“Two-hundred per cent ready”.
Possession was Chelsea 81% Newcastle 19%.
Chelsea made it three wins out of three to start their Premier League season after triumphing 2-1 over Newcastle at St James’ Park on Sunday.
Hazard shone on his return, and Sarri’s side were far the more positive.
All three of the goals in this match came after the 75th minute and Newcastle’s late urgency was insufficient to steal a point from the Blues. Yet the first decent chance occurred at the other end, when Salomon Rondon flashed a free header wide. “There’s a bit of a feeling around Newcastle at the moment, and I think Chelsea will take advantage”.
Don’t be surprised if he goes on to break the pass record this season. “Every player in our system is fundamental and so is the coach, who brings his new ideas to a well-drilled unit, introducing them with balance and wisdom”. It was not the only occasion his vision stretched Newcastle’s stubborn defence. “It is wonderful to play football, of course last season was not the best for me inside the pitch, but also I learned a lot outside the pitch as a person, as a man”, he said.
From playing a 3-4-3 formation under previous manager Antonio Conte, Chelsea are now deploying in a 4-3-3 formation under Sarri. For Hazard, a player at his best when unburdened by defensive responsibility, the attacking emphasis is good news. I want to have fun, press the ball.
“I have never seen a Rafa Benitez side play with five defenders”.
He certainly seems to be enjoying himself. Having endured a season of his shortfalls, we had hoped not to witness much more.
Both replacements were involved in the equalising goal but while Olivier Giroud was left claiming a foul on the turf, Joselu was the most alert man on the pitch, sneaking in front of David Luiz to nod Newcastle level.
The former Napoli boss, whose side have joined Liverpool on nine points at the top of the table, said: “We knew it would be a hard game for us, especially for us and for every team”. There can be no doubting now that he is ready to show it.