Scolari’s First Game: The Old Boys Done Good!

So, Scolari’s taken charge of his first game for Chelsea, albeit against the weaker opposition of Guangzhou Pharmaceutical and chalked up a fairly comfortable 4-0 win.

The new Chelsea boss put out a strong side, making use of new signing Deco alongside Lampard, who graced the Chelsea side with his presence for the whole game. Notable absentee’s were Joe Cole and Andriy Shevchenko through injury, Didier Drogba who we already know didn’t make the trip, and Michael Ballack who is currently on honeymoon.

Kalou got Chelsea off the mark after 20 minutes after a Frank Lampard assist although Michael Essien was denied following a brilliant save from the Guangzhou keeper and Anelka, who has apparently remembered the content of his job description, hit the woodwork.  Lampard made it  2-0 after the break, lobbing the keeper from distance, Franco Di Santo added a third and Shaun Wright-Phillips completed the 4-0 score-line.

Scolari certainly didn’t shy away from ringing the changes for his first match in charge, with the immediate introduction of our new signings. The new boss also introduced a different formation, with the old 4-3-3 discarded in favour of a more attacking 4-1-3-2.

Chelsea clearly have a wealth of midfield talent and the new formation takes full advantage of that, pushing Essien, Lampard and Deco forward, with John Obi Mikel given the task of filling the Makelele role. Where exactly this set-up leaves Michael Ballack, we’ve yet to see although I for one hope the answer isn’t ‘out in the cold’ after last season’s return to form for the German. But the abundance of midfielders clearly isn’t a concern for Scolari, because, on first impression’s that’s the whole point.

Scolari’s midfield is about power and pace, forcing the opposition to retreat and opening up space for creative players whilst retaining that midfield ‘general’ to watch their backs. And whilst some might question both the apparent excess of midfielders plus their ability to go the distant with the sort of pace demanded, maybe that’s the general idea? Because whilst players like Essien would certainly have boundless energy to see out an entire season in the Premier League, Deco’s fitness level is slightly more questionable. But when you consider we still have players like Ballack, Joe Cole and maybe even another young midfielder to come, then swapping like-for-like becomes a handy option to have. Of course, it’s not a long-term solution, but Rome didn’t spring up overnight either, and it’ll certainly do away with flogging players to death Mourinho style anyway.

Another benefit of Scolari’s formation choice has to be the use of two men up front. The old 4-3-3 saw us rely far too heavily on Drogba, and the result of him not firing on all cylinders became all too apparent with United’s far superior goal difference over us last season. Unlike his predecessor, Scolari chose to play Anelka ‘in’ position, to his obvious delight, although he had to defer to his strike partner on this occasion when it came to the end product. Not so for young Argentine, Franco Di Santo, who’s introduction from the bench produced plenty of threat and a much deserved goal.

So, all in all, a pretty positive start and if the creativity and attacking play is a sign of things to come, then we’ll all be a lot happier this season than we were last. Of course there’ll be much stronger opposition to face once the season kicks off proper, but it wasn’t a bad start as pre-season’s go and the new Chelsea boss looked satisfied if not exactly over-excited on his first trip out with the lads.

Kalou gets a head-rush 20 mins in
Kalou gets a head-rush 20 mins in
Bosingwa gets a look at Lampards payslip
Bosingwa gets a look at Lampard’s payslip
Look what I can do for the money
“Look what I can do for the money”
Get your hands off and respect your elders son
“Get your hands off and respect your elders son”
watch and learn old men
Franco Di Santo: “watch and learn old men”
Scolari thinks weve got the X-Factor
Scolari thinks we’ve got the X-Factor

5 Responses to “Scolari’s First Game: The Old Boys Done Good!”

  1. I watched the game, thought we looked good. Its still early days yet. I watched the formation closely.

    Deco seemed to have a free role and linked up well between defence and attack, The full backs were alot more advanced than we’re used to. He seemed to use Mikel and Essien in front of the defence. Something we saw alot of in the Euros. 2 midfielders holding when needed and giving Lampard and Deco more freedom to play more advanced.

    It was basically a 4-2-2-2 formation. Interesting……

    I’ll be watching again on Saturday…12:30 KO

  2. It was a good game. But shouldn’t over-estimate out game, taking into account the opposition.
    Nice captions. Where do you get all these pics from?

  3. The bulging muscle in Bosingwa’s right leg is kind of disturbing…

  4. Aravind – I thought the “reuters” on the bottom left sort of gives it away

  5. Spektral – Im gonna have to agree with you on that, its almost as disturbing as the fact he looks like a rabbit caught in headlights in just about every pic Ive seen of him.