Reece James: His influence earned Chelsea three points against Brighton

The win over Brighton and Hove Albion was an example of Reece James’ progression at Chelsea Football Club

There are grandiose things expected of the right back at Stamford Bridge. He played 39 games last season in all competitions. It was an impressive debut campaign after a previous successful loan spell at Wigan Athletic.  

Joining the club whilst at primary school, James is now reaping the rewards of demanding work and dedication at Cobham

  • A stand out moment

There were questions marks over the number 24 at times during 2019/20, Cesar Azpilicueta was often opted for in the right-back position. 

A main highlight from last season was the goal against Ajax in the Champions League in the 4-4 draw. It was an example of what he can do an indication on how good he could be in blue.  

  • Last night

The game against Brighton last night was flat from a Chelsea perspective. It was a tired performance; the lack of preseason was telling after the home side saw large periods of possession throughout.  

The 20-year-old was a forever bright spark on the right-hand side. He was strong defensively, played neat passes and supplied a key role on corners. The latter proved worthwhile after the assist for Kurt Zouma.  

It was a big statement from James, dragging his side through the game at right-back. Trent Alexander-Arnold played a similar role last season for Liverpool when they played Leicester City at the King Power. They won 4-0, Trent grabbed a goal and got two assists.  

James played a similar role last night at The Amex. The assist made it 3-1. His goal before this was the real stand out moment.  

Chelsea had just conceded, it was 1-1. Less than two minutes later, he hit one into the top stanch from distance to make it 2-1. It energised the whole squad. After the goal, the pace was quicker, the tempo was higher, and the intensity was applaudable.  

What does this mean for the rest of the season? Azpilicueta is the club captain, his influence on the pitch improves the team's performance. 

  • Off the pitch

With James performance last night, can you drop the youngster? His potential is insane. Ask Wigan Athletic fans, they will praise the prospective defender all day.  

On the pitch, but also off the pitch. He donated money and pledged fellow professional footballers to help The Latics get out of financial mess during August.  

  • Conclusion 

It is important that Chelsea fans do not get ahead of themselves. Liverpool are on the horizon; this will be a huge test for the youngster.  

They will offer a bigger threat, Sadio Mane will be his direct opponent. The two sides are likely to be battling it out at the top end of the table come the end of the season.  

This fixture could be an indication on which club will have a better season. The momentum from the fixture on Sunday could carry the two clubs a long way. 

It is unlikely that Frank Lampard will change the defence after a robust performance collectively. James was at the heart of this and his influence could be important at the weekend.