Nearly a year after his last start for the club, and nine whole months after tearing his ACL in a mid-season friendly last December, Armando Broja was back in the starting lineup for Chelsea as we took on Fulham at Craven Cottage last night.
And the normally goal-shy Blues got off to a flying start, scoring twice in the span of 82 seconds just before the 20-minuter mark, with Broja deflecting in an attempted clearance by Fulham defender Tim Ream to double Chelsea’s advantage after Mykhailo Mudryk got us on the board with his first ever goal for the club.
While we would go on to spurn a few glorious opportunities for a more lopsided score to better reflect our dominance — including one from Broja himself — the 22-year-old was delighted to be back in the goals, and confirmed that his departure just past the hour-mark was in essence a planned move rather than any sort of injury concern as it first appeared.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling. It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been out for a while so it’s good to be back. I’m so happy for the team to win the game and carry on this momentum going forward. It’s an even better feeling for myself to get my first goal of the season on my first start, so I’m just thankful.
‘[...] No injury, just a precaution. I’ve been out for a while so it was always hard for me to come back and play the full 90 minutes. I did get a bit leggy just before I came off, so it was just a precaution.”
Nicolas Jackson will be back from his suspension this weekend, which will likely mean a start for him and a spot back on the bench for Broja. But Broja’s confident in being able to carve out more minutes for himself going forward as well.
“It’s up to the manager and what he decides going forward. My job is to come in and help the team as much as possible. If he does start me I’ll try to do my best and score goals. If he doesn’t start me then I’ve got to keep my head up, keep working, keep going forward and try to cause a headache for the manager. That’s the same as every player. We’re at Chelsea Football Club, every player’s got to fight for their place in the team.”
Competition is good to have either way. Regardless of who plays — Mudryk and Caicedo both picked up knocks as well — we now have some fledgling momentum that we can try to build upon properly going forward.
“There’s no better feeling than to get the three points and to score. As a striker they all count, no matter how it goes in – a goal’s a goal. [We] were struggling a bit, but it’s two wins on the bounce now and hopefully we can continue that momentum going forward.”
-Armando Broja; source: Chelsea FC
So say we all.