Chelsea kicked off their 2022/23 Premier League campaign on Saturday with a trip up to Merseyside to face last season’s survival specialists Everton. Chelsea have been busy in the transfer window already, securing three lucrative signings with Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, and Marc Cucurella coming through the doors at Stamford Bridge. Thomas Tuchel has also hinted that they are not finished with their business, and are looking at more players to sign the dotted line. And so with the start of a new season, and Chelsea officially underway in the new campaign, I’m going to give my not-so-expert opinion on how we fared against the Toffees.
Our back three.
New signing Koulibaly was alongside veterans Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta, and immediately settled into his new role. The Senegalese international looked immensely comfortable in the Chelsea backline, winning challenges, interceptions and headers, whilst finishing the game with 88% passing accuracy. Kali was superb in his Chelsea debut, and his future certainly looks bright.
Not only was KK immense, I thought Captain Azpi was impressive too. With 90% pass accuracy, four tackles and one interception, the reliable Spaniard looked great in his first match since penning a new two-year deal at the club.
But the real strength was Thiago Silva. The man is ageing like a fine wine and is easily playing the best football of his career. Not only is his footballing ability something to be impressed with, but the fact that he turns 38 next month really takes it for me. He has been outstanding since his move to Stamford Bridge, and Saturday’s performance proves he is by no means ready to slow down. Four clearances, one blocked shot, three interceptions and one tackle, along with the Man of the Match trophy secures a definitive strength for Thiago Silva.
Our attacking play.
Chelsea lacked a threatening end product for a lot of last season, and unfortunately it carried over to Saturday’s game. With 15 shots, and just six on target, the Blues looked lethargic and uncreative all game. There was glimpses of magic from Sterling on his debut, but the Englishman struggled to turn anything into a clear cut chance. The same goes for Mason Mount, who only managed one shot on target. Kai Havertz was also well off the tempo, and was struggling against Everton right back Nathan Patterson.
Chelsea also had 16 corners to Everton’s four, yet made very few of them count. It looked as if Chelsea just had no real game plan, along with Everton playing very defensive, with Gordon and Gray waiting for the counter opportunity. Abdoulaye Doucoure forced Mendy into a fantastic save, which was Everton’s best chance at an equaliser.
Despite the penalty, Chelsea just created very little, and this will need to change in order to get anything against Spurs next weekend.
I thought Reece was brilliant, with the right back successfully suring up Chelsea’s defence. Not only that, but his attacking play just gets better and better. Despite the corners frequently hitting the first man, I thought Reece barely put a foot wrong. RJ’s crosses are deadly, and with the right man on the end of them, we could score some serious goals. The problem is our attackers rarely give him the opportunity to whip those crosses in.
Three clearances, one interception, one tackle, and 92% pass accuracy helps prove my point that the wing-back had a great game. If only we had someone who could get on the end of the crosses, we would be laughing.
Generally an underwhelming performance.
Despite the victory, Chelsea just seemed off the pace on Saturday, with the aforementioned lack of creativity, as well as a lack of flair and determination. The Toffees failed to force Chelsea into any mistakes, and this made the Blues secure the victory with ease, but with a huge lack of effort. Performances of this standard will get us by against the weaker sides in the league, but when we come against the other big six teams, we could be in for a painful season. I said it in the TCS season predictions that will be out on the site soon that I think we might struggle this season, but hopefully I’m proven wrong.