Friday 19 January 2018

New York nightmare for Begovic as Mourinho loses cool - Five things we learned as Chelsea ship four goals

Chelsea 2 New York Red Bulls 4

New York Red Bulls' players celebrate a goal
Action Images via Reuters / Eduardo Alvarez
New York Red Bulls' players celebrate a goal Action Images via Reuters / Eduardo Alvarez Livepic

John Percy

A nightmare debut for Asmir Begovic, but Victor Moses seized the opportunity of a rare start - here are five things we learned as Jose Mourinho's champions suffer defeat against MLS side New York Red Bulls.

This was a nightmare debut for Asmir Begovic

Conceding four goals in 45 minutes represented a dreadful evening for Asmir Begovic and this was hardly the statement of intent he would have been hoping to make. Begovic’s £8million move to Chelsea has polarised opinion, with many claiming that the Bosnian international has taken a huge gamble in joining the Premier League champions.

He is likely to feature in the Champions League at some stage in the coming season but his hopes of dislodging Thibaut Courtois as No. 1 goalkeeper are remote. This was his first appearance since his move from Stoke City and he looked shaky, with both his kicking and positioning suspect. He was not helped by John Terry’s backpass for the opening goal but this was a game to forget.

Chelsea’s next two games will be far from friendly

Results in friendly matches are largely irrelevant but Mourinho will not have enjoyed losing to a New York Red Bulls team that was unrecognisable from the one that lost on penalties to Philadelphia Union on Tuesday evening.

The next two games will certainly be more beneficial for Mourinho, with both opponents likely to provide an edge. In the early hours of Sunday morning Chelsea face Paris Saint-Germain, the team which ended Mourinho’s interest in the Champions League last season and were accused of kicking lumps out of Eden Hazard. And then on Wednesday in Washington they play Barcelona, another team to have irritated Chelsea and Mourinho in recent years.

Chelsea's Victor Moses (R) in action with New York Red Bulls' Roy Miller Action Images via Reuters / Eduardo Alvarez Livepic

Victor Moses is fighting for his future at Stamford Bridge

After spending the last two seasons out on loan, with varying degrees of success in spells at Liverpool and Stoke, Moses has appeared surplus to Chelsea requirements. But he has returned this summer keen to prove a point and Mourinho has already admitted the Nigeria international may have a part to play.

Despite the fact this friendly was against effectively the Red Bulls’ second team, Moses impressed on both flanks in the first half and may be on course for a surprise reprieve.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho Action Images via Reuters / Eduardo Alvarez Livepic

One of Chelsea’s staff members could be in trouble with Mourinho

Only 10 minutes had passed when Jose Mourinho was releasing his frustration – at one of his members of staff on the bench. It was alleged one of staff was caught using his phone and Mourinho was quick to walk down the touchline and hand out a stern warning. A bizarre incident, but it was patently obvious Mourinho was far from happy and one of the few occasions the Chelsea manager left his seat in the entire evening.

Chelsea are expected to return with an improved offer for John Stones

Mourinho will press ahead with his bid to sign John Stones

It may have been a friendly and Chelsea only returned to pre-season training last week but this emphasised why Mourinho is so determined to sign John Stones. Chelsea cannot rely on John Terry’s excellence for too much longer while Kurt Zouma is clearly talented but inexperienced at Premier League level. Stones would represent a ready-made replacement for Terry and a second bid for the Everton defender is expected before the weekend.

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