The Blues slumped to a hapless defeat on the South Coast with a 3-1 defeat at the splendid Amex Stadium against Brighton & Hove AlbionFrank Lampard opened the scoring on 37 minutes, but the home side struck back quickly through Vincente before taking control of the match and adding two more, the first from Ashley Barnes a minute before the break and the third from Andrew Crofts with four minutes remaining.
It was a very strong looking Chelsea side took to the field.Chelsea had the first attempt on goal, on eight minutes, but an untypical fluffed free-kick by Frank Lampard which, 25 yards out arrowed straight into the expectant wall and was cleared to safety. Torres, alone up front, finally got a touch on the ball on 22 minutes, but was easily dispossessed. A quick counter-attack in the 35th minute saw the ball fed to Ramires, the Brazil midfielder took one touch before sending a right-sided low drive towards Torres just outside the Brighton area. The Spain forward dummied the ball, letting it run underneath him, and the in-running Lampard gleefully stroked the ball past Kuszczak.
But defensive frailties, that bedevilled our last campaign, returned two minutes later when Brighton equalised when midfielder Vincente tucked home from just inside the Blues area with a smart left footer which just beat the outstretched left arm of Cech. Meireles’ failure of simple clearance allowed Will Buckley to race clear on goal, while the ball was slid to Ashley Barnes- who rammed the ball past Cech with a fine left footer from just inside the Chelsea penalty area. The hapless Meireles was hauled off at half time by boss Roberto Di Matteo, to be replaced by Mikel.
On 52 minutes, just after Torres produced some excellent defensive work, he conspired to make a hash of what he’s in the side to do – and that’s score. He hacked over the bar, when free inside the Brighton area. Cech was forced into an excellent save when Vincente was allowed to run 40 yards unhindered and let fly a fierce left footer drive. The Cech Republic stopper dived acrobatically to his right to turn the ball away for a corner. John Terry left the pitch to the cheers of the Chelsea fans on 60 minutes with Brazil centre-back David Luiz replacing the skipper. Reserve goalkeeper got some minutes on the pitch when he replaced Cech on 64 minutes Turnbull was soon in action, tipping away for a corner a fine hear-post header by Barnes. But this was a result of Luiz going walkabout and when, dispossessed of the ball, Brighton launched the almost fatal counter-attack which skied over from just inside the Chelsea area. Meanwhile, Lukaku entered the pitch a minute later, ending the action for misfiring Torres.
“There won’t be any radical changes,” De Matteo revealed after the game. “I am happy with the squad that we have. As far as right-back is concerned, we have Paulo Ferreira and young Sam Hutchinson who can play there, so, at the moment, we have some cover.”
Brighton could have sealed the game with seven minutes remaining when man-of-the-match Vincente saw his 25-yard free kick inch over Turnbull crossbar. Eden Hazard, had his first effort on goal two minutes later but he lasted over. A minute later and Chelsea conceded a third, when David Luiz fell to the ground after a robust challenge from Barnes. Expecting a free kick, Chelsea stopped playing, waiting for the referee’s whistle. This error was punished when Andrew Crofts played on, raced forward and tucked home leaving exposed Turnbull to rue dive haplessly to his right as the ball zipped past him into the net.
Next up for the Blues is the Community Shield at Villa Park next Sunday against Manchester City. Hope we stand up after a pathetic pre-season. Never-the-less, a pre-season is a pre-season, right guys??!!!
- Chelsea crash to a 3-1 defeat at Brighton (101greatgoals.com)
- Brighton 3-1 Chelsea (guardian.co.uk)
- Club friendlies wrap: Chelsea lose at Brighton (soccerway.com)
- Di Matteo unhappy with lack of effort (soccerway.com)
- Brighton 3 Chelsea 1 (thesun.co.uk)