When Chelsea were first linked with Matt Miazga about four months ago, I distinctly recall writing something along the lines of "yeah, it would be cool to see an American play for Chelsea, but it probably won't be Miazga".
Oops! Sorry, Matt.
In fairness to me, even after signing him, many had wondered if he'd ever actually play for Chelsea. But with both John Terry and Gary Cahill ruled out of Saturday's Aston Villa match, Miazga finally got his chance. Given his (and USA U23's) generally poor showings in the preceding international break, it was perhaps pleasantly surprising to see the tall, lanky boy from the land of The Sopranos actually acquit himself rather well against Championship-bound opposition.
"The boys were fantastic today. The starting 11 were brilliant and the guys who came in were flawless. Aston Villa just lost their manager, so we knew they would be energetic trying to show their fans they are still in it, and the first 20 minutes was a bit like a chess match, but we settled down and got the first goal from Ruben. From there it was cruise control for us, we dominated the midfield with Cesc and Obi, and it was a comfortable win."
Sure, Rudy Gestede isn't exactly world class, but he's a battering ram in the style of Andy Carroll and we know how much trouble that guy tends to cause us. After a few nervy moments early, Miazga actually handled the big Villa man 1-v-1 better than Ivanović. The 20-year-old also looked comfortable on the ball (certainly more so than Zouma ever has), showed good anticipation off the ball, and even popped up as a set piece threat at the other end. Sure, his positioning could use some work, but the initial signs are good.
"It was a good debut for me, I'm happy to contribute to the team and now I have to work hard in training to keep trying to get more chances."
"I found out in the morning I would be in the starting 11. It's my job, my profession and I have to be ready when I am called upon and show the manager I can contribute and help the club."
-Matt Miazga; source: Chelsea FC
May it be the first of many excellent contributions.