Chelsea got their 2021/22 pre-season campaign off to the perfect start as they thumped League One’s Peterborough 6-1 on Saturday.
Thomas Tuchel gave plenty of minutes to returning loanees and fringe players, but unfortunately, there was no public stream of the game, so fans are still somewhat in the dark over what went on.
Fortunately, there have been a few brief updates from those close to the club, so by piecing all the bits together, here’s what we learned from the game.
1. Hakim Ziyech woke up feeling dangerous.
Hakim Ziyech has seen his name thrown around in a lot of transfer rumours this summer, with reports suggesting his time at Chelsea could be up already.
Whatever’s going on behind the scenes, it’s obviously not impacting the Moroccan on the pitch.
A second-half hat-trick from Ziyech will have made a significant impact on Tuchel, who will have been relieved to see the 28-year-old dominate in a match like this.
2. Armando Broja is up for a fight
With Olivier Giroud now gone and Tammy Abraham tipped to follow him out the door, there’s at least one spot for a new striker this summer, and 19-year-old Armando Broja wants it.
Fresh off the back of bagging ten goals with Vitesse last season, Broja was excellent in the second, netting his own goal and helping set one up for Ziyech.
It’s that kind of form which has Chelsea so excited about Broja, and it’s a huge relief to see him on the verge of signing a new long-term contract.
3. Tammy Abraham isn’t giving up
You really have to feel for Abraham. Despite scoring goals at a better rate than anyone else in the squad, the opportunities just aren’t coming and he’s expected to leave Chelsea this summer.
Abraham would be forgiven for accepting defeat at this point, but he’s still going strong and did his job against Peterborough with a composed first-half finish.
He’s clearly willing to try claw his way back into the fold, and you’ve just got to respect that.
4. Tuchel isn’t desperate to change formation
Despite suggestions that Tuchel could turn to a 4-3-3 this season, the boss stuck to his trusty 3-4-2-1 in this game.
He didn’t really have the numbers needed to keep with a three-man defence (Matt Miazga was the only actual centre-back on the pitch at full time), but his determination to do so suggests he’s not interested in changing.
It would take a brave man to tinker with the set-up that just won him the Champions League, and it seems Tuchel recognises that.
5. But there are plenty of options at centre-back
Chelsea are on the hunt for a new centre-back this summer, and there were a few players who were given the chance to audition for the role.
Miazga was the only centre-back of the second half, but early on, there were minutes for Jake Clarke-Salter, Malang Sarr and Trevoh Chalobah, who has been more of a midfielder in senior football but shone at the back at academy level.
Of that group, it’s Sarr with the best chance of getting into Tuchel’s plans, and the Frenchman was spotted getting some one-to-one words of advice from the boss during the game.