BNI Indonesia vs. Chelsea: 5 Things We Learned
Jose Mourinho rounded off his return to the Chelsea dugout in style as the Blues crushed BNI Indonesia 8-1 at the Gelora Bung Karno stadium in Jakarta, which made it three wins from three in their final game of the 'Here to Play, Here to Stay' tour of Asia.
The West London outfit had won their previous games 1-0 and 4-1 in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur respectively, and after travelling to Indonesia for the first time, the Blues gave a frightening preview into just how well they are playing under Mourinho.
Ramires bagged a brace, while Romelu Lukaku scored his third and fourth goals of the tour as he continued his tremendous run of form.
The Blues were dominant throughout and while their opposition failed to impress, Mourinho will be happy to register such a morale-boosting win ahead of their tour of the USA next week.
And here, we list a couple of points which we learned from the game. It may have been another preseason friendly, but can Chelsea challenge for the Premier League?
The 4-3-3 Is Back...and It Works
For the large part of the tour, Jose Mourinho had been using his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, which he had used at Real Madrid for the majority of his three-year tenure.
However, during his first stint at Chelsea between 2004 and 2007, the former Porto coach preferred to go with a more fluid setup, playing a 4-3-3 with natural wingers and a powerful target man. And with the Asian tour coming to a close, 'The Special One' decided to use the game in Jakarta as an experiment to observe the workings of his trusted setup.
He handed starts to youth academy graduates Nathaniel Chalobah and goalkeeper Jamal Blackman, with 18-year-old Chalobah slotting into a holding midfield position alongside Ramires and summer signing Marco van Ginkel. With the three centre midfielders chosen, Mourinho picked dynamic wingers in the form of Eden Hazard and Victor Moses to supply Demba Ba with some much needed service.
Needless to say, it worked a treat. The formation saw Chalobah and Ramires holding and winning balls in the centre which allowed van Ginkel to press on in a Frank Lampard-style role, intricately executing one-touch passes and spraying balls out to the wingers and into the channels.
As for the wingers, Hazard, after looking jaded during the early stages of the tour, looked refreshed and was excellent throughout, while Moses put in a solid performance. Ba managed to get on the scoresheet to score his first in three games, although it was Lukaku who once again stole the show with two goals.
It may not be the favoured setup at Stamford Bridge, but to score eight goals and dominate with ease, the 4-3-3 must be given the green light in Mourinho's book of tactics.
Chelsea Have an Armoury of Talented Youngsters
Back in 2005, Chelsea hired Frank Arnesen to direct the club's youth academy and to help reshape the club's faltering efforts to produce home-grown talent. Eight years later, after millions of pounds spent investing in players and nurturing them at youth level, it appears to finally be paying off.
Jose Mourinho selected Bertrand Traore, Josh McEachran, Islam Feruz, Tomas Kalas, Lucas Piazon, Wallace and Nathaniel Chalobah from the Under-21 side to join the senior squad on the tour of Asia. And it's fair to say the Portuguese coach usually doesn't get his judgement of a player wrong very often.
Needless to say, the young players have really shown their ability once given the chance, especially their promising trialist Traore, who despite being just 17 is already a full international with his country Burkina Faso.
The lanky winger scored one and set up another against the Malaysian XI on Sunday, and curled home a wonderful effort just 10 minutes after coming on in Jakarta. His pace and energy showed that he could play a part for the senior side this season, despite his tender age.
As well as Traore, powerful striker Romelu Lukaku is continuing his impressive form from last season with another two in the 8-1 victory. Speed merchant Wallace, a £4 million buy from Brazilian outfit Fluminense this year, put in another decent showing at right-back and hit the post early on, while his compatriot Lucas Piazon managed to get an assist for Lukaku's second strike.
Another impressive showing from the young boys in Blue, and no doubt Mourinho will be handing glowing reports back to youth coaches Dermot Drummy and Adi Viveash once they return to England.
Romelu Lukaku Should Be the No.1 Choice Striker
Romelu Lukaku has enjoyed quite a rise to prominence in the last year or so. After going out on loan to West Brom, he scored 17 Premier League goals during a successful spell at the West Midlands club.
Now back at Chelsea, where has yet to score a goal in a competitive game, Lukaku has the chance to show he is ready to become the club's first-choice striker.
And what better way to do that than score goals on a regular basis? The 20 year old has been in sensational form, scoring a goal in each of the victories against Singha All-Stars and the Malaysian XI.
Lukaku started on the bench for the game in Jakarta against BNI Indonesia, but after replacing goalscorer Demba Ba at half-time, he came on and bagged a brilliant double as Chelsea stormed to victory.
With plenty of pace, an abundance of strength and oozing confidence with every touch, the Belgium international looks ready to fight with Fernando Torres and Ba to be Jose Mourinho's number one striker.
The Blues Can Win Games Without Confederation Cup Stars
After the agony of losing the Confederations Cup final in such a miserable fashion, Spain trio Juan Mata, Fernando Torres and Cesar Azpilicueta had a few weeks off to rest and recover.
But their teammates crushing the opposition in Asia must be frustrating to watch, and some may be watching over their backs.
The 8-1 victory displayed a sense of togetherness, even without the key players, and that is always an encouraging sign in preseason.
The likes of Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne have impressed on tour and will be providing competition to the rest of the squad, and Mourinho will be delighted with the quality of squad depth at the club.
David Luiz will be coming back in a joyful mood after winning with Brazil, but knows he must perform with Tomas Kalas and Nathaniel Chalobah performing to a reasonable level on tour.
The Premier League Title Is a Realistic Objective
Thirteen goals in three games is a marvelous total, and one that Jose Mourinho will be satisfied with.
No doubt, he would have hoped that his side could keep clean sheets in all three games, but with the constant change of outfield players and goalkeepers, it's difficult to expect such solidity at the back.
Nevertheless, it's clear that Chelsea are well-stocked in quality, especially in the midfield. The return of Kevin De Bruyne from a loan spell looks to be a gift from heaven, while the signings of Andre Schurrle and Marco van Ginkel will add a youthful presence to the side.
As well as having Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard, the Blues now just need another striker to complete the jigsaw. Whether that is Wayne Rooney or another quality player, Chelsea need to add a fourth option in attack.
But if they can do that, and add a player with Rooney's level of quality, there is no doubt the Blues are capable of bringing the title back to West London for the first time in four years.
What they needed all along was the "Special One's" touch, and now they have it.