Kawasaki Frontale inflicted the first defeat of Frank Lampard’s tenure at Chelsea, as a late goal from Leandro Damiao sparked jubilant celebrations from the 61,000 capacity crowd inside the Todoroki Athletics Stadium.
Chelsea’s attacking fluency was suffocated under the rampant evening heat, and donning their new away kit, the Blues lacked any of the individuality and expression encapsulated in their campaign for the new shirt.
It is certainly not ‘A Chelsea thing’ to gift possession to the opposition and appear apathetic in the face of a promising attacking move.
Pre-season is a time to iron out these issues, and Lampard must ensure they do as the stodgy first-half display showed little promise for the campaign ahead.
A barrage of changes did little to stem the flow of mediocrity, and chances, although at less of a premium, were still hard to come by, with Ross Barkley seemingly the only player capable of creating space for a shot or a pass.
The game appeared to be meandering into a quickly forgettable episode in the short history of Lampard’s reign at the club until former Brazilian international Damiao popped up late on to snatch victory for the unfancied Japanese hosts.
The result, although disparaging, is not the main concern for Lampard going forward, and with fitness building, he will hope the Blues can acclimatise to Japan’s rising humidity in preparation for Tuesday’s game against Barcelona.
Willy Caballero - 6
Drafted in for Kepa who came down with an illness prior to kick-off. He made a few routine saves before Chelsea began to get control of possession. Made a superb save just moments before Damiao gave Kawasaki the lead.
Cesar Azpilicueta - 5
Was always available on the switch, but just like last season, his deliveries from out wide lacked pace or direction and some clear cut opportunities were wasted in the process.
David Luiz - 6
A few headed clearances were the most strain the Brazilian ever came under. His deep ball progression became more accurate as the game went on and was soon a useful out ball for the Blues.
Kurt Zouma - 6
Much like Luiz, the Frenchman had very little to do as Kawasaki focused on containing Chelsea’s attacking threat.
Marcos Alonso - 5
Struggled to adapt to the pace of the game, often slow to get forward and offer the out ball. Defensively he was untroubled.
Jorginho - 7
Pushed up from deep to enforce the high press and win possession back. He was calm and composed on the ball as well, always picking out a teammate in space.
Mason Mount - 7
Provided some flashes of creative brilliance, threading passes down the right flank and linking up well with Batshuayi. Pushed out to the left flank, he was able to cut in and produce a shot, but he was soon replaced in the second-half.
Mateo Kovacic - 6.5
Made a couple of lung busting runs from deep picking up the ball driving all of 50 yards before picking out the runner in Batshuayi. The Croatian was unable to build on his performance in Ireland, making very few forrays forward and struggling to use the ball productively.
Pedro - 5
Produced few moments of real quality but they were far too fleeting and his influence began to wain.
Michy Batshuayi - 6
His hold up play helped bring runners into play, but his movement was poor and he failed to gamble at the front post when the ball was played out wide. The Belgian needs to provide some more risky and less predictable runs in and around the area, with most of Chelsea’s play coming from wide positions.
Kenedy - 6
Never quite able to bring the ball under his control, often coming centrally to receive before trying unsuccessfully to drive back to where he came from. Grew into the game in the second-half with some more direct running off the ball. Spurned Chelsea’s two best chances of the game after the break, although his movement to create the opportunities were promising.
Davide Zappacosta - 6
Pushed high and wide, getting in behind his man but found that his decision making let him down.
Andreas Christensen - 5
Didn’t appear too confident in possession, and whilst his one on one defending was competent, he will be annoyed not to have kept a clean sheet.
Emerson - 5
Had no influence on the game whatsoever, before losing his marker to allow Kawasaki to steal the lead late on.
Ross Barkley - 7
Looked to receive the ball on the half turn and use his body to retain possession and push up the pitch. Struck up a good relationship with Mount.
Olivier Giroud - 5
Found the target with a stinging free-kick but was rarely given the service he needed and Chelsea’s play broke down before Giroud could be released into the game.
Tiemoue Bakayoko - 5
Wasn’t aware of the options around him, receiving the ball with his back to play and more often than not just playing it back to where it came from. Needed to be faster in progressing the ball as Chelsea’s issues stemmed from an inability to transition play from defence to attack.
Danny Drinkwater - 6
Showed good aggression, acutely aware of the pressure on him, but despite this, he struggled to muster the quality needed to make an impact.
Christian Pulisic - 6
Beat his marker on a few occasions but his deliveries were often blocked and his resultant set pieces failed to find their man. A promising first appearance in a Chelsea shirt.
Kasey Palmer - 5
Barely saw any of the ball during his time on the pitch, aside form a couple of neat first touches. It is hard to envisage Palmer having any sort of future at the club.
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