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|Chelsea’s Super Cup Victory: Five Things To Take Away From The Game by ochuski(m): 6:51pm On Aug 13|
Chelsea beat Villarreal in a thrilling penalty shoot-out to win the Uefa Super Cup for the second time in their history after a night of twists and turns in Belfast. As the Blues prepare for their Premier League start against Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, let's take a look at five positives from the encounter.
Chelsea rookie, Chalobah is impressive.
Trevoh Chalobah finished a magnificent pre-season with a man-of-the-match performance, wiping out Villarreal's frontline threats with excellent efficiency and astonishing maturity. “He never lost his cool, stayed calm, and was physically capable of playing 120 minutes,” remarked Thomas Tuchel, who was overjoyed. “It was awe-inspiring. He pushed his way into our heads. Let's see how things proceed. We have a few days to decide on his personal future, but he is already demonstrating his worth to the team.”
The importance of Kante in maintaining a healthy core.
N'Kolo Kante shone in the final three games of their Champions League campaign, as well as in the Super Cup final. Chelsea's dominance weakened once he was taken off, as the midfield struggled under Villarreal's constant pressure. There is a growing conviction that Chelsea's midfield spine isn't strong enough to launch a title challenge, with Billy Gilmour out on loan, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Ross Barkley out of favor, and Ruben Loftus-future Cheek's uncertain. It would be nearly hard to replace one of the best central midfielders in the world, but the £70 million saved by choosing Chalobah over Kounde may be used to fund a more pressing need for a steely presence in midfield if Kante is injured.
Ziyech is getting his bearings.
If pre-season is any indication, Hakim Ziyech, Chelsea's Moroccan magician, has rediscovered how to perform spells. Tuchel's willingness to change his 3-4-2-1 formation to give Ziyech a more daring role between the lines has paid off handsomely. There have been eye-catching through-balls to Timo Werner, a long-range strike that nestled into the bottom corner against Tottenham, and brilliant runs into the box – one of which gained Chelsea's opener last during the Super cup final and another yielded the second in the draw with Tottenham. Despite the tragic setback, there are reasons to believe that Ziyech's return to form and health this season will help the Blues break down stubborn defenses.
Lukaku could be the answer to Chelsea strikers' woes.
The attacking line has continued to perform irregularly, despite the fact that players have yet to attain full match fitness. Marcos Alonso and Callum Hudson-Odoi hit high crosses, Werner chased pointless long balls over the top, and there was a lack of creativity and execution in the final third. It was painfully evident that there was no actual focal point to unite aggressive moves. The addition of Romelu Lukaku couldn't have come at a better moment; his expertise and presence will almost definitely energize Chelsea's attackers, reducing the burden on their young shoulders.
Blues or boost in extra time?
Three days before the start of the new Premier League season, going into extra time was far from ideal, with Chalobah, Kai Havertz, Antonio Rudiger, Mateo Kovacic, and Xabi Alonso all putting in grueling 120-minute shifts. It was unsurprising to see Havertz, who is normally a calm and consistent penalty taker, miss a spot-kick in the shootout. Mason Mount, Jorginho, and Cesar Azpilicueta, who all arrived late from the Euros, needed these extra minutes. Tuchel is having trouble deciding on his starting lineup for the Palace game.
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