The Guardian, David Hytner: “Chelsea will go into Sunday’s Community Shield against Manchester United having failed to beat top-flight opposition in their pre-season. Their latest blip came when Yuri Zhirkov gifted the Hamburg midfielder Mladen Petric an equaliser in the 72nd minute with a back pass of staggeringly ill-conceived proportions.”
Official Chelsea FC Website: “A late goal consigned Chelsea to defeat in our final pre-season friendly at Hamburg on Wednesday evening. Substitute Heung Min Son’s strike with three minutes to go and Mladen Petric’s equaliser cancelled out Frank Lampard’s early opener in the Imtech Arena, as we suffered a third successive loss of the summer, following earlier defeats to Ajax and Eintracht Frankfurt. It wasn’t all bad news though as Didier Drogba came through his first 45 minutes of the pre-season calendar, promising news ahead of Sunday’s Community Shield date with Manchester United on Sunday”
Habs’ match summary
Hmmm…so what do we make of that? Before we start we should say that a fee for Ramires has officially been agreed so his arrival will provide some much needed pace and power in the middle of the pitch where we again looked lost when Lamps went off tonight. Lamps, Essien and Mikel looked very good together with some neat movement and possession football but as I said, as soon as the class and experience of Lamps is lost, our midfield goes missing.
But before we jump on the side for yet another sloppy and embarrassing defeat, we have to say that there were some positives, especially in the first half. Our pressing game high up the park and the movement between Frank, Flo and Anelka was very impressive. Ashley also looked full of running for an hour and Paulo and Branners were as steady as ever until our favourite Serb had his eye smashed in. And just to round off a very good first half, Carlo’s decision to pick Turnbull in goal proved to be the right one. He may look overweight but his kicking was exemplary and he even managed to make a few good saves. And yes, I know, Hamburg’s equaliser was a shocker, but it was hardly Ross’ fault that Yuri – who was abysmal by the way – decided to let Petric race through towards an open goal when we were controlling the game.
Of more concern were the familiar failings of the past few matches; principally, a lack of invention and yet more defensive howlers. Ricky’s ocean liner-esque turn for the winner would have been hilarious had it not confirmed the fact that Carlo needs to replace him, hopefully with David Luiz. We should rip Jose’s arm off if he is willing to offer £5m for Ricky because after six great years, it’s clear that he doesn’t want to be here any longer and that his pace has gone. But our attack also looked slow and rather one dimensional when Didier came on. He’s drastically unfit and matches will only help but whereas Anelka and Malouda combined well in a very fluid first half showing, we looked much more rigid with Didier lumbering about on his own. It was also rather strange to see Yossi come on and then rather get ignored by the rest of the side.
However, it’s not yet time to panic. Every pre-season defeat has told Carlo (and Roman) that this side needs improving and with Carlo saying that Ramires will be the first of three arrivals, the squad will get a boost. But despite three straight defeats, which should be a little worrying, the actual performance was a huge step up from the disastrous showings at Ajax and Frankfurt so with a load more training sessions before Sunday, we are still looking pretty good. No-one can say we’ve improved since the end of last season and our pre-season has been anything but great but with our rivals also standing still, there’s no reason to be too alarmed.