Football: Wise man Vialli knows his onions

Chelsea 0 Bologna 0

AS PRE-SEASON friendlies go, this was one of the more hostile of the breed, which was only natural given that it was only a testimonial match for Dennis Wise.

The extra competitive edge was further sharpened by the fact that it was Chelsea's final dress rehearsal before the new season, but it was a shame that none of this was enough to provide much more than token entertainment for the 27,000 paying spectators at Stamford Bridge.

Nevertheless, it was a chance to assess the additions to Gianluca Vialli's squad, most notably Chris Sutton and the French World Cup-winning captain, Didier Deschamps, the player famously described by Eric Cantona as a mere "water carrier".

Sutton, it has to be said, looked a shadow of the striker Vialli paid pounds 10m to Blackburn for. Used for the most part as an orthodox target man, he looked short of fitness and lacking in confidence, something that might have been avoided had his close-range header from Dan Petrescu's cross gone a yard either side of Gianluca Pagliuca in the Bologna goal.

On this evidence it may take some time for Sutton to settle into Chelsea's multi-national environment, though with such a similar player as Tore Andre Flo breathing down his neck, it is questionable whether he will get as much time as his price tag merits.

Sutton said: "Fitness is a big part of my game. I feel mentally strong and with games I'll just get stronger. Chelsea do play a little differently to Blackburn, but that's something I'll have to adapt to."

Sutton's only other scoring opportunity arrived just before the break but his control on the edge of the area let him down.

The chance was created by a precise through ball from Deschamps, who by that stage had been busy not only carrying but fetching, harrying, passing and tackling in a vivid demonstration of defensive midfield play par excellence. It was very easy to see why people like Vialli become managers and people like Cantona do not.

Wise, meanwhile, seemed more than happy with Chelsea's record attendance for a testimonial and when asked if it had been more competitive than is usual for these encounters, in view of a number of crunching tackles that left Frank Leboeuf and Bologna's Nicola Ventola writhing in apparent agony, Wise just licked his lips and replied: "Yep" with a smile. Same old Dennis then for this season.

Chelsea (4-4-2): De Goey; Ferrer, Desailly (Hogh, 75), Leboeuf, Le Saux; Petrescu, (Morris, 75) Wise (Vialli, 89), Deschamps (Di Matteo 75), Poyet (Babayaro, 87); Zola (Flo, 75), Sutton,(Forssell, 87).

Bologna: (5-4-1) Pagliuca; Eriberto (Nervo, 52), Falcone (Lucic, 34), Bia (Boselli, 55), Paganin, Tarrantino; Signori, Ingesson, Marocchi (Ze Elias, 58), Binotto; Ventola (Mensah, 77).

Referee: G. Poll (Tring)

Man of the match: Deschamps.

Attendance: 27,259.

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