Chelsea opened the Premier League season with victory over Everton as Jorginho’s penalty decided a scrappy contest at Goodison Park.
Thomas Tuchel introduced summer signings Kalidou Koulibaly and Raheem Sterling from the start but it was one of Chelsea’s established stars who settled affairs when Jorginho rolled a composed penalty past Jordan Pickford in first-half stoppage time following Abdoulaye Doucoure’s foul on Ben Chilwell, reports the BBC.
Everton, without a recognised striker following the sale of Richarlison and injury to Dominic Calvert-Lewin, battled gamely but were woefully short of quality and threat in attack.
Manager Frank Lampard’s cause was not helped by a serious early injury to defender Ben Godfrey, who was taken off on a stretcher following a challenge on Kai Havertz, with Yerry Mina another casualty in the second half.
Chelsea survived in relative comfort and were able to give a debut to new signing Marc Cucurella, the defender signed from Brighton in a deal that could eventually by worth £62m, as they made it a winning start.
CHELSEA GRIND OUT OPENING WIN
Chelsea never needed to touch the heights to beat Everton but manager Tuchel will still be delighted to simply start the season with a win after a turbulent summer.
Raheem Sterling showed in flashes what he will bring while powerhouse defender Kalidou Koulibaly was able to ease his way into the Premier League against the blunt instrument that was Everton’s attack.
Chelsea did not cause Everton too many serious problems but this game was effectively over as a contest because the visiting defence had too much know-how and the home team lacked nous.
Marc Cucurella’s debut was only notable for a yellow card after he kicked the ball away in the dying moments as Chelsea ran down the clock against an increasingly frustrated Everton.
Chelsea will be looking to bring in more new faces before the close of the transfer window and have been linked with a succession of names – even though this still represents a very strong squad.
It is all about the result on the opening day and achieving it by whatever means possible, a mission which Chelsea accomplished with plenty to spare.
Everton 0 – 1 Chelsea