ICC 2018, Chelsea vs Inter Milan: 5 Talking Points

Chelsea emerged victorious on penalties
Chelsea emerged victorious on penalties
Nived Zenith

Score-line: Chelsea (Pedro 8') 1-1 Inter (Roberto Gagliardini 49'); 5-4 on penalties

Chelsea kick-started their International Champions Cup pre-season tournament with a win over Inter Milan at the Allianz Riviera Stadium in Nice. Maurizio Sarri named an unchanged starting line-up adopted by Chelsea in the first half of their previous pre-season clash with Perth Glory in Australia and were swiftly off the blocks as soon as the referee waved play on to get the ball rolling on the night.

The Blues dominated right from the start and following a splendid spell that saw Chelsea show quick movement and precise passing, Pedro opened the scoring in the 8th minute marking his 31st birthday with a straightforward finish after Alvaro Morata had the Inter defenders all over the place thanks to the Spaniard's nimble footwork and determination to make things happen.

Chelsea looked comfortable on the ball and dominated possession for the majority of the first forty-five minutes, heading into the break with a deserving lead. However, Tiemoue Bakayoko who came on at the half-time break gave the ball away too easily in midfield and further allowed Mauro Icardi to lay the ball out for Roberto Gagliardini who found the back of the net owing to Willy Caballero's inability to get behind the ball and stop the shot.

Inter kicked-on from their early second-half goal and continued to pressurize Chelsea deep into the second half but the Blues held on for a 1-1 draw at the end of ninety minutes. Milan Skriniar became the unlucky man who had to miss his spot-kick in the penalty shootout as Chelsea held their nerve to convert all their chances from 12 yards out to emerge as 5-4 victors in the end.

Chelsea, who were awarded 2 points for their shootout win, will now face Arsenal on Thursday while Inter will take face Lyon on Saturday with just a point to their name. Without further delay, let's take a closer look at the major talking points from the game:

#1 Chelsea swiftly off their blocks while Inter take time to settle

It didn't take too long for Chelsea to break the deadlock
It didn't take too long for Chelsea to break the deadlock

Chelsea started the game with a lot of hunger and were simply all over their counterparts in the first 15 minutes or so. Maurizio Sarri's men seemed to have adapted well into the new system as they pushed forward in numbers with quick passing and some great movement off the ball to fire on all cylinders very early on.

The players looked sharp from the word go and Chelsea were ahead as early as in the 8th minute when Alvaro Morata's trickery down the left side helped him unleash a shot on goal that was parried away by Samir Handanovic and straight to Pedro who made no mistake to find the back of the net for the opening goal.

The early goal gave Chelsea the upper hand as they continued to dominate Inter in terms of possession as the Nerazzurri struggled to keep up. However, as the game progressed there was some sort of hope offered by Antonio Candreva before Luciano Spalleti's substitutions completely turned the game in his side's favour in the second half.

Inter settled down and looked menacing at a few instances as Chelsea huffed and puffed to the full-time whistle despite their promising start.

#2 Hudson-Odoi stakes his claim at the top level

Hudson-Odoi impressed yet again
Hudson-Odoi impressed yet again

Chelsea's 17-year-old youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi just keeps getting better and better with every passing game and it's only fair that he is considered as the club's brightest prospect at this point of time. Hudson-Odoi started the game on the left flank, just like he did against Perth, and looked menacing every time he had a sniff of the ball.

The youngster was not shy of taking his man on and never looked like losing a one-on-one despite being one of the least experienced players out there on the pitch. He was arguably one of Chelsea's stand-out performers on the night and the club has to find a way to try and give him plenty of involvement with the first team for his overall development ahead of the upcoming season.

#3 Better from Morata but far from convincing

Morata enjoyed a lively start but faded off later
Morata enjoyed a lively start but faded off later

Alvaro Morata was Chelsea's best player in the opening 20 minutes of the game and there was this sense of determination about him in the initial stages, something that we haven't seen a lot from Morata at Chelsea. The Spaniard was constantly making runs to stretch Inter at the back and also drifted out wide to work the channels effectively as the Blues got off to a free-flowing start.

Chelsea's opening goal on the night was purely down to Morata's predatory instincts and sheer determination to make something happen early on as he took both Stefan De Vrij as well as Antonio Candreva for a toss before unleashing a powerful shot that was eventually parried out to the path of Pedro, who made it 1-0 in the 8th minute.

Morata had earlier leapt highest to find the back of the net with his head only for it to be flagged offside and proved to be a real headache for his opponents in the first half. However, he is still far from his destructive best and it was pretty evident during Chelsea's slightly poor second half spell in which he faded off and was eventually replaced..

#4 Bakayoko can't Sarriball

Bakayoko is not doing himself any favours at Chelsea
Bakayoko is not doing himself any favours at Chelsea

Chelsea's comical midfielder, Tiemoue Bakayoko, was yet again the victim of a disappointing performance after he came on in the second half. The Frenchman struggled with his positioning and was a huge let down with his wayward passing throughout the final forty-five minutes.

Despite being a towering presence in midfield, he was easily bullied off the ball and was largely at fault when Chelsea conceded the equalizer early on in the second half. Bakayoko has been linked with a loan move away from Stamford Bridge in the past few weeks and he has so far done very little to convince Maurizio Sarri in both pre-season games.

The midfielder might not be the best candidate to fill the desired role under Sarri's devised system at Chelsea and he could well be on his way out if he does not improve.

#5 Chelsea have just about 12 days to chop and change

Caballero might have saved a penalty but he can't be Chelsea's no 1
Caballero might have saved a penalty but he can't be Chelsea's no 1

With transfer deadline day coming a bit earlier than usual, Chelsea have just about 12 days to figure out their final squad for the upcoming Premier League season. The uncertainty surrounding the future of Thibaut Courtois is perhaps the most alarming one especially after considering Willy Caballero's performance on the night.

Caballero looked iffy since the start of the second half and struggled to handle the ball properly on various occasions before conceding the goal. The Argentine failed to get behind Roberto Gagliaridini's effort on goal and could only stretch his leg out to try and stop the shot, in which he failed, during the build-up to the goal conceded by Chelsea.

The 36-year-old might have managed to save a penalty in the shootout but if Courtois decides to leave before the end of the summer transfer window then it might be too late for Chelsea to find a replacement and with Caballero in goal, safety is far from assured.

Edited by Kishan Prasad


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