Hakim Ziyech takes a shot at goal in Chelsea's pre-season friendly against Club América.

Chelsea 2-1 Club America: Five talking points as Blues begin pre-season with victory in Las Vegas

Chelsea got their pre-season preparations underway with a 2-1 win against Club America at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Sunday, July 17. Timo Werner and Mason Mount got on the scoresheet in the second half, with Reece James picking up an unfortunate own goal.

Chelsea dominated possession right from kick-off. Hakim Ziyech had the game’s first chance via a set piece inside the opening 10 minutes. Guillermo Ochoa did well to save the Moroccan’s free-kick. Kai Havertz had arguably the best chance to put the visitors ahead in the 29th minute. However, the German ended up shooting well over the goal.

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Mount's fantastic late goal seals the win!

2-1 🟡 | #FCSeries

Werner finally put the Blues ahead in the 54th minute when he latched onto Reece James’ low cross and put the ball in the back of the net. Club America got back on level terms minutes later through James’ own goal. Mason Mount eventually scored the winner in the final minutes of the game.

On that note, here are five talking points from the Blues' 2-1 victory over Club America.


#1 Abundance of options in midfield

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Chelsea struggled with midfield combinations last season. N’Golo Kante’s recurring injury troubles combined with Saul Nunez and Ross Barkley's inconsistencies meant Jorginho and Matteo Kovacic had to play the lion’s share of minutes across all competitions.

Unsurprisingly, they looked jaded and worn down in the final weeks of the campaign, prompting fans to call for reinforcements in midfield.

.@TIMOWERNER GRABS THE FIRST #FCSERIES 2022 GOAL!

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However, after a good summer’s break, Jorginho looked revitalized and played with an air of confidence in Nevada. His introduction at halftime ensured the team took control in the middle of the park. His passing, both short and long, was on point. It was his raking cross-field pass that released James for the opening goal.

Conor Gallagher made a fantastic first impression in Chelsea colors following a fruitful loan with Crystal Palace last season. His athleticism, eye for a pass and grit work perfectly for Thomas Tuchel's style. The youngster could have a big season if he maintains the performance.

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#2 Troubles in front of goal

On the other hand, Chelsea’s troubles in front of goal do not seem like a thing of the past. The much-heralded Romelu Lukaku is back in Italy with Inter Milan, while Armando Broja is sidelined with a minor injury. This meant Havertz had to continue to lead the line, a sight that fans have now become familiar with.

The German, however, failed to convert the through ball from Gallagher in the 29th minute and ended up firing it over the crossbar.

Gallagher wins the ball in midfield and plays a great pass through to Havertz, but he fires over!

0-0 🟡 [29] #FCSeries
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While the German has world-class potential, he can only be a stop-gap solution for the striker's role. With a dearth of quality attackers in the transfer market, Tuchel will be expecting Havertz and Broja to up their game ahead of the new season.


#3 Wing-backs will be key

The 3-4-3 formation became synonymous with Chelsea after Antonio Conte made the team almost unbeatable using that system. Tuchel steam-rolled his way to the Champions League title by building on that. James and Ben Chilwell are the perfect wing-backs for this system, with both players equally adept at attacking and defending.

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The Blues were in a Premier League title fight last season when Chilwell and James were sidelined with injuries. This arguably derailed their title bid, forcing the club to finish behind Manchester City and Liverpool.

With both players now back and looking as good as ever, Tuchel will be hoping to wrap them in cotton wool between games to make sure they don’t break down once again.


#4 Chelsea have a stronger squad thanks to new signings

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Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly became the first blockbuster signings in the post-Roman Abramovic era. While both players are in America training with the squad, it was considered too soon for them to make their Chelsea debut.

Given the team’s strong performance, for the most part, Sterling and Koulibaly’s additions at either end of the pitch should make the Blues pretty formidable.

They were not the only players missing out. Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek had to stay back in England due to their unvaccinated status, which denied them entry into the USA. Adding them to the mix will give Tuchel a strong squad, with the Premier League introducing five substitutions from this season onwards.


#5 Defensive solutions: scour the transfer market or look within the club?

It has long been rumored that Chelsea will make six new signings this summer. Two have been wrapped up, with more expected to come later this month. One of them is expected to be a defender following the departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

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While Koulibaly is a fantastic signing, Ethan Ampadu’s performance in Vegas will give Tuchel and the management a lot to think about. Add the highly-rated Levi Colwill to the mix and fans wouldn’t grumble if the club chooses to stick with them instead of chasing Jules Kounde and Presnel Kimpembe.

The same applies to wing-backs too. James and Chilwell have their starting spots nailed. With Marcus Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta reportedly on their way out, the club could fall back on Emerson Palmieri and Kenedy as rotational options if their replacements aren't found.

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Edited by
Aranya Chaudhury
 
 
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