A disappointing preseason for Chelsea culminated in a 3-1 defeat to bitter rivals Manchester United in the Community Shield game at Wembley.
Its fair to say the preparation for the new season hasn't gone well for Chelsea. Injuries to key players, coupled with poor results, suggest its been far from ideal.
Perhaps part of this is due to players coming back into training at different times in the preseason schedule. Carlo Ancellotti wanted to allow his World Cup players extra time to recover, but his admission during the week that he doesn't believe his side are ready for the new season suggests, in hindsight, this may have been a mistake.
There is no reason for Chelsea fans to be too downhearted though.
The emphasis of preseason games is always performance over results and, despite it not being a winning performance, several Chelsea players put in decent performances in the Community Shield.
Its almost become cliche but Michael Essien's return will be like a new signing for Chelsea. Though perhaps not quite there yet, there are signs Essien is returning to the fine form he showed before his injury last December.
Young players such as Jeffrey Bruma and Josh McEachran will have gained vital experience from training and playing with the first team squad.
New signings Ramires and Yossi Benayoun may prove to be valuable and exciting additions to the squad.
Petr Cech, as well as Alex and Jose Bosingwa, are soon to return to the squad following injuries. Striker Didier Drogba is also well on course to return to full fitness following a recent knee injury.
The timing of England's friendly with Hungary on Wednesday is far from perfect, but Chelsea will be determined to put on a good display against West Bromwich Albion next Saturday.
So time to look forward to the opening game against West Brom, the return of Roberto Di Matteo to Stamford Bridge and the beginning, hopefully, of a successful title defence.
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