Match Report: Udinese XI 0 Chelsea XI 2

by 24britishtvJuly 30, 2022, 1 p.m. 21
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Chelsea’s pre-season campaign concluded with a comfortable victory against an Udinese XI, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Hakim Ziyech finding the net either side of half-time.

Just like yesterday’s friendly against the same opposition, the Blues were dominant in this training game that enabled Thomas Tuchel to give more members of his squad valuable match minutes ahead of the real thing starting this time next week.

The Chelsea XI were particularly impressive before the break, creating a flurry of good chances, although we had to wait until Loftus-Cheek’s smooth chipped finish in added time to break the deadlock.

It was the outstanding Loftus-Cheek who was fouled for the penalty that Ziyech converted with aplomb, and by the midway point of the second half all 28 players that travelled to Italy had enjoyed game time.

Now the Blues return home with a week to prepare for Everton away and the 2022/23 Premier League campaign that awaits.

As expected, Tuchel named an entirely different side to the one that beat Udinese 3-1.

Mateo Kovacic captained and Ben Chilwell, Trevoh Chalobah, Ziyech and Christian Pulisic also started. Loftus-Cheek and Armando Broja played their first pre-season games for Tuchel’s side this summer, Kepa was in goal, and Ethan Ampadu, Malang Sarr and Conor Gallagher completed the XI. The outfielders on the bench were the same as yesterday.

Chelsea, attacking the Curva Nord in the first half, just as we did 14 hours ago, once again started brightly. Chilwell had a good sight of goal in the second minute, only for his shot to be blocked, and Gallagher fired over from a Ziyech pass.

In the 12th minute both teams came very close to opening the scoring. From a Gallagher corner, Broja headed goalwards and Bram Nuytinck just about diverted it onto the post and out. The hosts broke, and Sandi Lovric shot straight at Kepa with his second good opportunity of the morning.

A flowing Chelsea move ended with Chilwell picking out Gallagher, who spun on the edge of the box and curled towards the top left-hand corner. Daniele Padelli sprung to his right to turn it around the post. Sarr headed into the side netting from the resulting corner.

Midway through an open first half, Broja impressively worked his way out of a tight spot and found Ziyech, whose shot was deflected behind. The roles were reversed a minute later as Ziyech crossed low and Broja touched it wide.

The Albanian had another good chance with 10 minutes of the half remaining. Found brilliantly by a searching Kovacic pass, he lofted the ball over Padelli but the crossbar, too. It was a similar story when Sarr released Ziyech, who controlled expertly but blasted wide.

Broja fired at Padelli’s legs after yet another enterprising foray forward from Kovacic, who eventually got the assist his performance deserved in time added on at the end of the first half. He threaded the ball through the eye of a needle to Loftus-Cheek, and today’s right wing-back deftly lifted it over Padelli. A wonderful pass and a wonderful finish.

Callum Hudson-Odoi replaced Broja for the second half and played through the middle. It was he who started the attack from which we would double our lead with 55 minutes played.

Hudson-Odoi spread it wide right to Loftus-Cheek, who exchanged passes with Pulisic and chopped inside, drawing a clear foul. Ziyech slammed the penalty into the bottom right-hand corner.

Loftus-Cheek continued to impress from right wing-back, setting up further chances for Ziyech and Chilwell around the hour mark. After the next drinks break, much needed in the midday sun, Kenedy, Emerson and Marcus Bettinelli came on for Chilwell, Sarr and Kepa.

It was Kenedy who was next to threaten, again the overlapping Loftus-Cheek causing havoc down the right as the wing-backs combined. That was Ruben’s last involvement, replaced by Harvey Vale. Billy Gilmour came on for Gallagher.

The one-sided nature of the contest continued even if the tempo slowed in the heat, both teams content with another good workout.

The season opener at Everton! Kick-off on Merseyside is at 5.30pm.

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