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What Reece James and Cesar Azpilicueta Did To Yerry Mina As Chelsea Captain Vindicates Contract

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What Reece James and Cesar Azpilicueta Did To Yerry Mina As Chelsea Captain Vindicates Contract

The first fixture of the Premier League season has come and past and Chelsea have opened up their account with a 1-0 win over Everton. From the outside it may look like a simple case of job done but off the back of an up and down pre-season and a very poor Goodison Park record, the Blues pulled through.

It was not a stellar performance from Thomas Tuchel’s side but Jorginho’s penalty was enough to separate the sides after Ben Chilwell was felled in the box. Kalidou Koulibaly was the man to play the wing-back through and produced a solid if not perfect display while fellow debutants Raheem Sterling and Marc Cucurella also impressed.

An uninspiring game in some way but one that was nevertheless entertaining as Sterling showed a trick or two, Edouard Mendy produced some fine saves and Thiago Silva commanded the team from te back. It was not a game without talking points either as Tuchel acknowledged Marcos Alonso is set to leave the club this summer.

As always, there are intriguing and interesting moments that don’t necessarily get picked up by the cameras. football.london takes a look at the moments you may have missed during the match

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Kalidou Koulibaly shin pads

Chelsea supporters were treated to a Premier League debut from the Senegal international and it was a promising outing from the central defender. Koulibaly has already started to show what he’s about with some assertive defending and tidy touches going forwards too.

The Blues faithful got their first insight into a Koulibaly match day and even caught a glimpse of his personalised shin pads. The 31-year-old sports some protection labelled Koulibaly family with a picture of him and two others. Each of his form clubs in Genk, Metz and Napoli are also represented. Maybe Chelsea will soon make an appearance.

Mateo Kovacic caught out

The Croatian midfielder was probably Chelsea’s best central midfielder last season and was often a much needed link between the centre of the pitch and the forward line. Kovacic’s pre-season progression was delayed due to an injury during the US tour and as a result he fell down the pecking order behind N’Golo Kante and Jorginho and never made it on to the pitch at Goodison Park.

He was still part of the squad, when a number of other Chelsea stars were not and took a full part in the team’s warm up on Saturday afternoon. While his awareness is often second to none, he was caught out in the North West. The former Real Madrid star was just finishing his exercises when the sprinklers emerged and soaked him before he could escape the pitch.

Callum Hudson-Odoi makes the trip

One such member who did not make the squad was Callum Hudson-Odoi. He was far from the only figure with Marcos Alonso, Malang Sarr, Carny Chuckwuemeka, Ethan Ampadu, Emerson Palmieri and Timo Werner all missed out too. The young winger did still make the journey to Goodison Park and could be seen kitted up on arrival, presumably in case anyone picked up any injury ahead of kick-off.

It was not long following the match that transfer talk emerged however, with reports linking Hudson-Odoi to both Leicester City and Southampton.

Yerry Mina altercation

Jorginho earned Chelsea their win with a well-taken penalty but the events around it were almost as interesting. As the Italian prepared with the ball at the spot, Yerry Mina made sure to make a nuisance of himself. The Colombian international jibed in the Chelsea stars’ ear and stayed in close proximity for as long as he could get away with.

It was not the referee who resolved the situation but Blues captain Cesar Azpilicueta who came barging in to protect his teammate, making sure Mina knew that he could not bully his way into a result. Reece James soon joined his teammate pushing Everton’s charge away from Jorginho as more bodies arrived and Mina eventually picked up a yellow card. It was clear to see that Azpilicueta remains a key leader for the Blues and he will bring some stability following his contract extension in a tumultuous summer.

Jorginho managed to keep his composure and diverged from his usual style of penalty to put the ball past Jordan Pickford, who had foiled him in the past. The fact did not go unnoticed by the England international who joked with his adversary following the game, with Jorginho noting it was not by accident

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