preparation and training to endure to beat teams like Barcelona and Bayern Munich, in their own back garden.

I still struggle to grasp the fact that we are indeed Champions of Europe. Maybe one day it will hit me fully when I least expect it?

There are bigger things to come as well. Hazard, Marin, Oscar, Moses. Signings that heavily indicate attacking football. Parking the bus may become a thing of the past, even though it is extremely successful if utilised in the correct way.

Things may be going well now. 9 points out of 9 and slick football to name a few positives but they won’t always be this way, as many of you will already know.

What is my point in all this?

My point is this: there are folks out there who are quick to judge, quick to accuse, quick to point the finger, and quite frankly it’s disgusting. Are you a fan or a supporter?

It is important not to be drawn into constant negativity towards the club when things on the pitch may go a bit off the tracks. Because the chances are, things will pick up again (unless you’re Liverpool, maybe). Booing your own players will achieve nothing.
In general though, things are looking excellent, there is plenty to look forward to. Just be wary and watchful. Keep the faith.

Another season, another new manager at Chelsea but just how much have things changed? It’s quite clear from who Chelsea have signed in the transfer market that the defensive style of football we saw at the end of last season, will not be seen again this season as Roberto Di Matteo tries to put together a Chelsea team that will play the ‘sexy football’ that owner Roman Abramovich has apparently always craved. What can we expect from this current Chelsea side though? Seeing as Di Matteo isn’t quite set on his strongest starting XI, here is who I believe should be in Chelsea’s starting XI;

Petr Cech: Untouchable. Heroic performances throughout last season’s Champions League campaign showed the world that he is still one of the best goalkeepers in the world. I’m pretty certain that Cech will be Chelsea’s no.1 for many seasons to come.

Cesar Azpilicueta: I can’t say I know much about ‘Dave’ as he has been nicknamed by some Chelsea supporters but he wouldn’t have been signed unless he was going to be the first choice right back at the club. Despite Ivanovic starting the season strongly, he defensively remains quite poor and struggles to move the ball quickly which will no doubt be a key figure in how Chelsea play this season. Let’s just hope Azpilicueta settles quickly like his countryman Juan Mata did.

David Luiz: Mr erratic himself. I like Luiz as a player and a person (judging from his twitter and instagram antics) but he really needs to chill out when he’s playing football. He will be needed to cover in behind John Terry a lot this season but at the moment his positioning is all over the place. I’d feel a lot more comfortable if he relaxed a little bit whilst on the pitch and was always read to slip in behind Terry when we’re being attacked down the left with pace.

John Terry: Whilst Terry certainly is our ‘captain, leader, legend’ it wouldn’t surprise me if Terry’s place in the starting XI came under serious question this season. Firstly, if he receives an 8 game ban like Suarez did and Gary Cahill and Luiz impress, then I think it would be hard for him to dislodge the ever improving Cahill. Whilst Cahill isn’t quite at Terry’s level yet, I think the majority of Chelsea fans have been surprised by just how good Cahill is; certainly looking a steal for the £7M we paid for him. Secondly, Terry has an unfortunate habit of ending up on his arse. His lack of pace is a serious hindrance in my opinion but fortunately for him, the defensive line shouldn’t be too high up, unlike under AVB. Terry is obviously still a great defender and he certainly is ‘Mr Chelsea’ but I think this season will be first where his place comes under serious question.

Ashley Cole: Easily still one of the best left backs who seem to be teaching Ryan Bertrand a thing or do. His place should be safe for this season but the ever improving Bertrand will no doubt provide him with great competition.

Mikel: The first of two defensive midfielders. Whilst still not being a ‘fan favourite’, most fans know that does a great job for the team, most of the time. He does sometimes have the odd game where he seems to hide and the play just passes him by but he’s improved massively under RDM. His performance against Newcastle was a great example of how he shields the defence in a similar way to how Makelele used to do it.

Frank Lampard: Big Frankie Lampard. Another Chelsea legend but how long can he remain a starter? Obviously Lampard can still a decent job in the midfield for Chelsea and despite having the nickname ‘Fat Frank’, he keeps himself in great shape. The signing of £23M Brazilian prodigy Oscar, will further put Lampard’s place under pressure. It’s easy to forget Raul Meireles as well. Meireles’ performance against Newcastle was very impressive, he kept the ball moving quickly which is I imagine what RDM wants from the player who plays in the position. I suspect there will be a lot of rotation in this position throughout the season; hopefully RDM selects the right player for the right game.

