New city, same old story

Gonzalo Higuain has made a promising start to life at Chelsea, scoring twice on his home Premier League debut, but then Maurizio Sarri has history getting the best out of our new striker.

The Argentine international found the back of the net twice as we stormed to a 5-0 victory over Huddersfield Town on Saturday, showing excellent movement and instinctive finishing to open the scoring from close range, before adding a second with an excellent first-time strike from outside the box.

However, that was merely a continuation of the earlier goalscoring form he showed under Sarri’s guidance when they worked together previously at Napoli, during the 2015/16 season.

When you include his first few games as a Chelsea player, Higuain’s record while playing for our Italian head coach now stands at impressive 40 goals in 45 appearances, but it is even better in league matches, finding the net 38 times in just 37 games across the Premier League and Serie A.

His goal ratio is just as emphatic under Sarri when you consider the actual time he spent on the pitch, averaging a goal ever 88 minutes in all competitions. No wonder the duo were so keen to work together again in west London.

While his record has been consistently high regardless of the manager he has played for, getting a goal every 137 minutes across his entire club career, it is only while playing for Sarri that Higuain has averaged better than a goal per game consistently throughout their time together.

The next best is with his fellow Argentinian Manuel Pellegrini, his 29 goals in 40 games at Real Madrid under his compatriot in 2009/10 averaging out at one every 102 minutes, closely followed by two more of his managers at his first European club, Jose Mourinho (one every 120 minutes) and Bernd Schuster (one ever 126 minutes).

Only twice has that figure briefly fallen below a goal every two games, and they were his two shortest spells working with a manager, Fabio Capello at Real and Gennaro Gattuso at AC Milan.

However, even then he kept up his habit of making a good start to life under a new boss, scoring three times in his first five matches for Gattuso and then, after a short absence through injury, did even better to net three times in two games on his return to action.

It’s not the only time in his career that Higuain has shown himself to be a fast starter, either, especially in league matches. He scored three goals in as many games after joining Massimiliano Allegri at Juventus, but again reserved his best work for Sarri, netting four times in his first four Serie A matches for him in Naples.

Perhaps then we shouldn’t be surprised to see Sarri and Higuain being reunited to such quick success again at the Bridge. Let’s hope his goals record for the Italian remains just as high throughout the rest of his loan spell in SW6.

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