Chelsea’s pre-season got off to a less than ideal start on Wednesday night as the club drew 1-1 versus Irish side Bohemians in their opening pre-season fixture. While the result doesn’t represent much in terms of where Chelsea are currently at due to it being the first pre-season game of Frank Lampard’s reign, the 41-year-old needs to be wary of two things in pre-season which could potentially hamper the beginning of their season.
The first of the two things is the game time afforded to the youth players in pre-season fixtures. While on the face of it pre-season may not look that important, the next four weeks or so is huge in getting the players ready for the start of the Premier League campaign.
Chelsea have a tough start versus Manchester United and then at home to Leicester City a week later, and it is less than likely that many if any youth players will feature in those games. Players like Davide Zappacosta, Kurt Zouma, and Tiemoue Bakayoko were all left on the bench, as Chelsea started with a raft of youngsters like Dujon Sterling and Marc Guehi. Starting lineups often set the tone of the game, and Chelsea need to treat pre-season as if it is the Premier League.
The second is the most crucial of the two factors, the fitness of his players. This can be linked back to the first reason stated above. More experienced players should be given priority in order to gain the fitness required to start the season well. Lampard came out after yesterday’s draw and labelled fitness as the key issue following the draw versus Bohemians. It is just the first game following the return from holiday for Chelsea, however, Lampard needs to make sure he monitors the level of fitness throughout pre-season so that the players are ready on August the 11th.
Pre-season is a more important time for a club than many people will realise, it could set the tone for next season. Lampard needs to use it to get his senior players ready for what is a crucial season for Chelsea, following another summer of managerial change.