Chelsea’s starting lineup on Wednesday night in the UEFA Super Cup against Villarreal featured five players who also started the Champions League final, and five more players who were first-team regulars (or at least part of the squad rotation) last season. The one exception to that was returning loanee and Academy graduate Trevoh Chalobah, playing on the right side of the three-man backline. It was his senior Chelsea debut in fact.
Though it may have been the biggest match of his career, Chalobah, who turned 22 last month, had already made over 100 professional appearances across his three loan spells, and that experience certainly showed in what was a rather composed and impressive performance (after a few nervy moments early on). The numbers backed up the eye test as well, as he led all players in touches, passes, and interceptions (and was second in clearances) and made countless crucial plays to keep Villarreal at bay, especially in the second half.
Trevoh Chalobah — Super Cup Final:— ExpectedChelsea (@ExpectedChelsea) August 11, 2021
123 completed passes (94.6%)
3/6 long balls
An amazing performance. Different class. pic.twitter.com/ud40XeIH8i
A performance like that on such a grand stage should certainly not go unnoticed, and after the game, head coach Thomas Tuchel was indeed quick to praise the young defender.
“He played good against Arsenal and he played a good game also against Bournemouth, then Arsenal, then Tottenham. We wanted to have guys on the field who are capable to play 90 minutes. Trevoh was first in training the very first in training and is physically strong and deserved to play by his performances so far and again today he was very strong.
“He suffered in some moments but later with Azpi by his side and Jorgi close to him and helping him in tactical organisation he stepped again up. He never lost face and stayed calm and was physical enough to play 120 minutes. It was quite impressive.”
But just how impressive was it? Impressive enough to maybe earn him a spot on the first-team for the rest of the season as well? Maybe? Just maybe?
Over the years, we’ve often been told by various Chelsea managers that preseason is fake and meaningless, but in this case, it could be very real and very meaningful.
“Absolutely [...] he forced his way into our thinking. Let’s see how it goes. We still have some days to decide his personal future but in the moment he shows his value to the team.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Reports prior to the match made it sound like a loan is an inevitability, with two years left on Chalobah’s contract potentially giving us some flexibility as well since Tuchel reportedly sees a long-term future at Chelsea for him. Meanwhile, Chelsea’s pursuit of Jules Koundé has hit the rocks as of late.
What it the solution to all that is the easiest one of all?
Trevoh Chalobah has met with Thomas Tuchel before this match. They agreed for maximum game time to go out on loan with Valencia one club in the mix. Also, Tuchel has told #CFC not to sell him. Interesting to see whether this can change either party's mindshttps://t.co/brTN5aa39e https://t.co/esp1u9rz03— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) August 11, 2021