Timo Werner impressed on his Premier League debut as Chelsea sailed away 3-1 victors over Brighton & Hove Albion.
Hop, skip and score; Jorginho put the Blues ahead in the opening 20 minutes after a helpless Mathew Ryan brought down speed-demon Werner for a penalty.
The Seagulls equalised moments into the second half after a sedated showing by the Blues. Leandro Trossard whipped a delicious ball past Kepa Arrizabalaga from range. Reece James then put the Blues back in front after 100 seconds. Kurt Zouma extended Chelsea's lead after his deflected shot trickled into the net.
Having extended an 87-year unbeaten record against Brighton, Chelsea now sit third in the Premier League, just one goal off the top spot, meanwhile the Seagulls sit 16th.
Story of the game
Either side looked to plant a foothold in the game, desperate to begin the newly anticipated season on the front foot.
In the opening minutes, new arrival Werner gave fans and opposition a taste of what to expect this season. Blistering pace and a willingness to run in behind defences; just minutes from kick off, the Blues clipped a ball down the line into the on-running path of the former RB Leipzig striker. A player, similarly to Eden Hazard, that will get fans off their feet. Head and shoulder above the rest.
Chelsea began to thread together a selection of passes in an attempt to work their way into the home side’s half. Brighton stood strong, unphased by the newly star-studded South West London side.
Jorginho, Zouma and Andreas Christensen worked coherently acting almost as a footballing metronome. Pass, pass, pass. Spraying passes, long and short, from the halfway line hoping to find a corridor of space.
As the 20-minute mark approached, Chelsea’s high press paid dividends. Jorginho picked up a loose pass in the Seagulls’ midfield, before threading Werner in behind the Brighton backline. The Blues’ number eleven knocked the ball past Ryan before winning his side a penalty. Hop, skip and slot; Jorginho put the Blues in front.
Graham Potter’s side looked to break themselves level heading into the half-time break. Adam Lallana spearheaded the Seagulls’ efforts with a neatly placed pass into Neal Maupay. The Frenchman seemed destined to test the gloves of Kepa Arrizabalaga, however Zouma and Christensen pulled together to fizzle out the threat.
Brighton launched themselves out the blocks into the second half, dominating the tie. An equaliser was on the horizon.
Inevitably it was. After a lacklustre restart, Chelsea found themselves defending the width of their box on the back foot. Former Blue Tariq Lamptey teed up Trossard whose curling effort whizzed past the flailing Kepa. The Spaniard was left helpless after a lack pressing presence by his teammates.
Just 100 seconds later and James put Chelsea back in front after an incredible drive from range.
The English right-back grabbed the ball by the scruff of the neck and thundered home a spectacular shot. Game on.
Chelsea spirits were high and Ruben Loftus-Cheek made way for Ross Barkley. The number eight looked sharper and more potent. Barkley was desperate to elevate himself above his competition amidst Lampard’s vast kaleidoscope of options at the heart of midfield.
Out of the blue, moments later Zouma extended the Blues’ lead after his deflected effort fumbled its way into the net.
The long-awaited entrance of Callum Hudson-Odoi was made in the dying embers of the clash. A tie where Chelsea craved an alternative option of directness and pace on the wings, rather than the sole presence of Werner.
As the game drew to a close, Brighton pushed higher up the pitch to claw themselves a result. Werner began to take up a role on the left wing in anticipation of a counterattack, however such a phase failed to materialise.
Man of the Match
The 20-year-old was exceptional for Chelsea, not only excelling in attack but also in defence. James is slowly but surely evolving into the Blues' starting right back as he matures game by game.
James' ability to influence games is growing - evident with his goal against Brighton.
70 touches, four aerials won, 88% pass completion, two key passes and a goal. Fantastic.