Eden Hazard: Three games in and it’s already looking like we’ve got an absolute star on our hands. Whether he will play on the left of the three of in the middle, I’m sure Hazard will destroy most defences in the league. He’s already suffered from some rough treatment but hopefully he’ll be able to cope with it and continue to dazzle us in the fashion he has so far.

Juan Mata: The little Spanish wizard. Whilst not being able to dribble past players like Hazard, Mata remains a key part to our team. He’s looked absolutely exhausted though for the past eight months and I struggle to understand how to club hasn’t found two weeks for him to have a proper break so he can refresh his batteries. No doubt Mata will provide multiple assists against this season, probably from the central position behind Torres and hopefully many assists for Torres himself.

Ramires: I’m not quite sure what Ramires’ best position is. Would it work if he played alongside Mikel? I don’t think so. He put in numerous good performances on the right of the attacking three last season so it wouldn’t surprise me to see him continue there again this season. He may lack that bit of magic in the final third but his energy and occasional dazzling runs are sure to trouble enemy defences. I’m sure Moses, Marin and Oscar will offer something else on the right but I think RDM will use Ramires there for the majority of games.

Fernando Torres: Is he back? He probably will never reach the same heights he reached at Liverpool but he’s certainly looking better. I still find it very frustrating watching him. He often seems to make pointless runs and when it looks like he should be making a near post run or trying to lose his man in the box, he stands still whilst Hazard or Cole runs towards the corner flag with the ball because they have no options. I’m glad he’s looking sharp and scoring goals but there’s still a lot more I feel he could bring to the team. When Luiz or Lampard pick up the ball, Torres should be on the shoulder of the last man, pointing to where he wants the ball, he might not be as fast as he once was but he could still outpace most defenders in the league. I’ve wrote thousands of words in the past discussing Torres and it’s hard not to go into too much detail so it’s best if I just leave it. There is the possibility that Torres gets injured this season and what do Chelsea do then? Is Sturridge good enough to lead the line? It certainly is an issue; I just hope Torres remains fit for the majority of the season.

This season is the first time in many years where Chelsea has a really strong bench. With people like Moses, Marin, Oscar, Sturridge, Meireles, Cahill, Bertrand and Ivanovic on the bench, Chelsea certainly won’t be short of options if they need someone to change the game or step into the side for an extended period of time if someone suffers an injury.

It’s hard to predict where Chelsea will finish this season. If Mata, Hazard and Torres all click then Chelsea’s attack will be arguably the best in the league which they will need as the defence hasn’t looked great, so I believe it will be a case of conceding two but scoring three for Chelsea this season. Will they win the league? Probably not but there will certainly be up there. Will they retain the Champions League? Again probably not but I’m sure they will put up a good fight to hold onto their crown.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @aidansweeney_

Wonderful Times To Be A Chelsea Supporter

Posted: August 27, 2012 by GaryCRobertson in Attack, Chelsea, Random, Strikers, Torres, Transfers, Youth

I don’t know about you but I am extremely excited at all these signings Chelsea have made recently. Marin, Hazard(s), Oscar, Moses and Azpilicueta. Not a bad bunch to sign in one transfer window.

With the added inclusion of Ryan Bertrand who seems to be enjoying more minutes in the first team as of late, a creative but potentially tired Mata (at the moment) and a reignited Torres, things at Chelsea seem to be taking a really good turn for the best. There are so many classy players to name that I would be here all day trying to describe them in the best manner possible.
Where to start then. Well, first of all I’m over the moon that Torres is showing everyone what damage he can really do with the right players behind him. Hazard has connected with Torres almost instantly and they seem like the making of a truly deadly duo.

There are murmers that Mata will be rested for a few games soon after playing a bit of football at Euro 2012 and the Olympics. This is no bad thing. I love Mata but this will give Oscar the perfect platform to slide into the side and, like Torres, show the world what a talent he is.
When Mata returns, there will be big competition for places in the team. Again, no bad thing. We’ve got players of a high calibre who will be battling it out amongst each other to be in the side; Ramires, Mata, Marin, Hazard, Sturridge, Torres, Oscar, Lampard, Mikel, Meireles, Essien, Romeu, Moses and, if they stick around, Malouda and Benayoun too. So much brilliance. All these players will be needed as there are a lot of trophies to be fought for in this season like the Club World Cup and the Supercup on Friday.

What do the new signings show? They indicate that either/both manager and owner are fully backing Torres as the main man to lead Chelsea’s front line. This apparent support from the hierarchy has brushed off on Fernando. Just have a look at his recent performances for evidence.

