Chelsea went past a troubled pre-season to start their Premier League campaign with a 1-0 win at Everton on Saturday thanks to a Jorginho penalty.
Blues boss Thomas Tuchel warned last week that Chelsea were “not ready” for the new season after a grueling tour of the United States, which included a 4-0 loss to Arsenal, ending their squad.
However, a new era at Stamford Bridge has been gaining momentum from the field in recent times with the signing of Mark Cukurela and Carney Chukwuemeka, along with Raheem Sterling and Kalido Koulibaly.
Sterling, Koulibaly and Cucurella made their debuts as Chelsea endured four consecutive defeats at Goodison Park despite poor performances.
Everton’s pre-season preparations were hurt this week, with England striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin ruled out for the first six weeks of the season.
Another injury blow to the Toffees came when Ben Godfrey was pulled after coming in worse shape in a challenge with Kai Havertz.
Everton are predicted to struggle again after just last season away from relegation.
But they could have easily taken at least a point from the spirited performance.
Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy made a fine save for James Tarkowski on his debut to stop Everton from going ahead.
Sterling was also denied the first goal by the offside flag after Jordan Pickford drove home after a shot from Mason Mount was dropped.
Everton’s good work before the break was undone in the eighth minute added in time to make up for a long stop for an injury to Godfrey.
Ben Chilwell was bundled inside the box by Abdoulaye Doucoure and unlike in the Euro 2020 final, Jorginho sent Pickford the wrong way from the spot for the deciding goal.
Everton pushed bravely in search of an equalizer after the break, but were blunt in the attack without the presence of Calvert-Lewin or the late Richardson.
Mendy again ran to Chelsea’s defense with a crucial save, widening Demarai Gray’s shot and blocking Doucoure’s powerful effort from point-blank range.
At the other end, Sterling was again disappointed as his goal effort was driven inches wide by Vitaly Mykolenko.
But one goal was enough for Chelsea to wait five years for Everton to win.