Four things we learned from Chelsea's new signings - and what they need next

dailystar.co.uk 12 days ago

Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella all made their debuts for Chelsea against Everton, but how did they get on, and what do Chelsea need going forward? Here's what we reckon

Jorginho's penalty was the difference maker as Chelsea got their season off to a winning start
Jorginho's penalty was the difference maker as Chelsea got their season off to a winning start

Chelsea kicked off their 2022/23 campaign with a desperately-needed victory following a tumultuous pre-season - but it really wasn't easy.

Jorginho's first half penalty made the difference but the Blues struggled to break down Frank Lampard's stubborn Everton side, despite having plenty of possession, and looked nervy whenever the Goodison Park crowd tried to literally drag the ball past Edouard Mendy with every roaring Toffees attack.

New signings Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly both started the match, with Marc Cucurella starring from the bench, but how exactly did they all fare and what do Thomas Tuchel's side need going forward?

Here's what we at Daily Star Sport reckon after a tense afternoon on Merseyside...

Koulibaly tailor-made for the Premier League

Kalidou Koulibaly was a monster at the back for Chelsea
Kalidou Koulibaly was a monster at the back for Chelsea

How on earth has it taken Kalidou Koulibaly so long to get to the Premier League?

The former Napoli defender, who'd been linked with English clubs for years, was a rock at the back for the Blues and immediately proved that the rough and tumble of the Premier League was right up his street.

At 31-years-old, some might have been concerned that his best years were behind him, but on today's evidence they really aren't. Not by a long a shot.

Sterling offers extra dimension

Raheem Sterling will unlock plenty of doors for his new club
Raheem Sterling will unlock plenty of doors for his new club

Raheem Sterling's invention and agility and will be a big help to Chelsea this season.

Penetration has been a big issue for the Blues since Eden Hazard left and the England international's ability to go breeze past defenders will unlock plenty of doors, as it did against Everton.

He spent the afternoon flip-flopping between centre forward and left wing, and while the former doesn't really suit him, he was a central figure in the majority of Chelsea's attacks.

Cucurella is worth the money

Marc Cucurella looked sharp against Everton
Marc Cucurella looked sharp against Everton

Marc Cucurella didn't have to long to shine but he made a sizeable impression, nearly setting up Sterling with a wonderful low-whipped cross just a few minutes after coming on.

Plenty baulked after learning Chelsea had paid £62million (the highest ever fee for a full back) to land him from Brighton, but he looked every bit a star in his short cameo.

The Spaniard also offers the club strength in depth - something they didn't have at the back last season, which cost them dearly. This isn't to say he'll play second-fiddle to Ben Chilwell, it's just that his quality and versatility will really come in handy.

Chelsea desperately need a striker

Chelsea need goals - badly
Chelsea need goals - badly

Having spent the summer relentlessly chasing defenders, Chelsea have somehow failed to address the biggest hole in their squad - the one left by Romelu Lukaku.

Sterling and Kai Havertz spent most of the match swapping false nine duties and Tuchel's side are going to seriously struggle if they're relying on those two for goals.

Armando Broja, who came on for the final quarter-of-an-hour, remains an option, but the Blues will likely need a proper, proven goalscorer to stand any chance of keeping pace with the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool this season, and to dig them out of holes when the going gets tough - something they haven't had since Diego Costa.