Brighton – Chelsea saw the humbling beginnings of what could ultimately be a very special season for the Blues, who kicked off their 2020-21 Premier League campaign with a 3-1 victory at the Amex Stadium on Monday.
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Frank Lampard’s side began the game rather slowly, but undoubtedly grew into the proceedings — and their season’s expectations — as the 90 minutes wore on.
Jorginho, Reece James and Kurt Zouma comprise perhaps an unlikely goal-scoring trio, but they were the ones who secured the three points nonetheless.
3 things we learned: Brighton – Chelsea
1. Chelsea far from the finished product: That’s not a slight on Chelsea whatsoever. In fact, it’s meant as a compliment that, on a day in which they won 3-1, they were far from as good as appears possible. Brighton were every bit as worthy of a first-half goal, yet Chelsea managed to keep them off the scoreboard before halftime. Brighton scored early in the first half, and Chelsea hit right back. It was at this point — immediately following James’ goal — that Chelsea took control and put their foot on the gas. Rarely did the Blues look crisp and sharp on Monday, but it was crystal clear for all to see just how much talent they have and how good they should be once their full squad is available. Speaking of which…
2. Werner’s movement a nightmare for defenders: Feel free to celebrate, Chelsea fans, for it would appear your club has found the center forward you’ve desperately missed since Didier Drogba was at his very best. Timo Werner is an altogether different player than Drogba, no doubt about it, but the 24-year-old German is constantly active — annoyingly so — and moving around the final third. Once Christian Pulisic (hamstring) returns from injury, Kai Havertz gets up to speed in the PL, and everyone gets on the same page, Werner should be a perennial Golden Boot contender based solely on the sheer volume of chances he’ll see.
3. Chelsea have found their right back: Just tallied a goal and an assist on Monday, and made a very serious claim made for the starting right back job in perpetuity. He looked increasingly confident defensively after playing plenty of minutes last season, and he offers a fair bit going forward as well. Given the money spent elsewhere in this Chelsea team, the fact their long-term starting right back came through the club’s academy — and made it into the first team — should be a feather in Lampard’s cap. Also, shoutout, last season’s transfer ban for the assist.
Chelsea went ahead courtesy of Steven Alzate’s gaffe in the 22nd minute. Alzate gave the ball away under no pressure in his own third of the field, which resulted in Werner, who touched the ball around Mathew Ryan, being taken down in the box. It was Jorginho who stepped up to the spot and converted for the 1-0 lead.
Brighton so nearly equalized just before halftime, when Alzate let fly from outside the penalty area. Kepa Arrizabalaga was, however, up to the task of diving to his right and palming the ball away.
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Trossard did manage fire Brighton back to level terms early in the second half, if only briefly. The Belgian cut in the from right flank and hit a low bouncer toward the far post. Arrizabalaga appeared to be all over it, but never got there in the end and watched helplessly as the ball hit the back of the net.
The 1-1 scoreline lasted all of one minute, as right back James decided it was time for him to score his first PL goal. The 20-year-old did just that in incredible style. Right-footed strike. Swerving away from the goalkeeper. Just under the crossbar. Untouchable for any ‘keeper in the world. That’s every box ticked.
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) September 14, 2020
Zouma got the final touch on James’ corner kick 10 minutes later, giving his side a two-goal advantage that wouldn’t be touched.