In his third appearance, and first Premier League start as Chelsea’s latest brave soul to wear the No.9 shirt, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang notched his first Chelsea goal.
It’s the 69th Premier League goal of his career (nice), and the 302nd of his career overall, so it’s not exactly a rare sight to see Auba celebrate a goal, but the first goal for a new team is always a notable mark. And considering everything else that’s gone on — professionally with his move and Thomas Tuchel’s sacking, and personally as the victim of an armed robbery that left him a facial fracture — it was even more heartening to see the 33-year-old’s delight at his well-taken strike.
For Auba himself, the goal as much a relief as anything, and not just because it brought Chelsea back level late in the first half against Crystal Palace.
“When you are a striker, you are always looking for your first goal so to score early into my career at Chelsea is a huge relief.
“Thiago told me to go inside [the defender] because he thought Reece was going to play long. So I went inside, I turned my body and I used the defender a little bit to create some space and then I managed to find the corner. It was what I like to call a ‘striker’s finish’!”
It was indeed a striker’s finish of the highest order, though it would get overshadowed in every aspect by Conor Gallagher’s last-minute winner. Aubameyang’s day was done by then, but he enjoyed every bit of that goal as well, celebrating with everyone else on the bench (check out glue-guy Bettinelli and Auba already the bestest of friends in this video of the bench’s reaction to Conor’s goal).
“It was a really tough game but I think we had control of things and to get the win, I think it’s a great job from all the team. Conor’s goal was crazy! All of us on the bench, we were jumping up everywhere because it was an amazing finish, a brilliant goal and we are really happy with the three points.”
It may not have been the most convincing 90 minutes ever for Chelsea, but there were plenty of moments from which we can draw confidence for the games and weeks ahead. And sometimes that’s all it takes to start building something sustainable and successful.
“First of all, I want to try and enjoy every minute here and playing my hardest to help the team out.
“This victory gives us a lot of confidence. I think, as a group, getting that first win was really important for us as a team and for the new manager, so we are really happy. Getting the victory away from home is also a big step and I think this is very good for us going into a big run of tough games now.”
-Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang; source: Chelsea FC
Onwards and upwards!