Pedro gifts Sarri a winning start

A winning start for Maurizio Sarri and a sure sign that the Premier League’s newest manager’s coveted brand of football is beginning to take shape at Chelsea.

Pedro grabbed the only goal of the game in Perth but the visitors played as promised, showing off slick one-touch passing and pressing their opponents throughout.

Tougher tests will follow, of course. Perth Glory finished eighth out of ten in the Australian A-League and the last time they played an English side in pre-season, Fulham won 5-0. Chelsea could and should have won by that too, with abundance of chances wasted, and it remains to be seen how ‘Sarri-ball’ will work against sides with more about them.

Still, this first taste of Chelsea under the Sarri regime revealed a few things at least. For one, the Italian indicated he will stand by the 4-3-3 set-up that made him so popular at Napoli. Jorginho knows the system inside out and the £57million signing proved a master in midfield.

Ross Barkley too can have a part to play for Chelsea this season following his unfortunate time under Antonio Conte. The 24-year-old impressed, featuring for the most of the match. Perhaps the most pleasant of surprises, though, was the performance of Callum Hudson-Odoi. The 17-year-old started and wreaked havoc on the left wing, creating the opener within five minutes.

Hudson-Odoi fooled Glory’s Scott Neville – soon a theme of the first half – then crossed for Pedro to score from six yards with a first-time volleyed finish.

Barkley embarked on a powerful run through midfield soon after and played in Alvaro Morata, though the striker took too long to pull the trigger. He had another one of those nights. Chelsea were enjoying chance after chance. Cesc Fabregas – captain for the evening – saw one effort blocked off the line, before Pedro squandered an opportunity to score his second.

It was one-way traffic but at half time, it remained 1-0. After the restart, Barkley broke through midfield once more before unleashing a low shot from 20 yards, finding the woodwork. Fabregas later skimmed the post himself as the rain continued to fall in Perth, before Mario Pasalic repeated the trick in the 65th minute.

Sarri was left wondering how his side won by only a single goal. Barkley, Pedro and Lucas Piazon were all among those who should have finished other chances. Still, a win is a win. Following full-time, a private jet was waiting for Chelsea on the tarmac at the local airport. Their plan is to fly back to London for further double sessions under Sarri before facing Inter Milan in France and Arsenal in Dublin next.

Sarri is in a hurry to have his ideas take shape. It is difficult to read too much into these types of matches but this did give us something of a glimpse. The true test will come against Manchester City in the Community Shield in less than two weeks’ time.

Chelsea: Bulka, Zappacosta, Luiz, Ampadu (Kalas), Alonso (Emerson), Fabregas, Jorginho (Bakayoko), Barkley, Hudson-Odoi (Pasalic), Morata (Abraham), Pedro.

Attendance: 55,522

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