Disappointingly, the lasting sentiment from this pre-season period, is that after a promising start, things haven’t panned out quite as auspiciously as we’d hoped. After positive early signs from our initial training camp in Austria, the signings of Michy Batshuayi and N’Golo Kante, followed by a defensively solid performance against Liverpool in the States, things were looking good. But a subsequent two week period of no further signings, and a handful of matches marred by a real shakiness/sloppiness in defence, hopes of a quick turnaround aren’t as well founded as we hoped they would ahead of our first competitive fixture.
Helpfully, our last match against Werder Bremen summed up the current position of our squad, and their prospects quite nicely. What’s evident is that Antonio Conte’s preparations have the side in great shape. He has got key individuals in attack looking sharp and has more or less established the basics of a system that looks to serve each of their talents accordingly. All three first half goals (Hazard cutting in sharply from the right wing; Oscar playing deft touches in the penalty area and Costa timing his run to slot home coolly from an angle) were all trademark finishes and were evidence of an front line in good form.