toptop





Big-Spending Chelsea Start With Brighton Win  (Sky Sports)

Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Chelsea 3

Chelsea began their Premier League season with a 3-1 away win against Brighton as Timo Werner and Kai Havertz made their debuts.

Chelsea have made a number of marquee signings so far this summer, although only the German pair were fit enough to feature at the Amex Stadium. Werner, in particular, was lively on his first competitive Chelsea appearance and won a penalty in the 21st minute as Mat Ryan swiped at his legs, which Jorginho dispatched (23).

But Brighton - having strengthened well themselves in the transfer window thus far - had their fair share of chances and deservedly levelled when Leandro Trossard (54) fired home, with Kepa Arrizabalaga's ability to deal with long-range strikes once again called into question.

Player ratings

Brighton: Ryan (6), Webster (6), Dunk (7), White (7), Lamptey (8), Bissouma (7), Alzate (6), March (7), Lallana (6), Trossard (6), Maupay (7).

Subs used: Connolly (6), Gross (5), Jahanbakhsh (5).

Chelsea: Kepa (6), Alonso (6), Christensen (7), Zouma (7), James (8), Jorginho (7), Kante (7), Loftus-Cheek (7), Mount (7), Havertz (6), Werner (7).

Subs used: Barkley (5), Hudson-Odoi (5), Azpilicueta (n/a).

Man of the match: Reece James.

But Chelsea restored their lead less than two minutes later when Reece James (56) drilled home his first Premier League goal in stunning fashion. Kurt Zouma then nabbed a goal himself with his shot diverting off the toe of Adam Webster, leaving Ryan rooted to the spot.

While the Premier League table still taking shape, it marks a successful start for Frank Lampard's new-look side - whose last two title wins have started with victory on a Monday evening - while Brighton will feel like they deserved something from the encounter.

After the strangest of pre-seasons in which these two sides met just over two weeks ago, the opening 20 minutes was a rather cagey affair as both found their feet. Werner looked lively throughout and it was his pace that won Chelsea's penalty. Steven Alzate's poor pass landed to Jorginho, who poked the ball through for his new team-mate. As Werner went to drive down the side of the area, Ryan was out and tripped him over.

It was a clear-cut penalty and Craig Pawson pointed to the spot with VAR agreeing with the decision. Jorginho lined it up and after a little jump in his run-up, easily dispatched past Ryan to see Chelsea off the mark for the new season.

Team news

There was a Brighton debut for Adam Lallana. The midfielder was the only new signing in the XI, but Ben White also started, who returned to the club following his loan spell at Leeds last season.

Frank Lampard handed debuts to Kai Havertz and Timo Werner. They were the only new faces in Chelsea’s XI, with Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell and Hakim Ziyech unavailable due to injury. Kepa Arrizabalaga was preferred to Willy Caballero in goal despite speculation over his future.

But it was Brighton who could - and arguably should have - scored next. Just after the penalty, former Chelsea academy product Tariq Lamptey floated a wonderful cross into the area, but Neal Maupay couldn't quite get his shot on target as the ball looped in Kepa's hands. The under-fire goalkeeper produced a wonderful save not long after as Alzate looked to atone for his earlier mistake, but his fierce strike was palmed away by the leaping Kepa.

But it was not the best end to the half for Brighton as debutant Adam Lallana was forced off with an injury after a good showing in the opening period. Werner could then have doubled Chelsea's lead as he once again sped down the side of the box, but his strong drive was palmed away well by Ryan at the near post.

Graham Potter's side dominated the opening exchanges of the second half and went close twice. Aaron Connolly - who replaced Lallana - could only send a Solly March cross into the side of the net before Lamptey saw a thunderous shot turned behind by Zouma. The ex-Chelsea full-back was then involved when Brighton scored a deserved equaliser, cutting the ball back for the waiting Trossard at the top of the area. It was then a wonderful, curling effort that wriggled under Kepa's hand, once again reacting a fraction too late.

But Brighton were not level for long - 99 seconds to be exact - and it was a stunning strike from James that saw Chelsea ahead. Jorginho set the 20-year-old up outside the area and he sent a thunderbolt into the back of the net which Ryan could do nothing to stop - it was certainly a memorable way to mark your first Premier League goal.

Perhaps the one moment Brighton will come to rue was a miss from captain Lewis Dunk just after, with the centre-back having been linked with Chelsea earlier in the transfer window. Trossard floated a lovely ball into the area and Dunk - in the perfect position at the back post - could not make enough contact with the ball as it skimmed past the post.

Chelsea decided matters in the 66th minute after an error from Webster. James whipped in a corner, which Zouma just stepped off his defender to collect before sending the ball goalwards. Ryan looked to be in a good position to save the shot, but Webster stuck out a toe to divert it into the opposite corner, leaving Ryan unable to scramble across to keep it out.

The visitors dominated for the remainder of the game as Brighton's fight deflated, and had a few half chances but were unable to add another.

Man of the match - Reece James

There are a few ways to score your first Premier League goal and the 20-year-old did it with the ideal strike. It was a sensational, curling effort from James that was the pick of the goals and is already a contender for goal of the season.

He also added an assist to his superb performance, delivering the corner for Zouma's goal, and made a total of nine crosses, six of which came from open play. Defensively, he made two blocks - the highest of the Chelsea team - and has certainly made his case for a regular starting berth this term.

Lampard told Sky Sports: "We needed it because having just gone to 1-1, we weren't at our best during that period of the game after we'd come out for the second half.

"Reece has got that in him. He's a plyer of such quality. When you think about some of the young English right-backs that are around now, they have that extra bit of quality so you try and get Reece in areas where he can be areal threat for us. That inside position he turned up in, he's got great quality on him, he got a great strike away and he gets a good goal."

Opta stats

Brighton have won just one of their 10 home Premier League games in 2020 (D4 L5), the fewest of any side to have played two or more home matches in the competition this calendar year.

Chelsea have scored each of their last 16 penalties in the Premier League since Eden Hazard missed from the spot against Man City in April 2017.

Since he joined Chelsea in 2018, Kepa Arrizabalaga has conceded more Premier League goals from outside the box (19) than any other goalkeeper. Indeed, excluding blocked shots, Kepa has conceded nine of the last 13 overall shots on target he has faced in the Premier League.

What's next?

Brighton will begin their Carabao Cup campaign in midweek as they face Portsmouth on Thursday, live on Sky Sports (kick-off 7.45pm). They will then make the trip to Newcastle on Sunday in the Premier League, live on Sky Sports (kick-off 2pm).

That will be also followed by Chelsea's next game as they take on Premier League champions Liverpool, live on Sky Sports (kick-off 4.30pm).

Teams

Brighton & Hove Albion Ryan, Webster, Dunk (c), White (Gross 79), Lamptey, Bissouma, Alzate (Jahanbakhsh 79), March, Lallana (Connolly 45), Trossard, Maupay
Subs Not Used Steele, Stephens, Burn, Veltman
Booked Lamptey
Goals Trossard 54

Chelsea Kepa, Alonso, Christensen, Zouma, James, Jorginho (c) (Azpilicueta 85), Kante, Loftus-Cheek (Barkley 61), Mount, Havertz (Hudson-Odoi 80), Werner
Subs Not Used Caballero, Rudiger, Abraham, Giroud
Booked
Goals Jorginho 23 (pen), James 56, Zouma 66

Attendance 0

Referee Craig Pawson

VAR Kevin Friend

The Soccerlinks Hit List