Welcome to Lampard 2.0: The Upgrade. Thinking though, it might take some time to download.
On a lovely late summer night in Walmer, the first fruits of Chelsea’s extravagant spending in recent seasons are evident. Timo Werner seemed to be the most vital part of the weighty early Brighton defeat, which was increasingly fluent 3-1, which was amazingly brilliant and unlucky.
For 22 minutes at Amex Stadium, Chelsea’s latest new era struggled to find its beat, as the component parts banded together in search of proper paths.
There was a brief glimpse of the work still to be done as the two German players presented by Frank Lampard met for the first time, with Kai Havertz playing a superb pass to Werner halfway, only for Werner’s special touch to find Marcus Alonso off the field off the field with all Abandon your carefree. Victorian coal battleship heavily loaded.
Otherwise, Yves Bessuma and Stephen El Zate were the best in the midfield exchange, until the moment Alzate played a shocking pass straight to Jorginho at the edge of the Brighton area. He sent the ball to Werner, who lunge forward and overtook Matt Ryan as he veered towards the goal. Jorginho put the penalty kick away with a small turn of guts and side footing, celebrating out loud.
It didn’t feel like an exact moment of ignition; Partly because Brighton has been the most active team up to that point.
But then, there was always a temptation to build this game as an immediate referendum on Chelsea’s summer spending spree, and indeed on Lampard’s own fitness to match the exceptional talent at his disposal now.
In fact, it will take some time for jet lag for several crazy months to fade. Hakim Ziyech and Ben Chilwell missed the AMEX stadium. Thiago Silva is still “adjusting” to the new normal of life in a safe English Premier League, in which case we wish you good luck with that old pill and see you in about two years.
Werner is a wonderful newcomer to Chelsea in the summer and has looked at him from the start, lining up as a mobile and moving striker, with Havertz starting on the right side of three forwards.
For Brighton, Graham Potter went with three defense, jet-heeled Tariq Lamptey, who was a vanguard of Lampard, starting with right-back. Ben White and Adam Lallana also appeared.
The Amex Stadium was a stunning sight at kick-off, with empty stands being brilliantly lit, and a powdery blue sky fading over the edge of the main stand. Brighton pressed forward on either side of Chelsea’s goalkeeper, pressing the ball well and finding space on the wings.
For Chelsea, Mason Mount was bright. Before the intermission, Werner showed accuracy again, cutting from the inside on the left and firing hard at Ryan’s post. It was a lonely moment of clarity in the mystical first half in which Brighton dominated possession and won the Chelsea defense without threatening to open it.
Lallana would limp before the first half, to be replaced by Aaron Connolly, and it was Connolly’s box that saved early from Kepa Arizabalaga after the second half, and put the ball into the net from a Solly March cross.
The entire Brighton team was commissioned somewhere in the Chelsea midfield signing zone, but they kept looking at the more stable and organized team, moving the ball gently and pressing in well-trained packs.
With 54 minutes passed, Leandro Trussard scored the equalizer he deserved, as he curled a pass from Lamptey and fired a superb left-footed shot into the corner as Arizabalaga mysteriously slammed through his line.
Two minutes later, Chelsea is back on top thanks to something really amazing from Reese James. Jorginho fired the ball across the middle line. James took 30 yards from goal, made a move, and hit his shot in a hard, steady, low arc into the top corner of Ryan’s goal.
The game is suddenly opened. Lewis Dunk should have made it 2-2 but he crossed the post a little from eight yards. But Chelsea was holding the ball now and passing with a bigger goal. Possession period ended with James forcing a right-hand corner. Kurt Zuma punched his swing out, and his shot went awry en route.
Trailing 3-1, Brighton looked puzzled, and their efforts slipped with some tough moments and a bit of bad luck as well. But Chelsea were blocking the ball with some enthusiasm now, Mount and Havertz had met once or twice and Ross Barkley added some nudge as he was fairly steady in the biaxial center in Chelsea midfield.
By the end, Chelsea was dominant as high-quality offensive reinforcements – well deep – arrived from the bench. There is a lot of slack to be addressed in Lampard’s high-end squad. But this was a safe first step.