Stamford Bridge played host to the first team as they put on a training session for a sellout 5,000 fans, who were seated in the West Lower. It was a chance for the fans to really connect with the squad and management, something which has been lacking in recent years.
Chelsea put on ‘entertainment’ beforehand which caught the eye of absolutely no one, before interviews with Tore Andre Flo, Petr Cech and Frank Lampard, which went down well. In the background to this were Jody Morris, Joe Edwards and Chris Jones, who after setting up the drills in preparation for the session, were pinging the ball around and having a laugh. You saw Chris Jones carrying some balls across to the goal, realised Joe had kicked the ball to him, dropped what he was carrying and launched a ball to Jody. It was a great insight into how good the morale in the camp is and how close the staff are.
Notable absentees from the session were N’Golo Kante and Pedro for reasons that are not yet clear, although it’s presumably extra rest after a frantic first week of the season. Kenedy was also absent, as he perhaps heads out on loan. Tiemoue Bakayoko was involved, despite being linked with a return to Monaco on loan. The best news was the return of Toni Rüdiger and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who both looked sharp and close to a return to action.
The training began with some stretches, with jokes being made, particularly between Willian and Emerson. They then progressed onto using the elastic bands, as one player wrapped it round themselves and the other held onto the end as they walked away. The same was done with jumping, and then a sequence of hurdles were done, before the squad was ready for more competitive play. While all this was going on, Frank, Jody and Joe were pinging the ball around, which was great viewing.
Next up were the rondos as the squad was split into two teams, one of which looked very much like a potential lineup for Norwich, although it’s unlikely Lampard would reveal publicly his ideas so soon.
The stronger non bibs team was: Kepa, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Zouma, Alonso, Jorginho, Kovacic, Mount, Pulisic, Abraham, Willian
There was a strong morale in the camp as nutmegs were flying in, particularly involving Tammy Abraham who fell victim three times, before getting one back himself. Jody and Lamps both joined in with the rondos as well, and they’ve definitely still got it.
There was then a match scenario without goals, with an emphasis on quick transitions. Lampard had said previously that this was something to work on, and this drill continued for about 10 minutes with certain restrictions such as a two-touch limit applied at points. Players would flood one half and be put under pressure by the opposing team and have to accurately and quickly transition up the field.
Then came the shooting drills, with pairs of players lined up at either end of each goal, and crosses coming in from Lampard and Jody, as the players tried to finish past Kepa, Caballero or Cumming. There were some great goals and some not so great attempts, but the highlight was a delightful chip from Giroud, who impressed throughout.
Finally, there was a crossing and finishing drill, with Chelsea’s full backs out wide and the attackers attempting to finish off the crosses. The conversion rate was very poor and let’s just say that a return for Reece James will be very welcome.
It was a great session put on by Lampard, and hopefully it’s something that will happen more regularly. Chelsea play Norwich at Carrow Road on Saturday and will be hoping to collect their first three points of the season.