AFC Wimbledon vs. Chelsea: 6 Things We Learned

Garry HayesFeatured ColumnistJuly 19, 2014

AFC Wimbledon vs. Chelsea: 6 Things We Learned

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    CHERRY RED RECORDS STADIUM, LONDON—Chelsea had to come from two goals behind against AFC Wimbledon on Saturday to ensure they remained undefeated in pre-season.

    The Blues conceded in the opening 40 seconds to an Alan Bennett header, while Matt Tubbs doubled the League Two side's advantage on 40 minutes with a penalty, having moments earlier been upended by Kurt Zouma.

    Making nine changes at the interval, Jose Mourinho's side clawed their way back, first through captain John Terry on 74 minutes, before Mohamed Salah drew them level seven minutes from time.

    Terry added his second of the game to complete Chelsea's comeback in the 90th minute, connecting with Lewis Baker's corner to record a 3-2 victory.

    Here are six things we learned from the pre-season encounter against the fourth-tier club.


Chelsea's Youngsters Have a Lot to Learn...

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    Against Wycombe Wanderers on Wednesday, Chelsea's young line-up was rampant, winning the game 5-0.

    On Saturday, against AFC Wimbledon, a side from the same division, it wasn't quite the case, with the Blues coming up against a well-drilled outfit.

    It would be harsh to criticize too much, especially as Chelsea are undergoing double training sessions throughout the week right now and are likely feeling the strain in the early days of pre-season.

    They need to be far more productive in possession, though.

    Jose Mourinho's side were guilty far too often of attempting to over play, trying to pass their way through the Wimbledon backline.

    It was only when we saw more experienced faces after the interval that Chelsea looked more of a threat.

    The Blues have some exceptionally talented youngsters, but after this game, they may need some more experience and nous before they can begin to be considered the genuine article.

...But Their Comeback Shows They Have the Right Character

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    For all the negatives that may be thrown at Chelsea after making hard work of a team who sit three divisions below them, the Blues' young line-up should also be praised for the character they displayed on Saturday.

    Trailing 2-0 at half-time in 30 degree heat and during pre-season, some players may opt to take it easy and ensure the game doesn't become an embarrassment.

    After all, there isn't much at stake.

    Chelsea didn't do that against Wimbledon, however.

    With only their pride to play for, Chelsea attacked, showed a will to win and eventually got their reward.

    It bodes well for the future.

Jose Mourinho Needs to Work on His Team's Problems Breaking Down the Opposition

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    One of the frustrations for Chelsea fans on Saturday would have been the Blues' struggles in breaking down a resilient AFC Wimbledon defence.

    Having gone 2-0 up, the League Two side were happy to sit back and invite pressure onto them.

    Indeed, it was good practice for both teams—one trying to defend a lead, while the other worked at chasing a game.

    With Chelsea being the latter, we maybe expected more. Instead, we saw a re-run from 2013/14 when the Blues struggled against deep-lying defences.

    It was a Chelsea team filled with plenty of youngsters, but the same problems remained and it's something Mourinho must consider ahead of the new campaign—even if his team did win.

Lewis Baker Is a Hot Property...

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    Lewis Baker's wonder goal scored against Arsenal last season for the under-21s only confirmed to many what the Chelsea coaching staff had long known—he is an exceptional talent.

    He made his Blues first-team debut against Derby County in the FA Cup and more performances like his display against AFC Wimbledon on Saturday will put him right at the forefront of Jose Mourinho's mind.

    Coming off the bench at half-time, Baker was involved in all three of Chelsea's goals, playing a major part in his team's comeback.

    And with Chelsea so often proving frustrating from set-pieces, he seems rather talented from corners and free-kicks—his delivery twice assisting John Terry.

...and Jay Dasilva Is Looking a Promising Prospect at Left-Back

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    Jay Dasilva was another half-time substitute who impressed against AFC Wimbledon.

    Not long turned 16, he looked anything but and gave the Wimbledon winger and right-back a torrid time.

    He has an excellent sense of awareness, reading the game well and always seems to make the right decision.

    Dasilva rarely gave away possession on Saturday and looked comfortable on the left side of defence, John Terry often heard barking encouragement his way.

    He is still very young, but watch this space where Dasilva is concerned. He has the potential to develop into a very special player.

Pre-Season Friendly or Not, Mourinho Doesn't Like to Lose

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    With Chelsea chasing the game late on, Jose Mourinho switched his formation to a 3-4-3 against AFC Wimbledon, moving Branislav Ivanovic from right-back to striker.

    Pre-season friendly or not, Mourinho was determined not to lose this game.

    It's a trait he has embedded in any team he has coached: Regardless of the occasion, only victory will do for Mourinho.

    Winning matches is a good habit and it's one Mourinho wasn't willing to give up on Saturday, adapting his tactics to get the victory.

    Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes