The season is still very young, but we’ve had ample time to get an early idea of how Chelsea’s new signings have fared in the Premier League so far.
Over the summer, the biggest new addition to the Blues was manager Maurizio Sarri from Napoli. The new boss came in with the intent of playing exciting, forward-thinking football. In return, the club brought him three new faces for starting eleven contention, as well as Robert Green as the backup goalie.
Two of the three new signings played 90 minutes from day one, while the late addition on loan has had to muscle his way past Ross Barkley to get time in the Premier League. But, on the whole, Kepa, Jorginho, and Mateo Kovacic have all done well enough to suggest that even better performances are still to come.
Only 23 years old, Kepa boasts many years of experience of top-flight football in La Liga and has shown himself to be an assured presence in net for Chelsea so far. He kept a clean sheet against Huddersfield Town, conceded twice in the win over Arsenal, and allowed one from Newcastle United.
Having signed for £71.6 million from Athletic Bilbao, there are high expectations for Thibaut Courtois’ successor. The fundamentals are all there, but his age and lack of strength have peeped as minor issues. Were the Spaniard a bit stronger, he could have kept out Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s strike against Arsenal. These elements will come, and so long as Chelsea continue with this attacking mentality, there should be enough goals scored to cover Kepa while he adjusts himself to the class of the Premier League.
Source: Chelsea FC, via Twitter
Last season, Sarri was treated to a plethora of midfield talent which included Jorginho, Marek Hamsik, Allan, Amadou Diawara, Piotr Zielinski, and Marko Rog. When he joined Chelsea, he decided to take the defensive lynchpin that held it all together, Jorginho.
The Brazilian-born Italian’s ability to make tackles, clear the ball, move with the ball, and pick out pinpoint passes has made Chelsea a much stronger, more forward-thinking unit. He’s a major reason behind Chelsea being at 2/5 to make the top four and 14/1 to win the league in the Premier League betting.
Jorginho has sat in the role that N’Golo Kante formerly held, just in front of the defence, but doesn’t play the same role as Kante did – who has now been moved higher up the pitch to press the opposition in more dangerous areas and snuff out attacks early. Jorginho acts as a deep-lying playmaker while also supporting the defence. His passing is sublime, and he was one of the standout players in the first three games of the season.
Source: Mateo Kovacic, via Twitter
As part of the deal to sign Courtois, Real Madrid kindly agreed to send out of favour central midfielder Mateo Kovacic to Stamford Bridge on loan. Despite struggling to get game time with the Champions League winners of the last three years, the 24-year-old Croatian is a strong, attack-minded player who can dictate games.
Being a late arrival, it’s taken time for Kovacic to earn game time, and as it’s claimed that there is no purchase clause in his loan contract, it’s understandable that Chelsea wouldn’t want to gift him a first-team place. But, three games in, Kovacic muscled his way past Ross Barkley to get a start against Newcastle. His shrewd passing, ability to spot a run and lay a key pass, as well as his tendency to draw fouls made him a useful addition to the midfield.
Based on early showings, Kepa and Kovacic have more to offer but have proving to be decent signings. Kovacic could grow to become core to Chelsea’s attack, while Kepa will inevitably grow into his huge potential – especially if he works on his physical attributes. Jorginho fits right into Sarri’s Blues, orchestrating the team from a deep position while giving the attack greater numbers and a more menacing approach.