If all this isn’t enough we also have McEachran and Lukaku on loan in the meantime. Lukaku scored on his debut against Liverpool – nice way to bow into the West Bromwich Albion team. Middlesbrough fans are holding McEachran in high regard as he too impressed on his debut and was seen as an integral player for their win over Burnley recently.
I’m excited about our prospects this season. Are you?

Another Backing For Torres

Posted: January 16, 2012 by GaryCRobertson in Attack, Chelsea, Rivals, Torres, Transfers

Harry Redknapp, I’m not a huge fan of him but his recent comments regarding Fernando Torres are worth sharing:

“I think Torres is starting to look the player that we all know he can be, the player he was at Liverpool – he is a top player no doubt about it.”

It’s encouraging for a manager from a different club, albeit a horrible rivalling club, to speak positively on Torres considering there are so many who jump on the slating bandwagon. For this, I am grateful to Redknapp for the first, and possibly the only, time…ever.

When we think Spurs, we now think about Modric moving to Chelsea. A saga that really should have finished a while ago. There were rumours doing the rounds that a potential Modric-Torres swap deal was in the balance but Redknapp put that false information to bed by saying:

“There is no way [Torres] is coming to Tottenham and no swap deal is in the offing for Luka Modric, I think Chelsea will get the best out of him [Torres].”

That’s that then. Surely the Modric rumours will cease from here on in?

@GaryCRobertson

Don’t brand Fernando a flop just yet

Posted: January 14, 2012 by GaryCRobertson in Attack, Chelsea, Guest, Strikers, Torres

Here at Chelsea Headache, we are always glad to host articles written by football fans (preferably of Chelsea origins) and today, Aidan Sweeney is delving into the subject of a certain Fernando Torres.

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Four goals and seven assists in fourteen starts and 8 substitute appearances is hardly what Chelsea fans were expecting from Fernando Torres this season. However, is Torres solely to blame for the current problems that surround the fifty million pound man? I think not. Despite having been already labelled as the ‘most expensive flop’ ever by the majority, I still believe there is time for Torres to turn it around.

It’s been nearly a year since his move to Chelsea and Fernando Torres has had to deal with numerous issues since his move. His wife gave birth to his second child only a month before he switched clubs, hardly something which would help a player settle down easy at a new club. He effectively lived in a hotel away from his wife and children for the first few months of his time at Chelsea which can’t have helped him mentally. There was a new level of pressure on the man himself. Whilst there had always been a high level of interest in Fernando’s performances, it was nothing compared to what he faced at Chelsea. Every time he played and didn’t score (which was unfortunately most of the time), it was major news across Twitter and the following days back pages. Such level of interest had to be expected though seeing as his transfer didn’t just make the back pages of newspapers, it also made the majority of front pages the following day. All of these were off the pitch issues, it was far worse on the pitch.There wasn’t a single player at Chelsea who’s vision and passing ability was as good as Steven Gerrard’s or Xabi Alonso’s, players who Torres thrived off at Liverpool. Dozens of Torres’ goals at Liverpool were assisted by defence splitting, world class passes from Alonso or Gerrard, Torres hasn’t had that level of service at Chelsea. There’s no denying Lampard can pick the odd pass out and Mata has the ability to slip a ball through a few players to Torres but he still isn’t being allowed to sit on the last man and run in behind which is how he loves to play. Another issue was just how slow Chelsea played. Players like Anelka, Mikel and Lampard played at such a slow pace it didn’t help Torres or the team. Anelka has thankfully moved on whilst Mikel has hardly kicked a ball the past few months which is good news but if André Villas-Boas really wants to implement fast, flowing football at Stamford Bridge then he needs to remove Lampard from the equation. One noticeable difference between how Torres played at Liverpool and how he has played during his time at Chelsea so far has been how often he drifts out wide. At Liverpool Torres didn’t have to go and seek the ball, he didn’t have to drift out wide to try and create space. He spent the majority of his time sitting on the last man, patiently waiting for Gerrard or Alonso to find him with that killer ball. Instead we’ve seen Fernando coming deep and in fact becoming more of a number ten. The statistics speak for themselves, he has nearly double the amount of assists than he has goals and that isn’t what Mr Abramovich paid fifty million pounds for.

