As Premier League debuts for your new club go, Ben Chilwell’s could hardly have been better for a left-back with a goal, a quality assist, dangerous set-pieces delivered and a clean sheet in the 4-0 dismissal of Crystal Palace.
He was naturally very happy with his own display at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon but his satisfaction went beyond that, as he explained after the final whistle.
‘I was nervous and excited before the game and I wanted to do well for the team,’ Chilwell began, ‘and it was a brilliant all-round performance by everyone, from the goalkeeper to the strikers, everyone put a shift in and especially in the second half it was a great performance.
‘The first half was frustrating, we had lots of possession but did not really create enough as a team.
‘We knew Crystal Palace were a very organised team and they showed that in the first half. At half-time we spoke about needing to be a bit more creative and taking a few more chances in the attacking third. We know we have quality there and the second half we came out a bit more sharp and scored four goals and I like the way we kept going to the end, we wanted more goals and showed a hunger to press for the whole 90 minutes.’
It was not just about the goals scored though as the other side of the Chelsea performance limited Palace to very few chances and zero goals to their name.
‘We know it is very important and that is the biggest plus from the game,’ reckons Chilwell. ‘As a defender I am going to say that but scoring four goals is great but a clean sheet is perfect for us going into the international break, and hopefully we can continue to defend well like that. Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma were brilliant, solid, talking to everyone throughout the 90 minutes, and it is a good sign of things to come.’
The 23-year-old acknowledges that the understanding in this new-look Chelsea side is still a work in progress, something he believes is the case with many sides in the Premier League, but we are moving in the right direction.
‘There has not really been a pre-season, players are coming back from injuries and there have been a lot of different factors, not just for ourselves but for all the teams, and it is going to take a few weeks for everyone to bed in together. We are working very hard on the training pitch and in this second half especially we showed that it is starting to gel together nicely.’