Chelsea recorded a comprehensive win in their penultimate pre-season game, as they beat Salzburg 5-3 on Wednesday.
?Chelsea struck first in Austria, as Christian Pulisic scored his first goal in Blue. The American drove forward before firing low into the bottom corner, putting the Blues in front after 20 minutes.
Moments later, Pulisic burst into the box and won a penalty as he was pulled down. Ross Barkley stepped up, and made no mistake from the spot to double their lead. Pulisic added a third five minutes later, coolly chipping Cican Stankovic as Chelsea went into cruise control.
Salzburg pulled one back at the start of the second half, thanks to Jerome Onguene’s towering header. However, Chelsea restored their three-goal lead thanks to a delightful goal from Pedro, whose sumptuous backheel volley left Philipp Kohn rooted to the spot.
Salzburg won a penalty with six minutes to go, as Davide Zappacosta was deemed to have handballed. Substitute Takumi Minamino assumed responsibility and confidently converted.
Michy Batshuayi responded soon after, as he thumped home his effort and wrapped up the win. Minamino scored another consolation as the ball luckily deflected off him as he walked it in, but it ended in victory for Chelsea in an excellent display.
Key Talking Point
After already beginning their season last Friday, RB Salzburg certainly looked strong and put pressure on their visitors right from the start. The Austrians started well and had a few half-chances early on, but lost their grip of the game after going 3-0 down within eight first-half minutes.
Nevertheless, the Roten Bullen fought on and kept threatening the Chelsea goal, forcing Kepa Arrizabalaga into some decent saves. They got three deserved goals in the end, as Salzburg produced a decent performance but were beaten by the better side.
Their performance against the Europa League winners should give them confidence, as Salzburg prepare to play in this season’s ?Champions League.
Starting XI: Stankovic (5); Ulmer (6), Mwepu (6), Pongracic (5), Kristensen (7); Szoboszlai (6), Camara (6), Samassekou (6), Ashimeru (5), Haaland (6), Hwang (6).
Substitutes: Kohn (6); Mensah (6), Van der Werff (5), Onguene (7), Farkas (6); Okugawa (6), Diarra (6), Bernede (5), Junuzovic (6); Koita (6), Daka (6), Minamino (7*).
STAR MAN – Takumi Minamino scored two of Salzburg’s three goals, and while they were mere consolations they were deserved. His late burst was vital in keeping the score down, as he made an impact after coming off the bench.
Key Talking Point
The Blues were confident in attack and composed at the back, as they kept their shape well and restricted an attacking Salzburg side. However, the fact that this is the second consecutive game that they have conceded three goals is a concern, yet both games were comprehensively won.
Chelsea look strong going into the new season, and as Frank Lampard continues to experiment with his squad he can be happy with his side’s performances, as the Blues get ready to compete once again for the European spots.
Starting XI: Arrizabalaga (7); Emerson (6), Luiz (6), Zouma (6), Azpilicueta (6); Barkley (7), Jorginho (6), Kovacic (6); Pulisic (9*), Abraham (7), Pedro (7).
Substitutes: Kenedy (6), Mount (6), Batshuayi (7), Tomori (6), Alonso (6), Zappacosta (N/A), Christensen (N/A).
STAR MAN – It was Pulisic’s first half display that will earn him the plaudits, as the American got two goals and won a penalty. His attacking play was excellent and his burst of energy was vital in Chelsea’s win, as he finally got off the mark for the Blues in a superb display.
RB Salzburg return to domestic action in their second Austrian Bundesliga match, hosting Mattersburg on Sunday afternoon. Die Roten Bullen then play another friendly against European opposition, as ?Real Madrid are the visitors to the Red Bull Arena on August 7.
Chelsea have one more pre-season test, as they travel to neighbouring Germany to face Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday. The Blues then kick the competitive season off with a trip to Old Trafford, as they play ?Manchester United in the ??Premier League on August 11.