What continues to frustrate me week in week out is seeing Juan Mata shifted out on the left wing when he clearly is not a left winger. He is the only player in the current Chelsea team who I believe has got the ability and the vision to continuously find Torres’ runs; so in my opinion, Mata has to play centrally. Probably the closest we’ve ever came to seeing the best of Fernando Torres at Chelsea was away at Old Trafford and it was obvious to see why he thrived during the second half of that game. United played with a high defensive line, Torres sat on the last man and Mata saw enough of the ball to play Torres in on goal numerous times. Whilst that game will always be remembered for the way Torres put the ball past David De Gea’s left hand post, I saw enough in the game to firmly believe it can work out for Torres at Chelsea. There is no denying that for the majority of that second half, it was Torres back to his world class best.

It is clear that things have got to change at Chelsea and there is no quick or cheap solution. If I was André Villas-Boas then I would address the following issues: Mata has to play centrally behind Torres. As I’ve said above he is the only player good enough to continuously play those killer balls for Torres. It might not leave Lampard very happy but a midfield of Mata, Ramires and Romeu is the future for Chelsea and hopefully it will be the present midfield very soon. A left winger has to be signed. I will always have fond memories of Florent Malouda, especially the day he walked through Man United’s defence at Old Trafford to set Joe Cole up and it’s always sad to see players who you once admired slowly decline but with Malouda it’s been more than a slow decline. It’s hard to believe he’s the same player and the sooner he leaves Chelsea the better. A left winger who will actually stick to the wing will open more space in the middle so it isn’t as congested as it is at the moment, hopefully meaning Torres won’t have to drift out to the wings to find space which in turn should open up little pockets of space for Mata. Torres has to be given a run of games. With the ever declining Didier Drogba away at the African Cup of Nations, Fernando should get a run in the team over the following month but it won’t benefit Chelsea at all if Torres is benched again as soon as Drogba comes back because Torres brings a lot more to Chelsea’s play than Drogba. Torres also has to look at himself. Surely he can’t be happy with everyone labelling him a flop? We’ve seen it very rarely at Chelsea but he has to find that hunger within himself to go out there and be that world class player he knows he can be. He’s free of the injuries which haunted his time at Liverpool, he has to see that as a positive and really seize the chance he has been presented with through Drogba being away.

So whilst the majority of you continue to laugh every time Torres plays and doesn’t score, remember he has four and a half years left on his contract and at only twenty seven, he’s got arguably his peak physical years ahead of him. I believe it’s clear to see though that changes have to be made at Chelsea and until they are, we can all expect Torres to continue to struggle. Don’t brand Fernando a flop just yet though, give him and AVB time to implement changes and I’m sure we’ll see Fernando Torres back to his best once again.

For more Football/Chelsea/Torres related debate, follow me on twitter: @aidansweeney93

First of all, happy new year to all our readers! We hope you had a nice time over the festive season. All the best for 2012.

And now onto what this blog is all about – Chelsea.

This could be a pivotal few months: Torres almost guaranteed a starting place due to Drogba and Kalou away at AFCON, McEachran likewise but with Swansea (loan) and also potential new signings slotting into the side.

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It’s getting near the now or never stage for Torres to perform consistently. I firmly believe he will get there and with Drogba unavailable for selection, pressure may be dropped from his head. New attacking signings which may be made this month could prove to be vital in Torres’ future with Chelsea. As has been suggested before, a Mata-Torres partnership (4-2-3-1) would be a successful way to go but would mean altering the formation just for him – something Villas-Boas probably wouldn’t be too pleased to do to suit one player but you never know, he’s surprised us before.

McEachran’s loan to Swansea is something that I’m looking forward to as well. We haven’t been able to see Josh play week in week out in the top tier but now it might just be time to see him playing first team football for the Welsh pass meisters. I think we may be watching some more Swansea football on MOTD now that he’s going to be active in the Premier League. It’s obvious Brendan Rodgers is over the moon that he’s been able to get McEachran on loan – he will definitely utilise him properly.

And then we have the possibility of fresh new signings. Everyone likes new signings but I think I speak for everyone when I say, the Cahill transfer is getting a bit boring. Either sign or don’t! We’re getting fed up. There’s also been a number of rumours linking us with players including Eden Hazard of Lille and Di Maria from Real Madrid (most likely false). But it would seem the press are finding it difficult to find out who Chelsea want to sign so have reverted to who they will get rid of. Laughable at times. Best thing to do is wait until the club officially announces anything. That way it’s genuine.

