Chelsea got their Premier League campaign off to a winning start but were made to work hard for it by an impressive Brighton display.
With their summer spending in excess of £200million, and counting, much is expected of the Blues this season and goals from Jorginho, Reece James and Kurt Zouma ensured they began with three points, though a 3-1 final scoreline was perhaps a touch flattering.
Frank Lampard gave debuts to his two summer signings from the Bundesliga in Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, while Kepa Arrizabalaga was given the nod to start in goal despite speculation over his future, with Rennes stopper Edouard Mendy set to arrive.
Werner’s sharpness was the bright point in a disjointed first half display from Chelsea, as Brighton more than matched them, with former Blues academy man Tariq Lamptey particularly lively.
However, Lampard’s men were gifted the chance to take the lead on 23 minutes, when Steven Alzate’s loose pass in midfield allowed Jorginho to play Werner in on goal and the German was brought down as he attempted to round Mat Ryan. Jorginho resumed spot-kick duties and made no mistake with a trademark hop and skip before sending the Australian the wrong way.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek wasted a terrific chance to play Werner in again on the counter, poking a tame pass straight at Ben White, who had been the only Brighton defender back, and while Seagulls boss Graham Potter would’ve been pleased with his side’s display, the sight of debutant Adam Lallana limping off before the interval provided cause for concern.
A smile was back on his face soon after the restart as Leandro Trossard levelled the scores with a low strike into the far corner, though there were serious questions about Kepa’s attempt at a save yet again.
The home joy was short-lived, however, as James’ rocket into the top corner from 25 yards put Chelsea back in front only 100 seconds later, the full-back scoring his first Premier League goal.
Brighton should have capped a crazy few minutes with a second equaliser as Lewis Dunk was somehow allowed to steal in completely unmarked at the back post, only to somehow head wide from six yards.
His wastefulness was punished on 66 minutes when fellow defender Adam Webster diverted Zouma’s tame effort beyond a wrong-footed Ryan to give the visitors a two-goal cushion they never surrendered.