With a match against a local side at the team’s training pitches in Ireland having been cancelled, an in-house game of Chelsea versus Chelsea replaced that next stage in the pre-season preparations.
Taking place on a warm Thursday evening, and as might be expected when players who have been training together so regularly in recent days took each other on, the contest was tight and well-balanced, and ended in a 1-1 draw.
It took until the second half for the goals to come. The 45 minutes of the match were split in two with no break apart from to change ends, and it was the side with no bibs who came under early pressure. Jamie Cumming saved from Christian Pulisic and was then lobbed by Hakim Ziyech but the ball was not heading towards the target.
The bibbed side started to come into the game, as shown when Davide Zappacosta’s strong run to the line ended with a dangerous drive low across the face of goal, but no-one from either side could get a touch.
The bibs were also using cross-field balls to find space for Callum Hudson-Odoi to exploit. With one of his attacks, he found Ziyech for a shot that lacked the power to beat Kepa so the second period began with the game still awaiting a goal, although that wait would not be much longer.
Before the first goal, Lewis Baker, playing in a defensive position, ambitiously went for goal from distance and was on target, but his shot was saved, unlike the one from Hudson-Odoi after he attacked with the ball at pace having collected a Dujon Sterling pass midway inside the opponents’ half. The winger’s sweet strike rippled the net.
With his side in need of a response, Ziyech was at the centre of events for a spell. First the Moroccan had a shot saved when teed up by Marcos Alonso and then after a mazy, penetrating run, a stronger strike was also kept out.
The equaliser came 10 minutes after the opening goal when Alonso played the ball into Ziyech, who found Armando Broja for a close-range finish.
The bibs tried to respond quickly after conceding that equaliser, with Hudson-Odoi chipping a deft cross towards the back post, but Alonso was well placed to clear from under his own crossbar.
Broja might have added to his tally with a winner when he broke forward powerfully with the bibbed side’s defence stretched but Danny Drinkwater did well to deal with that attack, to leave only one more effort on goal at either end – that by Hudson-Odoi from a short corner, kept out by Kepa.