Match report: Chelsea 2 Real Sociedad 0

Two Diego Costa goals early in the first half settled the final pre-season game of the summer, both close-range finishes, the second after Andre Schurrle had hit a post.

A clean sheet, few chances conceded against good Spanish opposition, no obvious injuries suffered and action given to 21 players with some outfielders playing over three-quarters of the game – there was plenty to please Jose Mourinho on the night at a packed Stamford Bridge.  

Diego Costa threatened again soon after half-time but this time shot wide before substitutes Fernando Torres and Oscar in turn went close late in the game.

 

Team News

Thibaut Courtois, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa began a match at Stamford Bridge for the first time in Chelsea shirts, Fabregas initially lining up behind the new centre-forward in the no.10 role.

The tried-and-trusted centre-back partnership from last season of Gary Cahill and John Terry resumed with Branislav Ivanovic on the right and Nathan Ake at left-back. Eden Hazard and Andre Schurrle were the wide attackers and Ramires joined Nemanja Matic in central midfield.  

 

First Half

Before the final pre-season action of the summer kicked off, the first team squad for the coming season were introduced one by one along a blue carpet rolled out on the fresh, re-laid turf, a guard of honour formed by young participants from the Chelsea Foundation’s Soccer Schools and six flame-throwers close by.

There were big cheers for all with Schurrle able to be introduced as a World Cup winner and Didier Drogba welcomed back in blue this time rather than the colours of Galatasaray, although he was not fit to play tonight. Included in the 25 was Andreas Christensen, the 18-year-old central defender who was part our Under-21 League and FA Youth Cup winning sides last season.   

The players made a lap of appreciation around a stadium filling to capacity and soon it was time to test themselves against a side who finished seventh in the Spanish top flight last season, the game beginning in filthy weather for August – the dark clouds and heavy rain if nothing else showcasingthe new LED floodlight illuminations.  

There was brilliance on the pitch too so soon after kick-off, as Ramires ran onto a pass from Ivanovic and from the edge of the area fed Diego Costa. The new striker calmly rolled the ball home for a lead after only 58 seconds.

The Blues could have been further ahead before three minutes were up had Ramires not scooped an Ivanovic pass wide.

We didn’t have to wait long. Chelsea played forward from deep with Andre Schurrle taking aim from the ‘D’ and curling the ball past keeper Zubikarai but onto the post. Diego Costa was a centre-forward in the right position right in the middle to touch the ball home. The flag stayed down and the Blues were 2-0 up with just six minutes played.

 

Chelsea v Real Sociedad

Twelve minutes later, Real Sociedad troubled Courtois for the first time but Esteban Granero’s shot cleared the far post.

That was a rare loosening of control from Mourinho’s men. Fabregas was frequently dropping deep to pull strings as Ramires pushed forward in a flexible midfield

Diego Costa, who earlier in the game had stood immensely strong to shrug off two opponents out wide before heading to goal, had a tame shot saved before a silky advance involving Hazard and Fabregas ended with a foul on Diego Costa.

The free-kick was in a promising position. Hazard smacked it low and through the Spanish defences but Zubikarai pushed the ball out. This time no Chelsea boot was there to take advantage. 

 

SECOND HALF

Four changes were made at the interval: Azpilicueta for Cahill with Ivanovic moving in to the centre; Filipe Luis a straight swap for Ake; Oscar coming on for Ramires with Fabregas dropping deeper more permanently; and Schurrle replaced by Willian.

It was the Brazilian winger who opened up the game for the first chance of the half, spotting space for Hazardto charge onto the ball.

 

 

Chelsea v Real Sociedad

The Belgian showed the Sociedad left-back a clean pair of heels but Diego Costa shot wide when the ball was squared.

That was the last opportunity for a hat-trick on his first Chelsea appearance at home with Fernando Torres a substitute on the hour.

Fabregas, who minutes earlier made a good case for one of his shots being illegally stopped by the arm of a defender just outside the area, came off for John Mikel Obi with 20 minutes to go but it was two earlier substitutes who combined to go close moments later. Filipe Luis’s cross to the far post was good, as wasTorres’s headed attempt, jumping between two markers, but the ball went a couple of feet wide. 

Chelsea hadn’t been stretched at the back much but when we were a combination of quality sliding challenges by first Terry and then Filipe Luis ended a Spanish attack to plenty of applause. Terry made way for Christensen late on but the action remained at the other end of the pitch. Oscar was much involved and cleared the bar with one shot before having a better one well-saved.

The final whistle blew and now all attention turns to the opening of a new league campaign, with Chelsea completing the first weekend’s fixtures when we head to Turf Moor on Monday to take on newly promoted Burnley. 

MATCH FACTS

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Ivanovic (Zouma 80), Cahill (Azpilicueta h-t), Terry (c) (Christensen 87), Ake (Filipe Luis h-t); Matic (Van Ginkel 80), Fabregas (Mikel 71); Ramires (Oscar h-t), Hazard (Salah 80),Schurrle (Willian h-t); Diego Costa (Torres 60).
Unused substitutes CechSchwarzerMoses.
Scorer Diego Costa 1, 6

Real Sociedad (4-1-2-1-2): Zubikarai, Zaldua (Martínez 58), Ansotegi (Gonzalez 10), Inigo Martínez, De la Bella (Berchichie 70); Bergera (Elustondo 58), Granero (Estrada 65), Pardo (Pablo 70), Prieto (c) (Berchichie 70); Agirretxe (Castro 65), Canales (Oyarzun 70).
Unused substitutes Rulli, Bardaji, Hernandez.

Referee Craig Pawson
Crowd 41,201