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How the Chelsea arrivals fared in Everton win as Tottenham clash looms

Posted on August 15, 2022

Following a troubling end to last season, both on and off the pitch, Chelsea entered the new Premier League campaign with a new ownership and three new signings to show off at Goodison Park: A new era for the Blues off to a winning start.

Summer signings Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella all featured in Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Everton, with only the English winger completing a full 90 minutes for the Blues. Kalidou Koulibaly was forced off with cramp as he experienced the intensity of the Premier League for the first time after arriving for Serie A side Napoli in the summer. Marc Cucurella, only confirmed as a Chelsea player the day before Saturday’s match, came on for the Senegalese defender in the 75th-minute having joined from Brighton.

For Sterling, it was a steady start to life with the West London side. He thought he opened his Chelsea account after putting the ball in the back of the Toffee’s net, jumping on a parry from England compatriot Jordan Pickford, but was correctly judged to be in an offside position, much to the forward's frustration. He looked the liveliest attacker in Chelsea’s forward line, with Mason Mount and Kai Havertz enduring quiet games before being substituted off in the second half, and will be desperate to open his account at Stamford Bridge on Sunday against rivals Spurs in front of the Chelsea fans.

Kalidou Koulibaly’s debut at Goodison Park couldn’t have gone much better. The Senegalese centre-back completed 88% of his passes against Everton on Saturday while picking up a 7.61 match rating, helping Chelsea pick up all three points, at a ground where they had not won since 2017, to get their season off to a winning start. Despite the new signing leaving the field with 15 minutes to play, it was a promising debut for the new man, and Chelsea fans will be keen to see their new number 26, once occupied by Blues legend John Terry, make his Stamford Bridge bow.

As for Marc Cucurella, there was a short cameo for the ex-Brighton man towards the latter stages of the game. While not having a huge impact on the game, the Spaniard looked sharp on and off the ball. Despite some pundits believing he is not worth the amount Chelsea paid to acquire his services, Sky Sports pundits Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville among the guilty parties, the Blues have got a fine full-back to bolster their squad, following the imminent departure of Marcos Alonso to Barcelona.

While Sterling has had his fair share of Premier League derby games with Manchester City, Chelsea’s next opponents will provide Koulibaly and Cucurella with a true test, as 2021/22 joint top scorer Son Hueng-Min and the formidable Harry Kane are in West London for Sunday’s London derby at Stamford Bridge.

Not only did Spurs fail to beat their rivals in all competitions last season, they also failed to score a single goal against them in the four encounters they played out across the Premier League and Carabao Cup semi-final. Antonio Rudiger was the last player to score a Premier League goals in Spurs' favour, the German's own goal a consolation in a 2-1 win over the north London side in February 2020. Antonio Conte’s men will be hungry for revenge after last season, and with some tidy additions to their own team, it could very well be one of the games of the season.

Many will remember previous encounters between the two sides. Most notably the 2015/16 clash, dubbed the “Battle of the Bridge”, as the game descended into chaos with referee Mark Clattenburg dishing out 12 yellow cards. The 2-2 draw confirmed Leicester City’s maiden Premier League title in an extraordinary season, and it was too much for Tottenham to take, who were chasing the Foxes at the time.

The added spice to the game comes through the current Tottenham manager Antonio Conte, who guided Chelsea to the Premier League title in 2017, which included a 13-match winning run, a record at the time. The team to end that winning run? None other than Chelsea’s opponents this Sunday, Tottenham.

With Spurs only winning at Stamford Bridge once in the Premier League era, Chelsea have history on their side, as well as the successes last season against Spurs, and will look to their new signings, Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella, to give them the edge and maintain their unbeaten run to the season.