Chelsea hurt by early Bayern Munich goals to lose in Singapore
SINGAPORE -- Chelsea were caught cold in the heat of Singapore as three early goals from Bayern Munich gave the German champions a 3-2 win at the International Champions Cup (ICC).
A Thomas Muller double and a Rafinha strike saw Bayern race into a 3-0 lead in the first half-hour as the shell-shocked English champions were overrun.
Marcos Alonso pulled one back before half-time to keep things respectable before the second half saw new £58m striker Alvaro Morata make his Chelsea debut and Michy Batshuayi grab his second goal in two games.
Here are three things we learned from Chelsea's ICC clash with Bayern.
1. Chelsea's false start raises concerns
It was hardly the most significant of games but the Blues' slow start must have been a little galling for Antonio Conte. Bayern were clearly keen to make up for Saturday's embarrassing 4-0 defeat to AC Milan in Shanghai and Conte's side had perhaps underestimated the impact of that result on their opponents.
The opening goal from Rafinha came when the Brazilian was allowed time and space to pick his spot and shoot low in the corner from 20 yards. The second was the result of fine breakaway move that ended with Franck Ribery crossing for Muller to volley home from close range.
Real Madrid loanee James Rodriguez should have added a third in the 18th minute before Muller ambled forward in the 27th minute and, like Rafinha, was allowed too much time to line up a shot before curling home from 20 yards.
Conte will have noted the lack of focus from his players at the start of the game and that should inform his preparations for the defence of the Premier League title.
2. Ribery shows up Hazard-less Chelsea
Playmaker Eden Hazard has been the key creative force for Chelsea for several years but misses the start of the season due to an injury sustained on international duty in June.
His absence was keenly felt in the first half in particular as Chelsea's defensive collapse was compounded by a lack of creativity and attacking impetus.
Cesc Fabregas and Willian both had a quiet game and the key moments of inspiration came from Batshuayi, who had a powerful low effort well saved by goalkeeper Tom Starke, and Marco Alonso, whose thunderous drive in first-half added time ended a poor 45 minutes on a high.
In contrast to Chelsea, the man-of-the-match was Bayern's Ribery, who was a constant source of danger as he demonstrated the type of dynamic attacking presence that the Blues were missing in Hazard's absence.
3. Morata and Luiz make an impact
Morata made his entrance in the 63rd minute and he was immediately a handful for the Bayern defence. His physical presence gave the Chelsea attack something that had been lacking and he made space for other players by pulling defenders out of position.
It was his presence at a corner that drew defenders and prompted the error that allowed Batshuayi to tap in Chelsea's second.
David Luiz came on and the defender was almost immediately as much of an attacking threat as anyone in blue. The Brazilian made some trademark surging runs forward and his shot from the edge of the box had to be touched onto the post by Bayern's substitute goalkeeper Christian Fruchtl.
While it is Morata who will be expected to provide the goals rather than Luiz next season, it was clear that Chelsea looked a better side when fringe players Jeremie Boga and Andreas Christensen had been replaced.
Bangkok-based Paul Murphy has lived in Asia for a decade, writing for ESPN FC since 2014. He is a former Daily Express sub-editor. @PaulMurphyBKK