I’m not sure I can recall a more emotional third goal in a game that was ostensibly already won. A third goal at 2-0 is only supposed to add that extra bit of insurance.
But Trevoh Chalobah’s goal yesterday was not your every day insurance goal. It was a goal scored by a True Blue, Chelsea since age 8, on his Premier League debut. His senior debut at Stamford Bridge, age 22. A center back, mind. His second start in four days. In front of a full capacity crowd 18 pandemic months in the making, who encouraged the long-range rocket with a classic bit of “shooooooooot!”.
It was a perfect strike, in a perfect place and time, creating a perfect moment. Trevoh himself had no idea how to react, even.
“I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know what to do. I just dropped to my knees and I was crying, really. It was an amazing moment for me and my family.”
“I have been here since I was eight, and coming to Stamford Bridge to watch games, sometimes as a ballboy, sometimes with my family, Champions League nights, so to now get the chance to play for my home club is amazing. It’s a dream for a young player like me.
“I just wanted to enjoy it. It’s been a long-held dream to play for this club, so I made sure I was ready and enjoyed it. I wasn’t too nervous, and I just attacked it all.”
The goal capped a momentous week for the younger of the Chalobahs. Two starts, two wins, one Super Cup, one goal, 210 minutes of football. No one in the Chelsea squad has played more so far this season.
The million-dollar question now (or 70-million-
dollareuro question, if you will) is what happens next. Chalobah has been impressive all preseason and in the first two games of the actual season as well (even before scoring a goal). He’s had three good loan spells, including in the French top division last year. He’s got all the physical and technical skills necessary to succeed at this level. He’s versatile, he’s determined, he’s eager to learn. And he’s one of our own.
He set out to impress and impress he has.
“When I first started pre-season my aim was to impress the manager, day in, day out. Whether that’s training, being the first in training and doing what he wants, and giving my all, that’s what I have done since day one.
“He said I did well in the pre-season, but I was a bit surprised to start the Super Cup, but it shows my work has paid off. He has given me the opportunity and I have taken it with both hands. It’s important in football to stay consistent, stay grounded, stay hungry and always want more.”
-Trevoh Chalobah; source: Chelsea FC
Tuchel has certainly acknowledged Chalobah’s progress even before yesterday, but at the same time also tempered expectations by pointing to the level of competition present in the squad already, with many of those players still just coming up to speed after extended summer holidays — and that’s not yet counting potential big-money arrivals like Jules Koundé.
In the post-match glow, Tuchel’s words sounded a lot more positive.
“It was very enjoyable and well deserved. Trevoh was so strong in pre-season, so solid [and] showed potential. He is a very humble and calm guy but he was there since day one and took his chance to show his quality.
“This is not a gift that we let him play, it was well deserved and he had a big performance against Villarreal for 120 minutes and he is robust enough to play another 90 in the Premier League, first game at home.
“This is super nice. It is what I truly believe in, that we can have the best players from abroad and famous players but also it is about Chelsea having young guys from the academy who can make it and in the end he played alongside Reece James and Mason Mount. This is very important to have this, to have these young guys and this mix.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Hopefully things look the same in the cold light of the next day(s) as well.