Football is back! Chelsea are back! Injuries are ... back!?
Of course the football gods would have it that a few would finish with knocks after a cagey win against Brighton & Hove Albion in the first game of the new season.
Going into the match, Chelsea were already down four players (Ben Chilwell, Billy Gilmour, Thiago Silva, and Hakim Ziyech) due to injury and match fitness. There was hope that Christian Pulisic would be fit, a month out from suffering a hamstring injury in the FA Cup final. Unfortunately the young winger was a late scratch despite returning to training last Wednesday.
“With Christian, he was training with us last week and had a little bit of discomfort a couple of days ago when he was trying to train with us to be in contention for today. It would have been a big ask for today but he has had to take a few steps back so we’ll have to see. That’s one that I don’t have big news on at the minute. We’ll need to wait and see.”
Jorginho, Chelsea captain for the match, was substituted in the 85th minute after bagging himself a goal and an assist. He looked to be favoring his left leg before walking off the pitch, but Frank Lampard provided more clarity on his substitution.
“Jorginho was just tired. We’ve had a lot of quarantines at the club, players going away with internationals and we’re not fully fit at the moment. And that’s just the way it is. I thought they dealt with the rigours of the game very well today, in terms of how tough it is to come back when you’re not quite there. It was very pleasing to get the result we did.”
Despite not finding himself on the score sheet, Timo Werner wowed with his speed, energy, and work rate. It was only minutes into the match when Chelsea’s new No.11 made his first impact, with a diagonal run across Brighton’s backline to set up a dangerous cross that narrowly missed Mason Mount.
Halfway through the first half, his impact was even more telling. Werner’s world class speed to meet Jorginho’s through ball put him in position to earn a penalty for Chelsea’s first goal. Jorginho’s pass looked over hit, but Werner was fast enough to make up the ground to beat Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan to the ball.
Unfortunately, according to Lampard, winning the penalty came at a price for Werner.
“Timo took a knock when he won the penalty. It’s more of a dead leg we hope. I wouldn’t think too much in terms of next week there but I’d think it was a dead leg, we’ve got a bit of time for him to get right.”
“I was really pleased with Timo, with Timo I know the qualities he’s going to bring to the team, we saw that with the speed to get the penalty and the moments where he showed his speed and his qualities as well. He’s going to be a real threat, he’s a very mobile centre forward who can do so many things for us. So it was nice, and Timo is one that has had some games, and has had a bit of fitness, and you can see that in the way he was tonight.”
- Frank Lampard, source: Football.London
With our next match only six days away against last year’s title winners, Liverpool, we can only hope that the already growing list of injuries begins to clear up!