A lone penalty from Jorginho fired Chelsea to all three points against Everton on the opening weekend.
This is what i made of it.
About as expected
If you could have written a script for any Premier League game from Saturday’s round of fixtures, this would likely have followed closest to the expected outcome.
Everton’s attacking struggles were well-documented and asking Anthony Gordon, and latterly substitute Dele Alli to fill the void left by natural goalscorers Dominic Calvert-Lewin or Salomon Rondon was a big ask.
Aside from a few brief moments of indecision inside the area at the vital moment and good goalkeeping, the Toffees understandably failed to offer much of a threat and that will happen when your star striker is sold and not adequately replaced, particularly given Calvert-Lewin’s recent fitness record.
When Chelsea got their noses in front, they were always going to be big favourites to see it out and did so, even if Edouard Mendy was called upon to make one particularly impressive second half save. He and the new-look defence in front of him, coped well.
Armando Broja and his physicality also impressed more than Kai Havertz in his fleeting cameo off the bench and his performance will give Thomas Tuchel something to think about in the weeks of the window that remain.
The squad depth will be a concern after Thiago Silva and Kalidou Koulibaly picked up knocks but for now, it can only be about savouring an overdue win at a venue which Chelsea hadn’t won at since 2017.
New boys watch
Among the many highlights of the opening league game of a new season is the first look at the new signings brought in over the summer.
And of course, it is time for initial impressions and snap judgements to be made after 90 minutes (or less) of action.
Both teams started with two apiece with another player entering for each side from the bench for their league debuts.
For Everton, James Tarkowski enjoyed a solid outing in defence and almost managed a goal at the other end, only to be denied by Edouard Mendy.
Dwight McNeil was a little quieter for the Toffees and struggled to make much of an impact, while Ruben Vinagre did well when he came in, which forced Vitaliy Mykolenko to the inside of a back three, something Lampard may have to consider with injuries to Ben Godfrey and Yerry Mina.
Raheem Sterling was a constant nuisance for the visitors and Everton’s hesitation in dealing with him at close quarters was noticeable, while Kalidou Koulibaly also performed well until injury saw him replaced by Marc Cucurella who still managed to pick up a late yellow card in his short time on the field but who looked very tidy nonetheless.
The penalty king
The arguments against him are getting weaker.
Jorginho may have missed some high-profile penalties in recent years but for consistent reliability from 12 yards, few in the Premier League is better.
And he is now reaching some incredible ground in the record books.
His ice-cool kick which sent Jordan Pickford the wrong way and which was without his trademark hop in the run-up, saw him take his league tally to 20 goals.
A staggering 18 of those have came via the spot. He may not get many via other methods but when you are that consistent from penalties, who needs to.
Confirmed Chelsea line up vs Newcastle: Lesley Ugochukwu replaces Moises Caicedo as Palmer start with Gallagher in Midfield #NEWCHE
Mauricio Pochettino makes two changes to his Chelsea team for today’s game at Newcastle.
Benoit Badiashile comes in for his compatriot Axel Disasi in the heart of defence, while Lesley Ugochukwu replaces Moises Caicedo.
Otherwise, it is the same starting XI that began the 4-4 draw against Manchester City prior to the international break
That means Reece James, Thiago Silva and Marc Cucurella join Badiashile at the back, ahead of Robert Sanchez. Enzo Fernandezand Conor Gallagher continue in midfield, with Raheem Sterling and Cole Palmer supplying the width in attack, either side of Nicolas Jackson.
Caicedo and Levi Colwill, who was injured during the recent break, are among those named on the bench.
Alexander Isak returns for Newcastle after injury, but there is no Sean Longstaff.
Chelsea: Sanchez; James (c), Thiago Silva, Badiashile, Cucurella, Enzo, Ugochukwu, Gallagher, Palmer, Jackson, Sterling
Subs: Petrovic, Colwill, Disasi, Maatsen, Caicedo, Matos, Madueke, Mudryk, Broja
Newcastle: Pope, Livramento, Lascelles (c), Schar, Trippier, Guimaraes, Miley, Almiron, Joelinton, Isak, Gordon
Subs: Dubravka, Gillespie, Karius, Dummett, Ritchie, Diallo, Murphy, Ndiweni, Parkinson
Referee Simon Hooper
How Palmer and Reece James Have Complemented Each Other in Chelsea’s Lineup This Season
Reece James just returned to action for Chelsea this season after recovering from an injury that kept him on the sidelines for weeks but the synergy between the Chelsea Skipper and Cole Palmer has emerged as a pivotal factor in Chelsea’s recent impressive performance.
