Defending Premier League champions Chelsea recently begun their stretch of pre-season friendlies, kicking things off in Beijing against the last side they played in competitive competition: Arsenal.
The Blues cruised to a 3-0 win over their FA Cup Final adversary from last season in a game that saw essentially their regular starting XI in place, minus their soon-to-be ex-talisman Diego Costa.
Michy Batshuayi deputised in the Spaniard’s absence, taking the opportunity to show Antonio Conte why Chelsea splashed £33.2 million for his services just over a year ago; the Belgian scored two perfectly executed curling efforts against a hapless David Ospina and was arguably Chelsea’s best player on the pitch.
Willian also registered on the scoresheet to round out a miserable outing for Arsene Wenger’s men, though The Gunners did not depart without leaving a mark on the reigning league champions.
Pedro was unfortunately involved in a collision with David Ospina, suffering a concussion and facial injuries which forced him from the field on 29 minutes. The Spaniard spent the night in a Beijing hospital and will return to London soon, and is unlikely to feature in Chelsea’s upcoming fixtures in Singapore.
Chelsea will participate in the International Champions Cup against Bayern Munich on Tuesday and Inter Milan on Saturday – the last of their short list of friendlies ahead of yet another meeting with Arsenal, this time in the Community Shield.
Chelsea squad for the ICC:
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois, Willy Caballero, Eduardo
Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill, David Luiz, Antonio Rudiger, Tomas Kalas, Andreas Christensen, Marcos Alonso, Jake Clarke-Salter, Fikayo Tomori, Victor Moses, Kenedy
Midfielders: Cesc Fabregas, N’Golo Kante, Mario Pasalic, Lewis Baker, Kyle Scott, Charly Musonda Jr, Jeremie Boga
Attackers: Pedro, Willian, Michy Batshuayi, Loic Remy, Alvaro Morata
Antonio Conte’s inclusion of Alvaro Morata to the squad will give Chelsea fans the first chance to see their record signing in action for The Blues.
The 24-year-old is under huge pressure to live up to his £58 million price-tag, a fee which places him above Fernando Torres as the club’s most expensive signing. Morata will be eager to avoid heading down the same path as Torres who, despite achieving numerous club honours in his time at Chelsea, largely failed to deliver the kinds of performances he became synonymous for during his time with Liverpool.
Antonio Rudiger has also been added to the squad for the ICC fixtures, while Tiemoue Bakayoko remains in London to work on his fitness.