Koulibaly and Sterling help Chelsea brush off pre-season concerns with victory at Everton

by 24britishtvAug. 6, 2022, 9:01 p.m. 16
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Carnage? What carnage? After a tumultuous summer Chelsea got their Premier League campaign off to an ideal start with victory over Everton on Saturday evening.

With new signings Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly starting from the off, and the £62m Marc Cucurella making his debut off the bench, it was easy to forget Chelsea were deemed to have had a troubled pre-season.

Thomas Tuchel’s angst had done little to lighten the mood in camp beforehand, but this performance will surely lift spirits around Cobham before a crucial match next weekend.

After Ben Godfrey required lengthy treatment before being substituted in the first half, Chelsea took the lead in the ninth minute of injury time at Goodison Park.

Following Koulibaly’s through ball, Abdoulaye Doucoure fouled Ben Chilwell in the box, with Jorginho scoring the resulting penalty.

After the break, Everton had the better chances but could not find an equaliser, allowing Chelsea – who looked leggy as the match went on – to bank three points and switch their focus to preparing for the home game against Tottenham next Sunday.

Jordan Pickford – Saved well from Mount in the first half. Fumbled a Kante effort but saved by the offside flag when Sterling tapped in. Sent the wrong way by Jorginho’s penalty. 7/10

Nathan Patterson – Crossed in for Alli but left bemused by his team-mate’s decision not to shoot. 6/10

James Tarkowski – Almost a debut goal with a header that forced a fine save from Mendy. Looked comfortable at the back for Everton. 7/10

Yerry Mina – Tried to put off Jorginho before the penalty and booked for his efforts. Suffered cramp in the second half after a busy afternoon, forcing him off. 6/10

Ben Godfrey – Poor backpass almost gifted Chelsea an opener, and when trying to make amends a crunching tackle on Havertz left the Everton defender injured. He required lengthy treatment, and was subbed off for Mason Holgate moments later. Everton said he was taken to hospital after suffering a lower leg injury. 5/10

Vitalii Mykolenko – Found Gordon with a good cross but the forward headed wide. Huge block to deny Sterling down the other end. 6/10

Demarai Gray – Poor pass when he could have played Gordon through on goal. Quiet game otherwise. 6/10

Abdoulaye Doucoure – Everton were second-best in the first half but only trailed at half-time because of Doucoure’s careless challenge on Chilwell. Then saw a decent effort saved by Mendy. 5/10

Alex Iwobi – Tough to pick out a single moment from Iwobi, but in a rather slow game he was not the only guilty party. 5/10

Dwight McNeil – Struggled to get into the game and was replaced by Alli in the second half. 5/10

Anthony Gordon – Big task starting up front without the injured Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and was unable to meet a cross that his team-mate probably would have reached. Had other half-opportunities but thwarted by Koulibaly on several occasions. 6/10

Mason Holgate – First-half sub for Godfrey, strong enough at the back with Chelsea slowing down as the game went on. 6/10

Dele Alli – On for McNeil just after the hour-mark. Unable to pull the trigger when seemingly the shot was there to take. 6/10

Edouard Mendy – Reacted quickly to tip over Tarkowski’s header. Should have comfortably collected a long Everton ball which Gray could have scored from. Bounced back with a strong save to deny Doucoure. 6/10

Cesar Azpilicueta – A new contract and still in the starting line-up, for now. “Dave” looked comfortable with Silva next to him, a soothing sight given they lost Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen in the summer. 6/10

Thiago Silva – Ideal position to stop Gray’s through-ball for Gordon. Could not quite believe Mendy opted to stay close to his goal when Everton played a long ball forward. Could forge a strong understanding with Koulibaly, and awarded Sky Sports’ man of the match. 7/10

Kalidou Koulibaly – Solid debut at the back, intercepting Gordon at a crucial time. Got the ball rolling for Chelsea’s move which resulted in their opening goal. Cramped up in the second half and needed to come off. 7/10

Reece James – Barely put a foot wrong, peppering in the crosses and impressive in defence. 7/10

N’Golo Kante – If you barely notice Kante, does that go down as a good game? For someone in his position, probably. 6/10

Jorginho – Missed his Euro 2020 final penalty against Pickford, but sent the England international the wrong way to give Chelsea the lead. 7/10

Ben Chilwell – First start for nine months after injury hell. Earned Chelsea their first-half penalty and put in a strong shift before coming off. 6/10

Mason Mount – Tested Pickford as Chelsea piled on the pressure, but did little of note overall before being replaced by Pulisic. 5/10

Kai Havertz – A very quiet start to the season for Havertz, who was eventually replaced by Broja. 5/10

Raheem Sterling – Denied a debut goal when the offside flag rightly went up. Was a lively figure early on, comfortable on the ball and eager to play a part in every attack. Somehow denied again by a flying Mykolenko block which kept Everton in the game. 8/10

Ruben Loftus-Cheek – On for Chilwell in the second half, difficult to pick out a notable moment. 5/10

Christian Pulisic – Replaced Mount in the second half. Eager for the ball but didn’t do too much with it. 6/10

Marc Cucurella – Debut off the bench, replacing Koulibaly, and looked sharp in attack when picking out Sterling. 6/10

Armando Broja – A 15-minute spell in the shop window, potentially, after replacing Havertz. 5/10

Conor Gallagher – Came on in 99th minute for Jorginho for what goes down as his full Chelsea debut. n/a

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