Hello and welcome to Sports Mole‘s live coverage of the pre-season friendly between Bohemians and Chelsea. Frank Lampard was appointed as the new Blues manager last week, and the club legend gets an early chance to assess his squad with the Premier League side facing a two-window transfer ban. Kickoff is not far away, so let’s take a look at the two starting lineups…
BOHEMIANS XI: Talbot; Pender, Barker, Finnerty, Leahy, Buckley, McCourt, Wade-Slater, Mandriou, Graydon, Wright
CHELSEA XI: Caballero; Sterling, Azpilicueta, Guehi, Kenedy; Drinkwater, Ampadu; Pedro, Gallagher, Palmer; Batshuayi
We are running slightly behind schedule in Dublin but as you can see from the starting lineups, it is a relatively strong side for this time of pre-season. Cesar Azpilicueta and Pedro are familiar names in the first XI, while Kenedy and Michy Batshuayi feature after loan periods at Newcastle United and Crystal Palace respectively.
As far as the young contingent are concerned, Dujon Sterling starts at right-back, with Marc Guehi playing alongside Azpilicueta in the centre. There are also starting roles for Conor Gallagher and Kasey Palmer.
KICKOFF: We are underway!
SHOT! Chelsea start very brightly, but a mistake from Sterling leads to a chance for Wright. The Bohemians trialist gets a strong shot away from 20 yards, but the ball goes just wide of the post.
Bohemians certainly don’t look overawed by the occasion. They are being rushed by Chelsea, but they are still looking confident on the ball.
The pitch at Dalymount Park is a bit on the long side, and the rain which is currently coming down will not help Chelsea. The ball is already holding up just a tad.
GOAL! BOHEMIANS 0-1 CHELSEA (MICHY BATSHUAYI)
GOAL! Chelsea take the lead! Kenedy does well down the left before cutting inside and getting a shot away. However, it only hits Batshuayi, with the ball falling invitingly for the forward before he lashed it into the roof of the net from close range.
You can see Chelsea netting a few goals this evening. Batshuayi looks very sharp, and the Belgian is only denied a chance to score a second by a last-ditch tackle by a defender.
A mistake from Azpilicueta leaves Chelsea short at the back, but Wright makes the wrong decision in attempting to pick out a teammate to his left when he should have got a shot away from the edge of the area.
While Chelsea look threatening going forward, they are equally as open at the back. It is individual mistakes which are causing issues. This time, it was Kenedy, but the blues just about dealt with the threat offered down the right.
Gallagher breaks forward from a central area before attempting to pick out Pedro. His pass would have been successful had it not been for the pitch.
Lampard is being very vocal on the touchline. There will be aspects of this performance which will please him, although he will want his defence to get tighter.
Chelsea spend a good minute or so passing the ball freely in the Bohemians half of the pitch. They don’t come close to creating a chance, but this is confident play from the Premier League giants.
The West Londoners won a corner after their bit of pressure, although it came to nothing. However, Lampard’s men soon regain the ball and begin another move.
We are going through a slight lull right now, but that suits Chelsea for now. We have to remember that this is the first of seven pre-season fixtures, so energy levels won’t be at their peak.
We have now had a break in play as a result of an injury to Ampadu, who picked up a knock to his ankle in a challenge in midfield. However, the Welshman is back on his feet and fit to continue.
Chelsea continue to probe for a second goal as a few more gaps begin to open up in the Bohemians defence. Again, though, the pitch hinders their efforts inside the penalty area.
To a certain extent, the way that Chelsea are passing the ball around has taken the stuffing out of the game. Bohemians can’t really get near them when they take control of possession in the middle third.
Gallagher is supposed to be playing as the most advanced of a midfield three, although we are starting to see the youngster come deep to collect the ball. It is an indication that the home side are putting more men behind the ball.
SHOT! Better from Bohemians, who break forward through Mandriou. The midfielder reached the edge of the area unopposed, but his strike was sent straight at Caballero from 20 yards.
The home side have started to rally as we get nearer half time. It may also be an indication that some of Chelsea’s players are beginning to get tired. Still the seven minutes to go until the break.
CHANCE! Chelsea go up the other end and create another opportunity for Batshuayi. The Belgian twisted and turned inside the area before seeing his deflected shot helped behind for a corner by the goalkeeper.
Drinkwater will be relatively satisfied with his work during this game. It’s his first outing in a Chelsea shirt for almost a year, but the Englishman has looked assured on the ball.
