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Chelsea’s Pochettino’s Era Begins With A Massive Win

Chelsea win 5-0 in a pre-season friendly with Conor Gallagher, Ben Chilwell and new signing Christopher Nkunku on the scoresheet.

Kenan Stadium in North Carolina hosted English sides Chelsea and Wrexham last night in a very much anticipated game by football fans. All eyes were on Chelsea as this was the team’s first game under their new head coach, Mauricio Pochettino. Not to forget that he put up almost entirely new starting XI for the Blues.

Even though under immense pressure from prying eyes and the scrutiny of tabloids, Chelsea managed to pick up a dominant win, ending the game at 5-0.

First half performance

Chelsea have been struggling to score goals for the past year, but all that ended last night. Just three minutes into the game, 21-year-old Ian Maatsen scored after a brilliant run and assist from striker Nicolas Jackson. Maatsen scored his second of the night, with him and Carney Chukwuemeka playing the ball between themselves in the midst of Wrexham’s defense before Maatsen found the back of the net.

The first half came to an end, but somewhat prematurely as Chelsea was mid-counterattack when the referee blew his whistle. Pochettino, who had previously mentioned that he would not treat the match as a friendly but rather with the same mindset he would treat any other game, backed his words up by showing his irritation towards the referee.

Second half performance

Come the second half, Pochettino made a lumpsome of changes to the lineup and the game moved to a slow tempo. Christopher Nkunku, Raheem Sterling, Connor Gallagher and Ben Chilwell were among those brought on for Chelsea. Meanwhile, Wrexham changed goalkeeper, with Ben Foster coming off for Rob Lainton.

Almost immediately, Wrexham had the opportunity to score their first goal of the night with Paul Mullin, but he delivered the ball into an empty space, landing at the feet of no one and out for a throw-in instead. And with change seemingly needed at the 61st minute, Wrexham made 6 changes.

Later, Trevor Chalobah tried to find Ben Chilwell but a great opportunity was missed, and a few minutes later, Cesare Casadei crossed the ball to Raheem Sterling who in a burst of enthusiasm wasn’t able to control the ball. Redemption did though come Sterling’s way when he had to lay the ball off towards Conor Gallagher, who then stroked the ball past the goalkeeper and into the goal, making it 3-0 for Chelsea.

Christopher Nkunku who had barely seen the ball in the second half finally got his golden opportunity. He caught a glorious through-ball by Cesare Casadei and handled it well despite the goalkeeper knocking the ball off his feet, and eventually hitting the back of the net. It was a great recovery by the Frenchman.

As if four goals were not enough, three minutes into extra time, English left-back Ben Chilwell added his name as the final one on the scoresheet for the night. After a lovely pass by Angelo Gabriel that sliced through the defense, Ben Chilwell chipped the ball over the goalkeeper and scored a beauty to end the game nicely for the Blues.

Positive signs

The goals weren’t the only impressive picks of the night. The new signings showed some promising signs. Ian Maatsen and Nicolas Jackson were the most impressive to watch in the first half having created excellent opportunities. Other good mentions are Malo Gusto, who was impressive in attacking while also recovering to defend, and Andrey Santos who had great control and rarely gave the ball away.

Angelo Gabriel showed brilliance in his passes and the way he moved the ball around whilst Christopher Nkunku having had a quiet game as a No. 9, showed his potential when he had the opportunity to play in spaces he was more comfortable in. Not to mention Cesare Casadei who had a good physical midfield presence over the 90 minutes, and set up Nkunku’s goal.

As for the faces that Chelsea were already used to, Trevor Chalobah and Ben Chilwell both had the opportunity to wear the Captain’s armband displayed great leadership skills, and played a big role in ensuring this Chelsea win. Conor Gallagher played like someone who was fighting for his place, and scored a very much deserving goal. Carney Chukwuemeka was good on the eye and looked like a potential replacement for Mason Mount and created the second goal. Sterling was also lively and showed good signs.

Facing a newly promoted League Two team that couldn’t provide tough competition, isn’t the best benchmarker, but looking back at the very poor season that they’ve just come out of, there was huge progress that cannot go unnoticed. The Argentine’s first game in charge of Chelsea is a positive sign. It is a new dawn and a new era for Chelsea Football Club.

The Blues’ next game is against another English side, Brighton, (tougher than Wrexham) this Saturday in Philadelphia 7pm local time.



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