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Perth Glory vs Chelsea FC
International Pre-season Friendly
|Perth Glory||Chelsea FC|
Chelsea have beaten the Perth Glory 1-nil at Optus Stadium, but the home side have held their head high, pushing the EPL team all the way towards the end.
The affair was entertaining at times, but hardly thrilling, as Chelsea held possession with ease, and essentially eased their way into the final three weeks before the next EPL season.
Chelsea’s domination of possession saw them enjoy over 70% of the ball, as Perth chased the game from the get-go. When Pedro volleyed home in the 5th minute, there were nerves everywhere that it was going to be a long night for the home side.
However, Perth changed things up in the second half, and while both teams drastically changed their line-ups, the introduction of Diego Castro and Brendan Santalab, as well as Jason Davidson, brought a bit more life and precision to the Glory side. Certainly, they would have given Tony Popovic some positive vibes for the upcoming season.
For Chelsea, Sarri was left frustrated at chances that were not taken, and the other chance or two that was given to Perth, and he will feel that his work in progress has a fair way to progress.
An otherwise great night of football in Perth, on an evening where not even the heavy downpour mid-match could dampen the spirits of the players on the park, and the spectators in the fabulous new stadium.
Perth Glory 0
Chelsea FC 1
The pre-season begins in earnest for A-League challengers Perth Glory and reigning FA Cup winners and perennial EPL giants Chelsea at Optus Stadium in Perth. Join The Roar for live scores and updates from the match at 9:30pm (AEST).
With the 2018 World Cup feeling like a veritable lifetime ago (that week of normal sleeping patterns well and truly coming as a welcome relief to millions of Australians), the international football continues on Australian shores.
It will be something of an historical point of interest that both of these club sides are the first official outing for their respective coaches.
For Tony Popovic, the match signals multiple returns. His return to Australia and his return to the A-League, as he seeks to replicate the sustained success he enjoyed in one western setting at another.
Popovic also signals the changing of the guard on several fronts for Perth, as the likes of Matt Spiranovic, Ivan Franjic and Jason Davidson join the Glory, as well as Tomislav Mrcela, all of whom would be eager to impress their new coach and new home fans.
When you add in the likes of Tando Velaphi, Fabio Ferreira, Juande, and Popovic’s reunion with striker Brendon Santalab, it is a case of the truly great unknown for Perth, and they would be wise to treat the occasion as a chance to experiment, but equally, perform and test themselves against the best.
Which brings us to the real stars of the show.
It feels like another off-season, another coaching change at Chelsea, and in this instance, the departure of Antonio Conte at least saw him finishing up after a relatively lengthy stay of two entire seasons.
Maurizio Sarri arrives with his own relative success at Napoli, though without the trophies to show for it.
It is on the player front though that Chelsea truly are at their most intriguing.
Chelsea come into their next EPL campaign without any real certainty surrounding their brightest stars in Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois, both of whom are the subjects of intense speculation that they will be departing.
And while both those players are enjoying an extended break after their World Cup campaign, that uncertainty will still be felt by their teammates.
Cesc Fabregas has been stupendous in public, having spoken to the media with all the calm and maturity that you would expect of a player of his stature.
But you can’t help but feel that after a long off-season of talk for these England-based players, most of them will be itching just to get onto the field and start playing.
While the scoreline will ultimately be trivial, it will be how Perth aim up against their more storied opponents that will be the true test for the integrity of this match. If Perth can jag a goal, that would be even better. Chelsea will be expected to entertain, and entertain they will.
Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 9:30pm (AEST), and don’t forget to leave your comments in the comments section below.