Chelsea were not at their best on Monday evening but just about did enough to edge past Brighton at the Amex to get their 2020/21 Premier League season off to a perfect start.
The Blues ran out 3-1 winners thanks to goals from Jorginho, Reece James and Kurt Zouma, but all the talk before hand concerned their two marquee signings.
Chelsea have spent big in the summer window, making up for lost time following last season’s transfer ban to bring in two of the Bundesliga’s star performers, setting themselves back well over £100m in the process.
Frank Lampard’s side recruited Timo Werner from right under the nose of rivals Liverpool, and signed one of the brightest young talents in world football in the shape of Kai Havertz, and the pair were both thrown into the thick of Premier League action from the off by manager Frank Lampard.
Despite the lengths Chelsea went to in order to bring him to the Bridge, Havertz was the quieter of the two. Playing on the right of the front three, he produced a couple of neat touches here and there, including one glorious piece of control in the first half, and one lovely deft pass in the second to send Chelsea away on the counter.
But from an attacking point of view, it was an otherwise nondescript evening from the 21-year-old.
Although not famed for his defensive abilities, this is arguably where Havertz impressed most on his debut. He diligently helped James contain the dogged Solly March, with a surging recovery run to keep up with and then dispossess the Brighton left wing back his most outstanding contribution.
In contrast, Werner really caught the eye. With his energy, desire and willingness to press, it is no surprise he was cited as a target of Liverpool’s for so long – he would fit seamlessly into Jurgen Klopp’s all action, high pressing front three.
The forward looked so quick and sharp from the off, playing right on the shoulder of the last defender and showing a real eagerness to get in behind the Brighton backline.
Werner’s sharpness paid dividends in the first half, as his anticipation and awareness enabled him to steal a march on the Brighton defence to capitalise on Steven Alzate’s misplaced pass, round Matt Ryan before being brought down by the Seagulls’ keeper to earn his side a penalty.
The 24-year-old’s eagerness and desire were common themes all evening. He produced a gut busting surging run in the first period from inside his own half, streaking past the Brighton midfield and he could have been played clean through on goal had Ruben Loftus-Cheek better executed his pass.
He then charged forward menacingly and almost caught Ryan out at his near post with a fizzing effort.
Werner’s sheer appetite to score was evident all night. He wanted more. And so will Chelsea fans
The forward will have left the Stamford Bridge faithful with plenty to get excited about for the coming season.