MATCH REPORT: CHELSEA 3 WYCOMBE WANDERERS 0
Twenty-three Chelsea players experienced their first match action of the pre-season programme as Wycombe Wanderers were beaten at Cobham on Tuesday evening.
Yossi Benayoun, Fernando Torres and 22-year-old centre-back Slobodan Rajkovic, who spent last season on loan at Vitesse Arnhem, found the net in a 'behind-closed-doors' encounter against the League One side. As is frequently the case in the opening match at this stage of the preparations, no Chelsea player was asked to play for longer than 45 minutes.
There was a mixture of senior and younger players in both the first half and second half selections. Hilario began the game in goal and made two straightforward saves in the opening minutes, his busiest period, before Benayoun juggled in the opener with only four minutes on the clock.
The Israeli controlled a dropping ball inside the area and kept it airborne with two further touches, the second over the goalkeeper who tried to claw it back out with a despairing dive but not before it had crossed the line.
Scott Rendell missed a chance for Wycombe after the experienced Gareth Ainsworth played a good ball over the top of the Chelsea defence. It turned out to be the visitors' best opening of the first half.
Benayoun would have added a second goal on 17 minutes had he put more height on his chip after Didier Drogba played him through. Instead keeper Nikki Bull caught and moments later he denied Chelsea again with his legs when Drogba was given a one-on-one chance by Florent Malouda's pass. A mid-season Didier would have scored.
Chelsea were in control and beginning to link up well with passes on the deck. On 29 minutes, John Terry, taking the ball off the toes of Malouda, shot just wide.
The Blues were causing Wycombe problems down their left, with Malouda worming past the full-back on one occasion, and then Jose Bosingwa hitting the inside of the far post when he drilled the ball hard into the box towards Drogba.
At the other end, Van Aanholt defended strongly when Kevin Betsy tried to burst past the Dutch Under 21 international down the flank.
Chelsea won a corner just before the interval when a Malouda shot was deflected just wide and although Drogba rose well to Kakuta's deadball delivery, he powered a header just over.
It was all change for the second half and Chelsea's new keeper, Ross Turnbull was tested early by Kadeem Harris's shot.
Nicolas Anelka was sharp in playing a ball through a small gap on 51 minutes but Torres's first time shot was stopped by Bull who spread himself well, but a minute later the same combination did come up with the goods, the Spaniard sweeping Anelka's pass into the net with aplomb from inside the area to make it 2-0.
The third goal came four minutes later after young midfielder Billy Clifford, back from the knee operation that ended his Youth Cup campaign early last season, played a part in winning a corner. It was delivered from the right by Yury Zhirkov, headed on by Torres, and was sweetly volleyed home by Rajkovic who was playing his first Chelsea game after a series of loans.
Anelka saw his header from another Zhirkov corner headed over on the hour and Cole made one of his famous lung-busting runs forward to take over a move from Anelka and Kalou, but the ball was bundled out of play.
With 20 minutes to go Cole and Torres combined down the left, the England man taking a return pass but shooting wide of the far post, and then when the ball broke well for Anelka moments later, his shot from just inside the area was tipped wide.
Anelka shot wide of his own accord with 10 minutes left on the clock after exchanging passes with Torres, Chelsea's interchange and movement continuing to work well, and five minutes later Kalou deserved a goal after taking a McEachran pass and neatly sidestepping a challenge, only for his curled shot to rebound back off an upright.
Torres was denied another goal on 89 minutes when a defender slid across to block a fierce drive. The striker had been fed by Jacob Mellis who shared the second half with Clifford. That was the last incident of the game.
With goals, a clean sheet and a clean bill of health coming out of the game, an important step in Andre Villas-Boas's build-up to his first season in charge had been made.
Chelsea are next in action on Saturday away to Portsmouth, a game that kicks-off at 3pm and will be screened live and exclusive by Chelsea TV (build-up [2.30pm-3pm] will be free to all Sky Digital customers.)
Chelsea (first-half): Hilario; Bosingwa, Kalas, Terry (c), Van Aanholt; Malouda, Kaby, Mikel, Kakuta; Benayoun, Drogba.
Chelsea (second-half): Turnbull; Ferreira (c), Ivanovic, Rajkovic, Cole; B. Clifford (Mellis 65), McEachran, Zhirkov, Kalou; Anelka, Torres.
Wycombe (first-half): Bull; Foster, Sandell (Dunne), Winfield, Tunnicliffe (Stewart); Halls, Lewis, Betsy; Ainsworth, Grant, Rendell.
Wycombe (second-half): Bull (Arnold), McCoy, Sandell, Johnson, Tunnicliffe; Harris, Donnelly, Bloomfield, McClure (Ibe); Beavon, Strevens.