Chelsea’s last game of our pre-season tour of America ended in defeat, as we were beaten 4-0 by Arsenal in Orlando.
The Blues were second best behind our London rivals in the first half, where goals from Gabriel Jesus and Martin Odegaard put the Gunners in control at the Camping World Stadium.
The Blues rallied after the break, following a flurry of half-time substitutes, but despite some decent opportunities it was the London red side who celebrated next as Bukayo Saka added a third from close range.
There was time for a fourth Gunners goal in stoppage time, as a pair of substitutes – in the form of Cedri and Lokonga – combined with the former crossover to send the latter home at the back post.
Despite the result, one of the main positives of this derby in the United States was a first outing for Kalidou Koulibaly, while Raheem Sterling also increased his pre-season minutes with a first start.
Tuchel and the players will now return to the UK following the conclusion of our US tour, with just a fortnight until the big 2022/23 Premier League kick-off.
Tuchel offered Raheem Sterling a first Chelsea start after the winger came off the bench against Charlotte FC last time out.
Summer companion, Kalidou Koulibaly has been named among the substitutes for the first time since the confirmation of his transfer from Naples.
Edouard Mendy was between the sticks, with a back four – rather than the usual three – ahead of him, consisting of Reece James, Trevoh Chalobah, Thiago Silva and Emerson.
Jorginho captained the team and was partnered in midfield by Cobham graduates Mason Mount and Conor Gallagher, while Sterling was joined by Kai Havertz and Timo Werner in attack.
Despite kicking off in the evening, the temperature at pitch level was still around 30C when the match started in front of a record 63,811 spectators.
Given the wet conditions, it took the Blues a while to get into the game as Arsenal took control in the opening rallies and looked all the more likely to find an opening.
However, the Blues offered the first sight on goal as Raheem Sterling – playing a deeper role than we’ve seen of him during his Man City days – shows neat footwork to get away from his man and slip Timo Werner, but the German is quickly charged by William Saliba and fails to fire.
From the resulting corner, the Gunners fired a devastating counterattack at us which made us grateful to Edouard Mendy in goal as he fended off Bukayo Saka’s one-on-one strike.
Mikel Arteta’s team broke the deadlock after a quarter of an hour, with a goal that could have been avoided. Trevoh Chalobah gave up possession and after some quick thinking from Arsenal to slip Jesus, the Brazilian did the rest with a sublime lifted finish over Mendy.
Five minutes later, Mendy had to be alert to tip an Odegaard free-kick over the bar.
Gunners double their lead
Ten minutes before the break we found ourselves two goals down as Odegaard latched onto a smooth pass from Martinelli before skillfully slotting the ball past Mendy and into the corner.
That Arsenal goal sparked a response from the Blues, as Reece James first launched a low drive across the face of the goal before Mount saw a stunning effort knocked over the woodwork by Aaron Ramsdale into the Arsenal goal .
Trevoh Chalobah was then sent off with injury at half-time, to be replaced by Malang Sarr.
Flurry of changes at half-time
Sarr wasn’t the only new face after the break, as Tuchel sent on Azpilicueta, Alonso, Kovacic and Pulisic to try and change the complexion of that tie.
Azpilicueta joined Thiago Silva and Sarr in defense as we switched to our more accustomed back three which allowed Mount to go further with Havertz and Pulisic.
The change helped as Chelsea started the second half with flying colors, enjoying the ball much more than in the first half, with Mount firing a wide shot as a warning sign for the Gunners that there was still a game to be played in Orlando.
Record attendance for Kalidou’s debut
With just over 20 minutes to play, Arsenal made it 3-0 thanks to Saka firing into the roof of the net for Arsenal’s third, despite a fine double save from Mendy in the build-up.
The Senegal stopper quickly denied Odegaard and Granit Xhake, but Saka was on hand to convert the rebound from close range, despite loud offside cries. In the absence of VAR in operation, the objective was achieved.
Moments later, an announcement hit the big screens to reveal that the 63,811 people in attendance at Camping World Stadium were sold out and record football attendance here.
They were then treated to their first glimpse of Koulibaly in action for Chelsea, with the defender replacing Thiago Silva with around 15 minutes remaining.
The former Napoli player looked solid and composed on the ball, putting in an exceptional block to prevent Pepe from adding a fourth, in what was an impressive first cameo albeit a frustrating night for the team.
The Blues will now return to London, following the conclusion of our US tour. Next on the agenda for Tuchel’s side is some work at Cobham, ahead of our final pre-season game which is in Italy against Udinese. After that, attention quickly turns to the first Premier League clash of the season at Everton.
Chelsea: Mendy; James (Hudson-Odoi 73), Chalobah (Sarr 44), Thiago Silva (Koulibaly 73), Emerson (Alonso h/t), Gallagher (Kovacic h/t), Jorginho (c) (Ampadu 73), Mount (Ziyech 64 ), Sterling (Pulisic h/t), Havertz (Batshuayi 64), Werner (Azpilicueta h/t).
Unused subtitles: Bettinelli, Sharman-Lowe, Chilwell.
Reserve: Sarr, Ampadu, Koulibaly
Arsenal: Ramsdale (Turner 76), White (Cedric 76), Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko (Tavares h/t), Partey (Eleney 76), Xhaka (Maitland-Niles 76), Saka (Marquinhos 76), Odegaard (c) (Lokonga 76), Martinelli (Pepe 76), Jesus (Nketiah 57).
Unused subtitles: Bellerin, Walters, Mari, Holding, Nelson, Balogun.
Scorers: Jesus 15, Odegaard 35, Saka 66, Lokonga 90+3
TO : 63, 811