Their relationship on the pitch showcases a dynamic partnership that has been significantly impacting the team’s overall performance.
One key element of this collaboration is the strategic placement of Cole Palmer in the middle, operating behind the striker.
This positioning capitalizes on Palmer’s unique skill set, acknowledging that he may not possess the blistering pace or sheer physicality to excel in isolated one-on-one situations with defenders.
Instead, Palmer’s strength lies in his ability to receive the ball on the half-turn, exhibiting clever passes that ignite the team’s attacking prowess.
Palmer’s fluid style, characterized by his adept use of pockets and floating movements, creates a symbiotic relationship with Reece James.
James, a versatile right-back, benefits from Palmer’s strategic play by having the freedom to occupy the wing.
This tactical understanding not only maximizes Palmer’s strengths but also amplifies James’s impact on the game.
What becomes evident in this partnership is Palmer essentially playing as a number 10, operating in a role that aligns with his capabilities and enhances the team’s attacking dynamics.
By strategically placing Palmer in a central position, Chelsea leverages his playmaking abilities, allowing him to orchestrate the flow of the game and provide crucial link-up play between the midfield and the strikers.
The tactical harmony between Palmer and James is not just about individual brilliance but also about how their styles complement each other seamlessly.
Palmer’s intelligent movements and distribution empower James to venture forward with confidence, creating a fluid and dynamic attacking unit for Chelsea
Chelsea eye double £156m transfer swoop as Todd Boehly faces Saudi Arabia questioning
Catch all the biggest Chelsea headlines, including updates on Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Todd Boehly’s questionable transfers and Benoit Badiashile
Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia
Chelsea are interested in Napoli duo Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia
Here is your morning Chelsea digest on Friday, November 24.
Chelsea have reportedly joined the race to sign Napoli superstar Khvicha Kvaratskhelia amid ongoing uncertainty over his long-term future with the Italian champions.
According to ESPN, Chelsea have joined the likes of Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Newcastle United in holding an interest in Kvaratskhelia. Sources have told the outlet that Napoli value their star player in excess of €100million (£87million) and are hoping to fend off interest with a new and improved contract.
However, as the November international break has proven, Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations aren’t to be messed with and the Blues must get their finances in order to avoid any additional punishment. Todd Boehly has spent over £1billion on new signings since completing his takeover in 2022 and currently has a net spend of over £692million.
Kvaratskhelia isn’t the only Napoli player on Chelsea’s radar, with Victor Osimhen also on Pochettino’s list. However, the pair are worth a combined €180m (£156m) by CIES Football Observatory.
Saudi Arabia transfers questioned
Former Premier League defender Gary Neville has questioned Chelsea’s transfer dealings with Saudi Arabian clubs last summer amid the ongoing threat of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.
Ahead of the 2023/24 season, three players left Stamford Bridge to join the Saudi Pro League. N’Golo Kante’s seven-year stay in west London came to an end with a move to Al-Ittihad while Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy joined Al-Hilal and Al-Ahli respectively.
Speaking on the Stick to Football podcast, brought to you by Sky Bet, he said: “I have no problem with Saudi Arabia setting up their league and spending as much money as they wish, but I did call for some sort of investigation into the deals Chelsea were doing when they were dumping players onto Saudi Arabian teams at the start of the season.
“It felt as though, to me, it needed a little bit of a look at – you can smell that something is not right.”
Badiashile going nowhere
Chelsea supporters have nothing to worry about in regards to Benoit Badiashile amid reported interest from AC Milan and AS Roma, football.london understands.
According to Calciomercato, the two Italian clubs are keen on signing the central defender ahead of the January transfer window. Milan are without Pierre Kalulu and Marco Pellegrino due to injuries and are doing their best to replace them in the winter.
The report says that the Italian duo want to sign Badiashile on loan, but the defender will be staying at Stamford Bridge for the foreseeable future, football.london understands. Badiashile’s focus is on Chelsea and getting back into the first-team and he has no intention to move elsewhere at this moment in time.
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- Confirmed Chelsea line up vs Newcastle: Lesley Ugochukwu replaces Moises Caicedo as Palmer start with Gallagher in Midfield #NEWCHE
- How Palmer and Reece James Have Complemented Each Other in Chelsea’s Lineup This Season
- Chelsea eye double £156m transfer swoop as Todd Boehly faces Saudi Arabia questioning
- Chelsea XI vs Newcastle: Nkunku injury latest, confirmed team news, predicted lineup for Premier League today
- Strongest Chelsea line up with Christopher Nkunku to take attack to the next level