Chelsea’s pre-season work stepped up a notch in the Cobham sunshine on Saturday morning as 22 players got their first minutes of the summer in a friendly against Peterborough United.
The Blues have been training under the watchful eye of Thomas Tuchel for the past few days at our Surrey base, with the likes of Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi having reported back last week following their summer break.
Our latest exertion saw newly-promoted Championship opposition invited to Cobham for a training match, in which Tuchel fielded two separate teams in the first and second half in order to spread early minutes around the squad.
The Posh opened the scoring from the penalty spot but Tuchel’s men finished a well-contested first half in the ascendancy as Abraham and Pulisic hit back, the latter also with a spot-kick that he had won.
All 10 outfield players were altered at the start of the second period, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Armando Broja, Conor Gallagher and Hakim Ziyech among those entering the fray, and it was the Moroccan who enjoyed himself the most after the break.
The 28-year-old netted an impressive hat-trick, the first of which was fired in off the underside of the crossbar following neat play down the left from Baba Rahman.
Broja then teed him up for a second before he pounced on a loose pass in the box to complete the scoring late on. Prior to that, Broja had also scored as the Blues stepped up the intensity in the second period.
With our Premier League opener against Crystal Palace now four weeks away, Tuchel will hope to step up preparations in the days to come. Pre-season friendlies against Bournemouth, Arsenal and Tottenham are planned in the coming weeks.