Chelsea suffered a 3-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the International Champions Cup as they continued their pre-season preparations at the National Stadium in Singapore.
The Blues, who cruised to a 3-0 win over Arsenal in their previous fixture, fell three goals behind in the first half before reducing the deficit through Marcos Alonso and Michy Batshuayi.
From Chelsea’s shaky start to Bayern Munich’s formidable strength in depth, here are five talking points from the game.
Alarm bells for Conte?
It is only pre-season and there are several weeks until the real stuff gets underway, but Conte will still be concerned by the manner in which Chelsea were torn apart in the opening stages. Bayern Munich’s three goals arrived in the space of just 21 minutes, and the scoreline could have been even worse before the Blues finally regained some composure.
Each goal was defensively poor from Chelsea’s perspective. First, Thibaut Courtois allowed Rafinha’s bouncing shot to creep in from 25 yards, then Frank Ribery easily beat an off-colour Cesar Azpilicueta to cross for the unmarked Muller to apply the finish. For the third goal, Muller was allowed to carry the ball forward from the centre circle unchallenged.
Conte can point to the fact that Bayern started their pre-season preparations long before Chelsea and he can also take heart from their fightback, but those early struggles showed he has plenty of work to do on the training field – and, perhaps, in the transfer market.
Alvaro Morata makes his bow
The biggest cheer of the night came when Alvaro Morata trotted onto the pitch for his first Chelsea appearance in the second half. The Spaniard, who only completed his £70m move from Real Madrid three days ago, was introduced in the 64th minute to partner Michy Batshuayi up front.
There was no goal to mark the occasion, but it was still a positive run-out. Morata showed flashes of his ability, including one moment when he launched a Chelsea attack with a driving run through the heart of Bayern’s midfield. He will hope to make his first start against Inter Milan.
Opportunities for Boga, Christiansen
Jeremie Boga was the man who made way for Morata. The 20-year-old attacker has spent the last two seasons on loan at Rennes and Granada, but he is now aiming to make an impression on Conte. Boga could not beat goalkeeper Tom Starke after latching onto a Cesc Fabregas pass in the first half, but his overall performance was positive, with his pace and power causing Bayern problems.
Another young player aiming to impress was Andreas Christensen. The 21-year-old Denmark international has impressed on loan at Borussia Monchengladbach over the last two seasons, but, like fellow centre-backs Azpilicueta and Gary Cahill, he struggled against Bayern. Christensen improved as the game wore on, but he might need to make more of his next opportunity.
Renato Sanches shines
Renato Sanches has endured something of a fall from grace since his dazzling displays for Portugal at Euro 2016, but his performance at the Singapore National Stadium suggests a return to form could be around the corner. The 19-year-old dominated central midfield against Chelsea, overpowering Cesc Fabregas and N’Golo Kante and distributing the ball intelligently.
Sanches snapped into challenges and won possession for his side high up the field, with Chelsea struggling to deal with his physicality. Manchester United and AC Milan have been linked with the young star after his difficult debut season at Bayern. On this evidence, however, Carlo Ancelotti might be inclined to keep him around.
Bayern show their strength
Bayern’s largely dominant performance is all the more impressive when you consider they were missing key players such as Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Arturo Vidal, Thiago Alcantara and Arjen Robben.
The German giants boast formidable strength in depth. As well as Sanches’ eye-catching performance, there were encouraging showings from new signings Corentin Tolisso and James Rodriguez. When the Champions League starts up again this season, Carlo Ancelotti’s side might take some stopping.Euro Soccer Bonus
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