The striker may not have found the net in his first showing for a Blues side in need of improvement but his quality was on display for all to see
Almost immediately after kick-off, Brighton were left chasing one of the Premier League’s fastest players as new arrival Timo Werner showed exactly what Chelsea bought this summer.
The £47.5 million arrival’s lightning pace punished Graham Potter’s side time and again at the Amex Stadium – and it was he who proved the difference on his debut.
Jorginho latched onto a Brighton mistake and the Germany striker was alive to the turnover, skipping past Mat Ryan and winning a penalty for his team-mate in the process.
Werner would perhaps take the penalties on any other day, but Jorginho continued his 100 per cent record from the spot in the Premier League.
Leandro Trossard’s 25-yard strike was no less than the Seagulls deserved during a tight clash, but a moment of inspiration from Reece James made it 2-1 almost immediately afterwards as he struck it powerfully into the top corner from distance.
Kurt Zouma would round off the scoring late in the second half, with a deflected effort from a corner delivering a much sought-after opening day win for the Blues.
Still, Werner could have added goals to his tally having not been found on the counter-attack by Loftus-Cheek in a two-versus one situation in the 43rd minute – and having almost caught Ryan out at his near post shortly after.
Of the two German debutants, it was Werner who stood out against his compatriot Kai Havertz, who was largely anonymous on his debut after a £70m move from Bayer Leverkusen which almost broke the club’s transfer record.
Werner has been training with his Chelsea team-mates since late July but Havertz has only been here for just over a week following a long negotiating period with the Bundesliga club.
A lung-busting 73rd-minute defensive recovery run into his own box showed his dedication to the cause, however, and that desire will set the tempo for what Lampard expects. The action was one of his last kicks of the game as he lasted 79 minutes on his debut.
Indeed, Lampard moved to temper expectations on both his new signings ahead of kick-off.
“I expect a lot of them in terms of the Chelsea players they’re going to be, because they’re fantastic talents, but they are on matchday one and they’ve just moved,” Lampard said in Brighton.
“Kai has trained for probably a week and it’s Timo’s first game in the Premier League as well, so we must give them time and not expect everything in one evening. They’re talented lads, they’ve shown great character, I love them as people, they’re good team-mates already.
“I expect their quality to come through but I don’t want everyone to expect a lot tonight.”
For all his endeavour, Werner did fade as the match went on, with Brighton adjusting and defending deeper to counteract his speed.
Lampard’s words were sober and sensible but likely fell on deaf ears as expectation grows around a record £200m ($252m) of summer spending. Unfortunately, former Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell and former Ajax playmaker Hakim Ziyech were injured for the first game of the season.
Meanwhile, Thiago Silva was deemed unfit having just returned from holiday after playing in the Champions League final with PSG.
The Blues were also without their star man after the UK lockdown last season with Christian Pulisic not quite making it back in time after a hamstring injury.
Those challenges, along with having many players in quarantine ahead of the new season, were mitigating circumstances around the lack of fluidity shown on Monday night.
Lampard will need his side to gel to get the best out of Havertz, who can do better than he first showed. Equally, the players around the new signings, particularly Ruben Loftus-Cheek, had their struggles over the 90 minutes.
Kepa Arrizabalaga was beaten from long range again and looked unconvincing at set pieces. In fact, since joining Chelsea in 2018, the Spain international has conceded 19 goals from outside the box – which is more than any other goalkeeper in the Premier League during that time period.
Brighton can blame poor finishing for not scoring more, highlighting that Chelsea are not the finished article by any means. They will need to improve against tougher opposition but quality won the match on the night.
“The football is totally different,” Werner said of his first taste of Premier League football – a sentiment that a new-look Chelsea squad will no doubt echo as they adjust to their new team-mates. “But I’m happy to be here.”
On Monday’s evidence, Chelsea fans should be happy he’s here too.