Raheem Sterling put Luton to the sword as Chelsea picked up their first Premier League win at Stamford Bridge since March.
Mauricio Pochettino is off the mark as Chelsea manager as he saw his side comfortably beat Luton at the Bridge. Two goals for a re-energised Raheem Sterling, who looked back to his mesmorising best, and a first Premier League goal for summer signing Nicolas Jackson put the game beyond the Hatters, who made it two defeats from two in their first season back in the top flight in 31 years.
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It was an important result for the Argentinian as it ended a run of eight home league games without three points (D5 L3), as well as equaling their biggest margin of victory at Stamford Bridge in the competition from last season (3-0 v Wolves in October 2022).
Here’s how the players rated at Stamford Bridge:
Robert Sanchez – 6 – Did not have a single save to make in the opening 45 minutes, but was there when called upon to deny Giles.
Axel Disasi – 7 – Dealt well with Elijah Adebayo and won six of his seven aerial duels as he continues to settle to life in English football and overcame a shaky start to the game.
Thiago Silva – 7 – Someone needs to learn how to clone Thiago Silva before he retires, because at 38-years-old he makes defending in the Premier League look so simple. Calm, collected and a rock at the back for the Blues.
Levi Colwill – 7 – Starting to make the left centre-back spot his own but did have a nervy moment when Kabore got past him in the box.
Malo Gusto – 7 – Became just the fourth player to register 2+ assists on his first Premier League home start for Chelsea after Dan Petrescu in 1995, Eden Hazard in 2012 and Hakim Ziyech in 2020. Didn’t have much to do for this first but expertly found Raheem Sterling all alone in the box for his second.
Malo Gusto's game by numbers vs Luton Town:
95.6% passing accuracy
6 final third entries
4 duels won
2 take-ons completed
2 chances created
The fourth Chelsea player to provide multiple assists on their first start at home in the Premeir League. ✌️ pic.twitter.com/d6SNxr6fbz
— Squawka Live (@Squawka_Live) August 25, 2023
Conor Gallagher – 7 – Did not give the ball away in the first half, completing 100% of his 38 passes, including 14 in the final third. Did his defensive duties well making three tackles and three interceptions and looked comfortable alongside Moises Caicedo in the engine room.
Moises Caicedo – 7 – A tidy full Chelsea debut for the Ecuadorian. Was dispossessed early on, but grew into the game and kept possession well, finishing with a 97% pass accuracy (58/60).
Ben Chilwell – 5 – WHY DID HE PASS! The former Leicester full-back was presented with a huge chance five minutes into the second half as he drove through the Luton defence, but instead of shooting into an almost empty net he tried to lay the ball of to Sterling and it was cleared out for a corner.
Almost playing as a LW in Poch’s system, the 26-year-old will find himself with a lot more chances this season and he will have to start making the right decisions. Looks out of place in the opposition penalty box.
Enzo Fernandez – 8 – Played some exquisite passes, including putting Sterling through as he squared the ball to Jackson for his first Chelsea goal. Enjoying playing slightly further forward and was unlucky not to score, twice hitting the woodwork.
Pinged the ball across the pitch and made more final third passes than any other player on the pitch (24).
Raheem Sterling – 9 – Scored his first Premier League goal of the season in superb style, weaving in and out of the Luton defence before firing in the bottom corner. Added a second after 68 minutes after being found in the box by Gusto and then topped off a fine evening with an assist for Nicolas Jackson.
Luton could not handle him as he terrorised their back five for the entire evening and looks back to his scintillating best.
The former Man City man gave a frank interview to Sky Sports after the game, where he revealed how a conversation with new boss Mauricio Pochettino has helped him get over the problems of last season.
“We had a simple conservation and the manager said, ‘Raheem, it doesn’t matter where you play – as long as you apply it, are dynamic, then no-one can stop you, just be aggressive with the ball’. I’ve got the desire and hunger to do that.”
“In the first game against Liverpool, I was inside the pocket a bit too much and that was my feeling last season when I was too deep playing balls with the full backs.” I came here in a difficult period, that’s all in the past. I’ve taken a look at myself and I’m a person that analyses what went wrong, what I can change. I want to get back being obsessed with football. Football 24/7, scoring and assisting.”
“I had a bit of frustration last season, I was always coming with my back to goal, a bit deep, and wasn’t given a chance to get towards the box. I had a conversation with the manager last week. “We’ve gone through the role – and I know what he wants from me, getting in on the back post, driving at players – that’s when I’m most effective.”
Raheem Sterling's game by numbers vs Luton Town:
13 touches in opp. box (most)
3 shots on target
2 take-ons completed
2 chances created
A performance deserving of a hug. ? pic.twitter.com/v1BFeuQ65L
— Squawka Live (@Squawka_Live) August 25, 2023
Nicolas Jackson – 8 – Caused the Luton back line endless problems with his pace and power and was rewarded with his first Premier League goal for the Blues. The first of many.
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Lesley Ugochukwu (for Jackson 83′) – N/A – A late sub.
Ian Maatsen (for Chilwell 83′) – N/A – A late sub.
Mason Burstow (for Sterling 93′) – N/A – A late sub.
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Thomas Kaminski – 6 – Made a good save to deny Raheem Sterling early on and had no chance with any of the three goals.
Reece Burke – 6 – Luton’s best defender and the one that looked the most comfortable in the Premier League.
Tom Lockyer – 4 – Had a night to forget at Stamford Bridge. Made a good block to deny Sterling in the early stages, but could not handle the pace of Chelsea’s attack as they ran past him like he wasn’t even there. Booked for bringing down Nicolas Jackson and was lucky to get away with a shirt pull on Thiago Silva in the box.
Amari’i Bell – 5 – Gave away way too much space to Chelsea and failed to close Gusto down as he had all the time in the world to find Raheem Sterling for the second goal.
Issa Kabore – 6 – Got behind the Chelsea defence in the first half after some nice work, but had a tough evening dealing with Chelsea’s left-hand side.
Ross Barkley – 5 – A tough evening on his return to Stamford Bridge. Looked off the pace and out of place.
Chelsea’s form at home in the Premier League:
For the first time since the 4th of March, the Blues leave Stamford Bridge with 3 points. ? pic.twitter.com/GFrFgiWoW7
— Squawka (@Squawka) August 25, 2023
Marvelous Nakamba – 5 – Struggled in a Luton midfield that was constantly overrun.
Tahith Chong – 6 – Picked Caicedo’s pocket early on and kept getting into some nice attacking positions breaking from midfield, but faded as the game went on.
Ryan Giles – 5 – Still looking for Raheem Sterling after he glided past him to put the Blues ahead and really struggled to get anywhere near him during the game. Had Luton’s first shot on target of the game as he fired straight at Robert Sanchez but offered little threat going forward apart from that.
Carlton Morris – 6 – Made the most of what little service he had and battled well up top alongside Adebayo. Looked the most likely to make something happen for the Hatters.
Getting stuck in. ?
? 0-0 ? (15) pic.twitter.com/TH0NGO13VA
— Luton Town FC (@LutonTown) August 25, 2023
Elijah Adebayo – 6 – Fought for every ball up front and didn’t let the Chelsea defence rest. Looked to run Disasi at every opportunity but didn’t get a chance at goal. Held the ball up well with little support.
Alfie Doughty (for Kabore 70′) – N/A- A late sub
Jacob Brown (for Adebayo 70′) – N/A – A late sub
Mads Andersen (for Burke 77′) – N/A – A late sub
Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu (for Barkley 77′) – N/A – A late sub
Chiedozie Ogbene (for Chong 77′) – N/A – A late sub