Chelsea have made a habit of slow and unfocused starts of late, especially in league games, but on Sunday, Pedro got the Blues started on the right foot, with a strike inside of the opening five minutes. It was only the second time all season that Chelsea found the back of the net in a Premier League in the first ten minutes of a match. Incidentally, the first was also courtesy of Pedro, in the 3-2 win against Arsenal.
Pedro’s strike against Fulham also had the added (minor) significance of a contrived statistical milestone. It was Chelsea’s 1000th Premier League goal at Stamford Bridge.
Pedro scores Chelsea’s 1,000th home PL goal. 116 different players have contributed (plus 34 own goals), with the top 3 scorers being:— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) December 2, 2018
47 E.Hazard pic.twitter.com/rkrrx1TWmP
Afterwards, the winger was “very happy” to help the club reach this landmark, and he happy enough with the result as well, even if the Blues made hard work of the worst team in the league.
“Very important, also to get confidence again. I’m very happy for the teamwork today, to score the goal for us and the three points.”
Pedro got the start today over Willian on the strength of his strong game (and assist) against PAOK on Thursday. (In fact, Willian went unused for the first time all season, as Zappacosta was needed to shore up the defense in place of a subpar Alonso.)
Chelsea take the lead against Fulham early in the west London derby. Wonderful midfield play from N'Golo Kante and Pedro calmly slots home. Clinical. #CFC 1-0 #FFC #PLonNBC pic.twitter.com/M8JluJatme— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) December 2, 2018
Pedro started the season on fire with three goals in his first four games of the season, but he’s only manage to add two more since, thanks in part to a shoulder injury that derailed his hot start. But even as he looks to be coming back to his best these days, Pedro was focused on the team’s progress overall in his post-match comments.
“The most important thing was three points, continue in this way, step by step, this is the way, no? Now another tough game, away. For this reason I prepare very well in the week, to get in this right way.”
Pedro’s goal also showed off the benefits of playing N’Golo Kanté in his new, further forward position — a source of endless debate — as he pinched the ball from Fulham in the high press and provided the assist for Pedro. Kanté’s still learning this role, just like the rest of the squad are learning Sarri-ball, but Pedro’s got his back.
“He’s a very good player for us. Very important, recover a lot of balls, always play with a good mission, with a good mentality and is so important for us, this guy.”
-Pedro; source: Sky
After 90 minutes on Sunday and 66 on Thursday for Pedrito, it’s almost certain that Willian will get the start against Wolves midweek. But in the constant back and forth between the two forwards, Pedro just might be ahead at the moment, and his eye for a goal will be very much needed against Manchester City next weekend.