The last game of Chelsea’s pre-season before next weekend’s Community Shield, Antonio Conte is unlikely to have taken many positives from an embarrassing defeat to Inter Milan.
In a dull and even encounter in the first half, a rash challenge from Cesar Azpilicueta saw Inter given a penalty and the first chance to take the lead. Thibaut Courtois comfortably saved Stefan Jovetic’s penalty but could only do enough to push it out into the path of the striker to put it past him into the opposite corner of the net on the rebound.
Just eight minutes into the second half, Jovetic set up Manchester United target Ivan Perisic whose burst of pace and clinical finish gave the Italians a two goal lead.
Chelsea had a glimmer of hope later on in the tie after Geoffrey Kondogbia played a bizarre 40 yard backpass over the head of goalkeeper Daniele Padelli in one of the most brilliant own goals of recent times.
Here’s what The Boot Room learnt from the encounter…
Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi could form a devastating partnership
The duo combined well in Morata’s debut when he came off the bench against Bayern Munich, but this game saw the pair start together for the first time. The Spaniard began the game wider on the left in a surprise move, but he often drifted centrally to partner up with his Belgian team-mate.
The pair linked up well and seemed to have an understanding which belied the mere week or two of training that they have had together. If they can provide this kind of threat in the Premier League, they could form a threatening front two.
Chelsea’s defence looks nothing like it did in 2016/17
Last season saw Antonio Conte’s team build from the back with defensive strength and consistency a key part of their game. In pre-season, that has vanished. After a woeful display against Bayern, the team’s defensive frailties emerged once again with Cesar Azpilicueta conceding an uncharacteristically clumsy penalty in the first half.
N’Golo Kante was far from his best either and with many Chelsea players seemingly lacking in fitness, Inter exploited the spaces left by a tiring Chelsea defence.
The competitive season can’t come soon enough
Pre-season games are known for being far from the most exciting. Bar Geoffrey Kondogbia’s sensational own goal, this was one of the most monotonous and dull encounters of Chelsea’s preparations for some time. Neither side seemed particularly up for it, nor bothered by the final result.
Chelsea’s first competitive fixture comes next Sunday when they face Arsenal in the Community Shield at Wembley. The Blues will be raring to go and get back in action in the UK after spending their pre-season in Asia.