Chelsea round off their tour of Ireland with a game against St Patrick’s Athletic, who currently sit fourth in the Irish Premier Division.
Wednesday’s far from inspiring draw with Bohemians presented new manager Frank Lampard with a host of issues, that he will have to iron out before the resumption of the new season in just under a month. Whilst fitness and personnel certainly played a part in Chelsea’s performance, it was clear to many onlookers that yet another change in tactic could cause disruptions to a team who had only just started to get to grips with previous manager Maurizio Sarri’s high pressing possession based system dubbed ‘Sarriball’.
More senior players have since returned to training and could well feature for the Blues, although with a packed schedule of pre-season fixtures ahead Lampard may use the game as an opportunity to have one last look at some of the youngsters who impressed against Bohemians.
St Patrick’s season is well underway but they will still be reeling from defeat in the first leg of their Europa League qualifier against IFK Norrkoping, and could themselves field a weakened squad in preparation for the second leg.
With Kepa having only recently returned to training Lampard will presumably start with Caballero between the sticks.
His work rate against Bohemians couldn’t be faulted, and with Reece James out for the foreseeable future Zappacosta will need to provide adequate cover for Cesar Azpilicueta especially towards the start of the season.
Didn’t have his strongest game on Wednesday, carrying over his shaky form from the U-21 European Championships, but he has Lampard’s trust and belief which should enable him to make a better impression against St Patrick’s
Of all the defenders to feature in Lampard’s first game Zouma certainly looked the most assured, using his pace and strength to cover dutifully in behind and carry the ball out of defence.
Having not played as much during the international break Alonso will probably be one of the first senior figures to be risked.
Lampard needs the Englishman to have a renaissance of sorts with cover in midfield scarce. Drinkwater will then likely be given another chance to impress alongside Tiemoue Bakayoko, who is also under pressure to perform.
Ampadu’s admixture of aggression and composure were commended by his manager, and he could play himself into contention for more game time next season should he continue to impress in pre-season.
Will need to improve upon his anonymous display against Bohemians and prove to Lampard that he can still play a vital role under his tenure.
Dazzled at times, drifting into the half spaces and testing the keeper’, whilst his close control enabled the Blues to actually make use of the space out wide with Gilmour drawing players inwards before distributing.
With several young players heading back to Cobham, Kenedy is now one of the few stand out candidates to start out wide on the left. His sliced shot led to Michy Batshuayi’s opener but an improvement will be needed if he is to play any further part in Lampard’s plans for next season
The forward will look to build upon a promising performance on Wednesday with another goal against St Patrick’s.