Chelsea picked up their first win of the summer in Ireland as goals from Mason Mount, Emerson and Olivier Giroud helped us to a 4-0 victory over St Patrick’s Athletic.
This was our second game of pre-season following a midweek runout against Bohemians and the win goes down as the first of the Frank Lampard managerial reign. Once again, there were plenty of opportunities for the younger players in the squad and it was 20-year old Mount who broke the deadlock after 15 minutes.
Emerson doubled our lead with half hour on the clock as the defender’s powerful strike beat the keeper from distance, before Olivier Giroud converted Kenedy’s cross from close range midway through the second half and then added a late fourth.
The result makes it a winning conclusion to our first tour of the summer and the team will now return home before flying out to Japan on Monday.
There was involvement for the first time this pre-season for David Luiz, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic from the start, as well as returning loanees Fikayo Tomori and Mount, following the staggered arrival of the squad in Dublin.
Added options meant the Blues lined up in a 4-4-2 shape with a midfield diamond and Michy Batshuayi alongside Tammy Abraham up front. In defence, Tomori partnered David Luiz at centre-back and Willy Caballero lined up in goal.
It was a bright start at Richmond Park in front of a sell-out crowd featuring plenty of blue shirts and vocal in their support of the Chelsea players and new head coach. On the field, Batshuayi was heavily involved throughout the opening 15 minutes, aiming to add to his goal against Bohemians three days previously.
The Belgian forced a save from Barry Murphy, the Pats goalkeeper, inside three minutes with a rasping low effort that required a strong hand from the Irishman to palm it behind. A driven corner from Mount then caused problems as David Luiz raced to the front post to meet the delivery and flick it towards goal, though Batshuayi missed his connection by inches.
Only the woodwork denied the 25-year old shortly after as he picked up a clever pass from Mount and moved into space on the edge of the box before rattling the top of the crossbar. However, the breakthrough arrived with 15 minutes on the clock as Mount, playing his first senior game for the club he’s been signed at since the age of eight, opened the scoring.
Jorginho was instrumental with an incisive pass played into the feet of his fellow midfielder, who had floated in behind the home defence with an intelligent run. The England Under-21 international took control of the ball and displayed quick footwork to manoeuvre it away from the keeper and into the back of the net.
St Patrick’s were struggling to cope with the speed of the game in midfield and Chelsea chances continued to come freely. Batshuayi was twice thwarted, first by a brave block and then an excellent last-ditch tackle from David Webster, before Abraham fired over from the right.
The frame of the goal denied us again as the half-hour mark approached, with Barkley’s effort crashing against the post. Our number eight had fashioned space to shoot from 20 yards and Murphy was beaten, though the woodwork saved the home keeper.
It was 2-0 before the break though, our second goal smashed in by Emerson from distance. The Italian picked up the ball in his advanced left-back position and took up the invitation to shoot from the retreating defenders. His connection was sweet and the ball swerved a little but Murphy will have been disappointed to be beaten in the middle of his goal.
However, the man between the Pats sticks redeemed himself soon after as he kept out Batshuayi with an excellent reflex save up high. He then denied Barkley from a free-kick and smothered at the feet of Abraham following a neat pass threaded forward by Kovacic.
The half-time break brought a raft of Chelsea changes as Lampard switched all 11 players in order to share minutes throughout his squad. The introductions also saw a change in shape as the Blues came out for the second period in a 4-2-3-1, with Olivier Giroud leading the line and Cesar Azpilicueta picking up the captain’s armband at full-back.
Another fast start from the visitors saw opportunities come quickly. Kasey Palmer was first to put Murphy back to work before Giroud went for a spectacular attempt that didn’t quite come off. Our full-backs remained high despite the change in shape further forward, while Pedro and Palmer combined to good effect in the space behind Giroud.
Murphy remained the busiest man in the ground throughout much of the half, saving smartly from Pedro and then Kenedy, before the Brazilian provided the assist for our third goal with 22 minutes remaining. Operating from the left, he swung in an inch-perfect cross and Giroud was on hand to finish on the half-volley.
The Pats had played a Europa League qualifier just a few days previously so they also made plenty of substitutions as the game went on. Teenage striker Eric Molloy came on and was a familiar face to the Blues defenders having scored against us while on trial for Bohemians earlier in the week. However, he was unable to secure a small piece of football history by scoring against Chelsea twice in four days.
With the contest won and almost over, Giroud struck again to double his personal tally in the final moments of the action. Latching on to a ball down the left, he advanced into the box and produced a precise finish to find the far bottom corner.
Plenty of hard work and positives from our nine-day stay in Ireland. A day's rest will follow before our flight to Japan at the start of next week, where we will take on Kawasaki Frontale and Barcelona.
First Half Chelsea XI Caballero; Zappacosta, Tomori, David Luiz (c), Emerson; Jorginho, Mount, Kovacic, Barkley; Abraham, Batshuayi
Second Half Cumming, Alonso, Zouma, Christensen, Azpilicueta (c), Bakayoko, Gilmour, Giroud, Kenedy, Pedro, Palmer
Scorers Mount 15; Emerson 31; Giroud 68, 88