Less than a week to go until the new Premier League season and with very little known about the clubs, pre-season offers a small glimpse into what the season holds for the clubs. Top clubs have had respectable pre-seasons, especially Manchester United and Chelsea, and it is the latter I want to talk more on.
Our first pre-season match was supposed to be against Vitesse Arnhem – only, that was cancelled when Andre Villas-Boas was brought in. So really, our first was a behind-closed-doors friendly, playing against Wycombe Wanderers. This ended with a comfortable win, Chelsea winning 3-0 with a classy goal from Yossi Benayoun and one from Fernando Torres too.
After that was a match against Portsmouth. This was the first chance for the public to see the new man, but it wasn’t very convincing, with an own goal from former Chelsea man Tal Ben-Haim, his first Chelsea goal.
Then began our tour of Asia, first to Malaysia to play a Malaysian XI, which again ended in a narrow 1-0 win in front of a massive 84,980-strong crowd.
Then the style turned on. Two strong 4-0 wins against Thailand All-Stars and Kitchee, the Hong Kong league champions, had us all hoping that Villas-Boas could actually continue the attacking football he perfected so ruthlessly at Porto.
Then we has Premier League opposition, and the first time to get a glimpse of what it would be like in the Premier League for Andre Villas-Boas – a comfortable 2-0 here, winning our first silverware of the season: the Barclays Asia Trophy 2011.
Our final pre-season match was against Rangers. 3-1 we prevailed in Scotland, conceding our first and only goal in pre-season, and Frank Lampard missing his first penalty and only penalty of pre-season.
And now the hard work begins. We’ve seen Andre can do it – when there’s no pressure. We have the first silverware in the bag, but it will be the ones he has come May that will ultimately have the final say into how long his stay will be.
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