So yeah, these next few months will be important in shaping the future of Chelsea. When (not if) McEachran succeeds with Swansea he will undoubtedly be a front runner for our first team next season. Torres, as I’ve said already, will have a  perfect opportunity to prove why he’s still one of the deadliest strikers in the world. And we could be gifted with a bunch of new faces too to liven up competition for places in the team. I’d also like to think that in the next few years, some of the young talents from the reserves will be able to make the leap into the first team.

All in all, there’s plenty to look ahead to.

(Also ESSIEN IS RETURNING SOON which is truly splendid)

If someone had told me 24 hours ago that McEachran would score within the first minute against Aston Villa and that Torres would score with his first touch as a substitute, I’d quite gladly admit that I probably wouldn’t have believed them.

However, Chelsea have done it again by catching me completely off guard. After just getting prepared to watch the game, I was instantly shocked/amazed/open mouthed/in awe at witnessing 18 year old Josh McEachran score his first senior goal for the club in just over 30 seconds post kick-off. Undoubtedly a huge day for this English hotshot. Everyone could see the joy on his face and maybe even a hint of surprise to go along with it.

And if that wasn’t enough, the towering figure of one Fernando Torres sneaked himself a goal too; a confidence boost that will no doubt have him scoring freely next season; his body language was far superior than in prior games. It’s there to be said that our number 9 could well be on his way back to stardom in no time. Add in the fact that Drogba was also on the pitch, will have every Chelsea fan dreaming of the type of partnership they could form in the near future.

But let us not forget that Daniel Sturridge is deserving of a chance. Genuinely, I believe that Danny could quite easily be the solution to our right wing ‘problem’ of recent times. Yes, we have Kalou and Anelka (who deserves a mention after a good first half display today) but, as many recent posts on the blog have explained, Sturridge needs his opportunity now. He has worked in a determined and enthusiastic manner, which alone warrants a chance.

Bottom line : Do we ‘need’ big signings? No. Does Andre Villas-Boas need to rotate the squad more effectively than his predecessor? Yes. With all that in the equation, it is only minor tweaking that is needed. The current Chelsea squad is more than capable of challenging for every competition they’re a part of and (fingers crossed) even win.

The type of players that Andre Villas-Boas has at his disposal is enough to frighten any manager, so it’s time to up the gear-stick and utilise every player in the way they were originally intended.

 

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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Have you been wondering why Chelsea’s new manager, Andre Villas-Boas, hasn’t said a word about signing a big name player before the start of the season? (Well, apart from a few words here and there about Chelsea target Luka Modric just to give reporters something to chew on). The squad at Stamford Bridge is quite capable of winning trophies and, by no stretch of the imagination, possess great individual players who just let their egos get the best of them when they were close to cutting the three point gap between them and rivals Manchester United last season under Carlo Ancelotti.

Take this bit of rant by Salomon Kalou at the end of the season, where some claim he lifted the lid of the squabbles in the Chelsea dressing room:

“Our players were preoccupied with finding out who was in the side and who wasn’t. This disrupted our progress,” Kalou said, according to The Sun

“It is better to build a team gradually than to bring in players who will pout and sulk.”

In case you missed it, the Ivorian was having a jab at Fernando Torres, who arrived at Chelsea in January after being bought for £50 million – to score goals. But Kalou doesn’t stop there. He goes on: “Our team is used to winning and when we end up losing, things become hard for us.”

For me, among other special memories of this club, that is proof enough that Chelsea, with the current crop of players and not a player more, are unstoppable. Villas-Boas isn’t worried. He might want to inject some youth into the team, as we have seen with pre-season matches, but any manager would be ecstatic to inherit such a team. Despite most of them being older than the gaffer and approaching 35. Look at this team.

1. Peter Cech – of the 38 league matches, you can bet on him getting a clean sheet in just over half those games.

2. John Terry – forever solid at the back when not injured. That’s a pretty solid defender when he is not facing personal issues.

3. Alex/David Luiz/Slobadan Rajkovic – only the last name is untested at central defence

4. Ashley Cole – We all know he is the best left-back in England, if not the world.

5. Jose Bosingwa/Branislav Ivanovic – I thought so.

6. John Obi Mikel/Michael Essien – These tough as soldiers midfielders have more than 10 seasons between them.

7. Frank Lampard – Last chance for Holy Grail.

8. Didier Drogba/Nicolas Anelka – Like Lampard they are thirsty, and have had enough of being called underachievers.

I could go on, but you get the picture. We’re full of geezers, but they can do the job. With a manger as obsessed with details as AVB, expect one hell of a season.