Chelsea put a difficult pre-season behind them to kick off their Premier League campaign with a 1-0 win over Everton on Saturday thanks to Jorginho’s penalty.
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Blues boss Thomas Tuchel warned last week that Chelsea were “not ready” for the new season after a grueling tour of the US, which included a 4-0 thrashing of Arsenal, left his squad depleted.
However, the new era at Stamford Bridge is gathering pace off the pitch with the signings of Mark Cukurela and Carney Chukwuemeka in recent days, joined by Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly.
Sterling, Koulibaly and Cucurello all made their debuts as Chelsea ended a run of four successive defeats at Goodison Park despite a lackluster performance.
Everton’s pre-season has been rocked this week by an injury which has ruled England striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin out of action for the first six weeks of the season.
The Toffees suffered another injury early in the game when Ben Godfrey was carted off after his worst performance in the contest with Kai Havertz.
Everton were predicted to struggle again after narrowly missing out on relegation last season.
But they could easily take at least a point from a spirited display.
Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy produced a superb save to prevent James Tarkowski from putting Everton in front on his debut.
Sterling was also denied a goal on his debut through offside after slotting home after Jordan Pickford spilled Mason Mount’s ball.
Everton’s good work before the break was undone in the eighth minute of stoppage time by a prolonged stoppage due to an injury to Godfrey.
Ben Chilwell was run into the box by Abdoulaye Doucourt and, unlike the Euro 2020 final, Jorginho sent Pickford the wrong way from the spot to score the decisive goal.
Everton pushed bravely for an equalizer after the break but were dull in attack without the presence of Calvert-Lewin or the departed Richarlison.
Mendy came to Chelsea’s rescue again, making crucial saves to parry Demarai Gray’s shot and block Doucourt’s powerful shot from close range.
At the other end, Sterling were again frustrated when Vitaly Mikolenko curled his shot inches wide of the goal.
But one goal was enough for Chelsea to wait five years to win away to Everton.