We are going to have another break in play for an injury, this time to Kenedy. The Chelsea left-back landed heavily when challenging for a high ball. He might have picked up a shoulder problem here.
There will be one minute of added-on time.
HALF TIME: Bohemians 0-1 Chelsea
The half-time whistle goes in Dublin and Chelsea lead thanks to that early goal from Batshuayi. Frank Lampard’s side have had the better of the game against their Irish opponents, but they are perhaps fortunate to have not conceded during the opening 45 minutes.
Chelsea are expected to change their entire team at half time, with the likes of Davide Zappacosta and Kurt Zouma to feature at the back. We will bring you the full team as soon as we get it.
The two teams are making their way back out. Full team news to follow.
KICKOFF: Chelsea get us back underway.
Finally, here it is…
CHELSEA XI: Cumming; Zappacosta, Chalobah, Zouma, Maatsen; Gilmour, Bakayoko, Baker; Brown, Ugbo, Piazon
CHANCE! Chelsea should probably be 2-0 ahead. Piazon was released down the right and the Brazilian was able to pull the ball back for Gilmour. However, the youngster can only fire into the side-netting from around 10 yards out.
SHOT! Brown cuts inside from the left to play a one-two with Piazon, providing him with a chance to get a first-time shot away from distance. It’s a good effort, but always clearing the far top corner.
SHOT! Chelsea are all over Bohemians now. The ball falls invitingly for Bakayoko on the edge of the area, but the Frenchman’s half-volley is parried behind for a corner.
Zouma seems to have picked up a bit of a knock, although he should be fine to continue. Chelsea continue to be dominant.
Bohemians were just able to break forward, with Pender in a foot race with Zouma. There was only one winner on this occasion, and Chelsea regain possession.
CHANCE! Yet another chance for Chelsea, this time for Gilmour. Piazon – who has been excellent – tees up Gilmour, who wrong-foots a defender before seeing a low curling strike turned away by the goalkeeper.
You can definitely see the desire to impress here. This XI looks much the sharper than the one from the first half, but I suppose that Bohemians are tiring now.
Bohemians have now made several alterations of their own. We will see if that makes a difference to the pace of their play. A second for Chelsea will probably end the game as a contest.
There is already an improvement with Bohemians working the ball from back to front, only for Zouma to use his pace to see off any immediate threat.
I would go as far as saying that Bohemians are having the better of the game now. Chelsea are chasing shadows to a certain extent, but without any real danger.
Bohemians make a further change with trialist Andre Wright making way. He has probably been the Irish side’s best player.
The home team remain on top in this game. There are a few signs that Chelsea are starting to get frustrated. Lampard will be interested to see how his players react.
Bohemians have no match at the weekend, and they are definitely prepared to give absolutely everything to try to get a result here. No more chances to speak of, but Chelsea remain on the back foot.
More good play leads to Chalobah having to concede a corner on the left-hand side. However, Bohemians cannot make the most of the chance with a free kick being conceded.
Chalobah is trying his best to take charge alongside Zouma, but the youngster has just done just that before sending a six-yard pass astray.
Chelsea have improved over the past few minutes. Gilmour has been the main instigator of any positive play, although the midfielder could perhaps be more urgent when using the ball.
It doesn’t take long for Bohemians to go back on the front foot, with Maatsen being required to head over his own crossbar in the six-yard area.
SHOT! All of a sudden, Chelsea are back to being all at sea at the back. Two crosses are cleared, but the Blues are fortunate to survive when Ferguson curls marginally wide from inside the area.
Bohemians make more changes and although it has disputed the game, they may benefit from a breather when attempting to outlast their opponents.
SHOT! Another effort comes in from a home player, this time from 20 yards. It was a terrific effort, but the ball fizzed past the near top corner.
GOAL! BOHEMIANS 1-1 CHELSEA (ERIC MOLLOY
GOAL! Bohemians equalise and they absolutely deserve it. A sweeping move down the centre ended with the ball playing to the right for Molloy, who kept his composure to fire the ball into the roof of the net from 12 yards out.
FULL TIME: Bohemians 1-1 Chelsea
The full-time whistle goes in Dublin and Lampard’s Chelsea side have had to make do with a share of the spoils against Bohemians. There will be disappointment within the Blues ranks, although they will take the positives from having been giving such a workout at this stage of pre-season.
That will be all from Sports Mole for this match. Thank you for joining us this evening, and we hope to see you again soon. Goodbye for now.