The Blues’ first full day in Japan began as many of the group had feared – off the back of a tough night’s sleep following the previous day’s 12-hour flight from west to east...
The Blues’ first full day in Japan began as many of the group had feared – off the back of a tough night’s sleep following the previous day’s 12-hour flight from west to east.
So far in The Land of the Rising Sun, the weather has been somewhat grey and humid, though nothing compared to the levels reached in other the more southerly areas of this Asia-Pacific region.
Wednesday marked another of those dreaded pre-season days – that of the double training session – and the first was definitely intense.
After a period of gym work it was out onto the pitch, with the squad split into different groups, taking directions from coaches Joe Edwards and Chris Jones, who put them through various exercises all focused on intense running but with the added interest of a football to chase.
Finishing exercises brought the best from a few of the lads – Davide Zappacosta and Olivier Giroud catching the eye with stunning volleys, while Willy Caballero produced a couple of excellent saves at full stretch. Nobody was easing off, despite some of this group still being in their first week back in training.
The venue for training prior to Friday’s match against Kawasaki Frontale is the Yokohama Mitsuzawa Stadium, a 15,000-capacity venue a short drive from the team hotel. Entirely open to the elements, it is the regular home of Yokohama FC who operate in the Japanese second tier.
After training it was back to the team hotel for lunch before four of the players, Marcos Alonso, Ross Barkley, Andreas Christensen and Tammy Abraham joined up for a game of FIFA 19 specially organised by our partners at EA Sports.
Alonso and Abraham teamed up as Chelsea, facing Barkley and Christensen, who conveniently, were also Chelsea. Of course, these lads are competitive characters and nobody wanted to lose, but there were still plenty of laughs to be had. We can’t tell you who won – for that you will have to wait to see the special video!
The evening training session took place in slightly less humid conditions, but there was still plenty of work for the squad to get through – there were though plenty of smiles as you can see from Michy Batshuayi and Danny Drinkwater’s smiles above!
Dinner back at the hotel was conducted in high spirits, before the entire squad and the head coach joined guests from our principle partner, Yokohama, for a special meet and greet event.
It was the last appointment in a long day for everybody. There are still another 48 hours before the Blues face Kawasaki at the International Stadium, venue for the 2002 World Cup final, but things are coming together well.