Chelsea 2-0 Real Sociedad - La Liga Side Provide Tepid Final Test Of Mourinho's Pre-season

Diego Costa scores two as Chelsea enjoy easy victory ahead of the new season.

Chelsea overcame Real Sociedad with little difficulty in the final game of their pre-season ahead of next Monday's Premier League opener against Burnley. Two goals in a thrilling first ten minutes were enough to ensure victory, both coming courtesy of new striker, Diego Costa, signed for £32m from Atletico Madrid over the summer. An amusingly over the top introduction to the Chelsea squad for 2014/15 preceded kick-off, complete with pyrotechnics to warm the players up in the billowing rain. The biggest applause was reserved for returning hero Didier Drogba (out with an injury tonight but expected to return soon) and newcomer Costa, who justified his reception with a neatly taken goal within a minute. A precise through ball into the box from Ramires found the naturalised Spaniard, who tucked the ball into the far corner of the onrushing Enaut Zubikarai's goal. Chelsea could have had another five minutes later, Branislav Ivanovic this time breaking into the box and pulling back to Ramires, who could only curl the ball wide with Zubikarai out of position. Fortunately, Costa was on hand to ensure the second goal arrived before the ten minute mark. Eden Hazard collected the ball on the wing and fed Andre Schurrle, whose shot curled against the base of the post and rebounded to Costa for the simplest of tap-ins. As far as home debuts go, it was a hard one to beat. In the official programme notes, Chelsea veteran Ron Harris suggested that the match would provide a taste of what could be expected from the season to come. Should that prove the case, the remaining 80 minutes suggested Chelsea will be playing in the style expected of a Mourinho side: plenty of possession, excellent organisation, zero entertainment value.
With the initial two goal flurry out of the way, the Blues contented themselves with passing their opponents off the field, creating little but defensively solid throughout. The best Sociedad chance came soon after Costa's second, with former QPR man Esteban Granero taking a dipping shot which skewed narrowly wide of Thibaut Courtois' far post. The Belgian was otherwise untroubled for much of the game, plucking crosses out of the air and collecting simple shots under little genuine pressure. Without Antoine Griezmann having left for Atletico Madrid during the summer, Sociedad showed little guile in breaking down a typically resilient Chelsea defence. At the back, Zubikarai was showing little of the natural authority with which Claudio Bravo (recently signed by Barcelona) formerly marshalled Mikel Gonzalez and Inigo Martinez into a tight defensive unit. Having declined from fourth in 2012/13 to seventh last season, the Basque club may struggle again unless suitable replacements can be found for their departed stars, although the absent Carlos Vela and Alfreð Finnbogason should improve their goalscoring prospects upon return. Costa was substituted on the hour mark, shortly after missing a chance to claim a hattrick following an Eden Hazard square into the six yard box, with Fernando Torres' arrival greeted with surprising enthusiasm by the Chelsea fans. Despite enjoying possibly the most favourably unbalanced applause-to-ability ratio in recent memory, Torres made sure to provide his supporters with one trademark miss in an otherwise anonymous performance. Brazilian full-back Filipe Luis provided a sumptuous cross into the box after 73 minutes, and while Torres was well positioned between his two markers, his header soared over the crossbar from close range. Chelsea ended the game with Oscar missing two opportunities to add a third goal to his side's tally, collecting a pass from Torres in the 88th minute before firing well over the bar from just outside the area, before getting on the end of a team move with van Ginkel, Willian and Salah to draw a strong save from Zubikarai.
While Sociedad failed to provide much in the way of dangerous opposition, Mourinho can be pleased with a confidence-boosting victory on a beautiful new Stamford Bridge pitch under new LED floodlights. The sell-out crowd were in good voice throughout, enjoying the first home pre-season friendly since Celtic's visit in 2006, and though some of the late returnees from the World Cup lacked a little precision in their play, new signings Costa, Fabregas and Luis all look well settled and ready to make an immediate impact. Even Dutch youngster Nathan Aké, converted to provide cover at left-back following the departures of Ashley Cole and Ryan Bertrand, gave a first-half performance justifying Mourinho's faith. Chelsea may not look ready to thrill just yet, but they do look ready to win. Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Ivanovic (Zouma, 80), Cahill (Azpilicueta, 45), Terry (c) (Christensen, 87), Aké (Luis, 45); Matic (Van Ginkel, 80), Fabregas (Mikel, 71); Ramires (Oscar, 45), Hazard (Salah, 80), Schurrle (Willian, 45); Costa (Torres, 60).

28-year old English writer with a borderline obsessive passion for films, videogames, Chelsea FC, incomprehensible words and indefensible puns. Follow me on Twitter if you like infrequent outbursts of absolute drivel.