How did Sarri perform on his Premier League bow?
Chelsea’s first official match of the Premier League season finished in a 3-0 win away at Huddersfield. Analysing the opponent, they lined up with a 3-5-1-1, which, as usual, converted in to a 5-3-1-1 in defensive shape. Proving to be tough cookies for a lot of teams last season, David Wagner’s side showed good form in pre-season, topping it with a 3-0 win against RB Leipzig.
Moving to the match analysis, it started with the Blues keeping the ball and starting the build-up patiently from the new signing, Kepa Arrizabalaga, moving to the back 4, where David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger created the centre pivot, while Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta filled the roles on the flanks, then right in front of the defence was, as expected, Jorginho and so on. But, in fact, the first 20 minutes were rather quiet, with not so much chances created. Huddersfield were pressing, but as you can imagine based on the shape of the lineup, they were trying to defend tight and narrow more often than not.
However, the excitement started for real when the deadlock was broken after N’Golo Kante scored, assisted by Willian, who moved very well on the left wing, dribbling past his marker and scoring. This was a new role for the Frenchman, as he said, a more attacking one, his goal aside, his work rate and the pressing he applied constantly during all the game was second-to-none and earned him my Man of the Match. (Jorginho was a close second.)
Now let’s move on to the second goal – and in particular to Jorginho. As I said in the paragraph above, I could have given my MOTM to either one of Jorginho or Kante. Why? Jorginho proved once again that he is fundamental for the team. He created cover for the defensive side of things, contributed in giving freedom to the more advanced midfielders, especially to Kante, he broke the line perfectly when he passed to Ross Barkley, who played the ball with a little flick into the path of Marcos Alonso, before the Spaniard won the penalty. So, as you can see from the replays too, Jorginho played a great role in all the 14 pass sequence leading to the goal and scored it in a very calm manner, confusing the keeper, Ben Hamer, with his special style of kicking it.
In the second half, the domination increased. Huddersfield needed the crossbar’s help on two occasions. I will surely comment on Eden Hazard’s performance during the 14 minutes he played as well and you just have to drop an eye to the stats to understand what amount of danger he created: 6/6 dribbles completed, an assist through the legs of the opponent, pace, skills etc. In addition, I’m happy with Morata’s performance too, because he showed good link-up and hold-up play, just has to be more clinical in front of goal.
The next game is against Arsenal, where we expect to see Eden Hazard start, Mateo Kovacic too, why not, a return of the man of pre-season, Callum Hudson-Odoi and above all, of course, an even more improvement and even more and more greater signs of Sarriball, topping with a win.