There's a spring in the step

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N’Golo Kante’s capture from champions Leicester at £30m now looks a steal. Picture: Action Images


Tim Harrison

By Tim Harrison

It’s early days, and there are much sterner tests ahead, but Chelsea’s start to the season has put a spring back into everyone’s step at the Bridge.

There’s a feeling that if the relaxed, reinvigorated Eden Hazard and the mercurial Willian remain fit, anything is possible.

Both have had a serious influence on the Blues’ opening fixtures... although last weekend’s 3-0 victory over a lacklustre Burnley could and should have been even more convincing.

For some reason, players seem reluctant to unleash shots inside the penalty area, with both Hazard and Willian scoring from the edge of the box.

Victor Moses’ goal was from closer range, however, giving him a welcome morale boost, even if he’s still likely to be used as a supersub to cause late mayhem.

Chelsea’s efforts to bolster their squad in the summer have been mixed, although N’Golo Kante’s capture from champions Leicester at £30million now looks a steal.

There was a late flurry of activity as workmen double-glazed the transfer window, although the only unveiling at the Blues’ most recent game was… a 33-year-old.

Yes, goalkeeper Eduardo, who turns 34 later this month, is the bright new young thing between the sticks.

He walked on (unaided) to meet the crowd before the Burnley game; elderly back-up for Thibaut Courtois and Asmir Begovic, though most insiders think he will be used as the second goalie after several uncertain outings by the former Stoke netminder.

Why Eduardo? The keeper, who played for Portugal at the 2010 World Cup, is a protégé of Chelsea’s current goalkeeping coach Gianluca Spinelli, and played for him at Genoa.

The international break before the Blues travel to Swansea on September 11 will give Tony Conte, the new manager, an important four-day holiday back home in Italy.

No sooner had he handed in his Italian tracksuit than he was on a plane to supervise Chelsea’s pre-season.

He’s proving a popular choice in SW6, and seems to be growing into the job. Roman Abramovich, watching from on high, has been beaming.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham.

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