It's finally happened. By some random combination of injuries, ridiculously bad form, even worse results, Jupiter aligning with Mars with the Moon in the seventh house, and other cosmic factors, Baba Rahman finally made his Premier League debut.
Though it should be noted that having to wait two months for a debut isn't necessarily a bad or even an unusual thing. Both of our regular starting full backs went through something similar, at least once, if not twice. In fact, Branislav Ivanovic waited over six months back in 2008 before even making his first-team debut, Cesar Azpilicueta didn't make his Premier League starting bow until October 6 of his first season, and under Mourinho Mk.II, Azpilicueta had to wait until November 23 for his first Premier League start.
It's almost like a badge of honor for Baba to have had to wait, facing questions of fitness (like Ivanovic) and height (like Azpilicueta) and strength (like both Ivanovic and Azpilicueta). And while Azpilicueta impressed right away and within a few months Mourinho was crooning about cloning the man to win Champions Leagues, Ivanovic didn't become a regular until the following season, a full year and a half into his Chelsea career.
But I digress. Let's hear what Baba Rahman had to say about his long-awaited Premier League debut.
"Everybody is happy and we are hoping things continue to go this way. It was a hard game but the most important thing was to get the win."
"I think I still need to learn more and I want to improve game after game."
"We are looking forward to all the games and we just want to keep on winning."
-Baba Rahman; source: Chelsea FC
There's video of this interview on Chelsea official as well, though the 21-year-old does not go into any further detail in there either. Not that he really needs to.
As he says, it's clear (as we saw in the League Cup already) that there's plenty of room for improvement, especially on the defensive end of things. He appeared quite nervous to start yesterday's match, and the first 20 or so minutes consisted of a rather horrific string of giveaways, poor tackling, even worse positioning, and a serious lack of strength. Fortunately, things improved from there, while Aston Villa themselves trended the other way, and thus, especially in the second half, it was a much more comfortable experience.
Incidentally, Azpilicueta didn't exactly look like himself on the right flank either, perhaps by now far more acclimatized to playing an "inverted" fullback after spending two seasons almost exclusively on the left. I daresay neither full back made a bulletproof case for starting over the injured Ivanovic, but not seeing Bane out there at least gave a psychological lift to a good portion of the fan-base. So I guess that's something.
In any case, Baba's now a perfect three-for-three, collecting wins against Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Walsall, and now Aston Villa. Not the most jaw-dropping CV, but three points are three points. Job done. Until next time, Baba.