Monday, July 25, 2005

Chelsea looked prepared

Shaun Wright-Phillips saw his Chelsea debut as the Blues beat AC Milan comfortably 1-0 in their United States pre-season tour.

Icelandic international Eidur Gudjohnsen was impressive in possession. Floating between a striker and an attacking midfielder he added fluidity by dropping back to link up play. He found a very comfortable playing position last season and I’m hoping he stays there.

Phillips looked sharp from the start. His speed was amazing and opened space for himself on a number of occasions. Arjan Robben, man of the match and the eventual goalscorer, was also quick and profitable.

Chelsea quite literally have two top 10 Premiership sides within the same team. Mourinho, who used virtually his entire team in substitutions, looked eager to make the most of the opportunity to see his players. I got the honest impression he has an open mind about his first 11. Well, except maybe for perpetual disappointment Hernan Crespo who missed the easiest chance of the game.

The most interesting of these decisions Mourinho must make is whether to play Wright-Phillips or Arjan Robben. It’s a tough choice, they were equally impressive. Find a way to play them together like Real Madrid did with Beckham and Figo.

AC Milan, obviously missing Kaka and Shevchenko looked depleted despite hard work by Rui Costa and Cafu to play the team forward. Christian Vieri missed golden chances and looked like a Clydesdale among thoroughbreds.

AC Milan must feel a step behind, like Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United do. From what I saw, in addition to Chelsea’s new livery, was a team chocked full of players eager to prove more than a single Premiership title.
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