Positive signs create room for optimism



Chelsea players celebrate during Saturday’s satisfying 3-0 away win at Huddersfield. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES

Tim Harrison

By Tim Harrison

Fleetingly, Chelsea topped the new Premier League table after Saturday’s satisfying 3-0 away win at Huddersfield, but what was more pleasing was the way things clicked.

Morrie Sarri had played down prospects, saying that real synchronicity could be up to three months away.

But with N’Golo Kante knocking in a surprise opener, new boy Jorginho dribbling home a penalty and Pedro linking exquisitely with Eden Hazard for a third, it all looked rosy very quickly.

Playing with four at the back didn’t look nearly as cumbersome as it did at Wembley for the Community Shield.

Perhaps the Terriers weren’t the sternest of opponents, but they nearly drew level when Steve Mounie headed against a post with new keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga stranded.

Kepa’s clean sheet was, at the final whistle, almost as gratifying as the way Kante and Jorginho performed as a central midfield pairing – something that may be tested more in the London derby this weekend when Arsenal visit the Bridge.

“We are not at the top of our potential,” said Sarri with understatement after winning at the John Smith stadium.

The early form of Man City and Liverpool looks ominous, but while the Blues still can’t yet count on Alvaro Morata to be a scoring force, there is room for optimism.

If Chelsea are the Top Six underdogs, that suits Sarri, the supporters and, indeed, Roman Abramovich.

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

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