3 standouts from Chelsea’s dominant first preseason matchup

Chelsea (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Chelsea (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

The Mauricio Pochettino era at Chelsea has officially begun and it couldn’t have started any better. The Blues thrashed League 2 side Wrexham 5-0 yesterday in a relatively one-sided encounter for their first preseason matchup of the 2023/24 campaign. New Chelsea arrivals Nicolas Jackson and Christopher Nkunku made their debuts and as expected, many young players had their opportunities to impress under the new manager. There were a couple of standouts that have put themselves in contention for more minutes during the rest of preseason and a possible spot in the first team.

Here are 3 standouts from Chelsea’s first preseason matchup.

Honorable Mentions: Andrey Santos, Malo Gusto, Nicolas Jackson and Carney Chukuemeka

1. Ian Maatsen

Ian Maatsen took home the official man of the match after being the player with the most goals with two scored during the first half. The Dutch left back surprisingly featured as a winger on the left flank for most of his time on the pitch and looked more comfortable than expected. Along with the 2 goals, Maatsen’s forward runs, and dribbling made him a constant attacking threat on the wing.

He would often drift centrally to combine with new striker Nicolas Jackson or to contribute to linkup play in the final third.  His movement was crucial in both of his goals. Despite the positive performance, going forward it’s hard to see Maatsen continuing to play at left wing. Raheem Sterling and Mykhailo Mudryk already provide steep competition at that position. However, the Dutchman has certainly proven in his first outing that he’s worthy of a first team spot this season.

2. Cesare Casadei

Let the Cesare Casadei hype train begin. For those unfamiliar with Cesare Casadei, this first preseason matchup couldn’t have been a better introduction. The 20-year-old Italian midfielder was one of the best players out on the pitch for the Blues last night contributing an assist and bossing the midfield as a No.8. Casadei’s grace and technicality on the ball is already drawing comparisons to the likes of Chelsea legends Michael Ballack and Frank Lampard. His physicality at a young age and ability to progress the ball into the final third with his passing and ball carrying is a quality that shined throughout the game. It will be interesting to see how Casadei fairs against tougher competition, if he continues on this trajectory a loan may be out of question now.

3. Angelo Gabriel

Angelo Gabriel’s performance was probably the most surprising of the night. The 18-year-old came on during the second half and put on a performance well beyond the capabilities of a player of his age.  Particularly impressive was his dribbling and passing range, he brought an immediate spark to the attack with his linkup and ability to pick out players with his left foot.

Next. 5 Young Chelsea players that deserve game-time this preseason. dark

His assist for Chelsea’s final goal put all his qualities on display, drifting in from the right and finding a beautiful through ball for a running Ben Chilwell who chipped it right into goal. When Angelo was signed, the expectation was that he would go out on loan after this preseason. However, if he continues to impress, he could provide good competition for the right winger role along with Noni Madueke this season.