Benoit Badiashile needed to do one thing particular to make sure his Chelsea debut wasn’t forgotten.
He has patiently waited for 2 weeks to make his first look in a Chelsea shirt, having joined from Monaco for round £33million at first of the window.
There had been a few eyebrows raised about Chelsea signing one other defender, particularly after spending over £150 million ($183m) on Kalidou Koulibaly, Wesley Fofana and Marc Cucurella final summer season, and it hardly set pulses racing.
Badiashile is a relative unknown outdoors France and Chelsea supporters would definitely have most popular to see Josko Gvardiol join: the Croatian was the principle goal for Chelsea however turned too costly following his exploits on the World Cup in Qatar.
When Badiashile’s identify was seen on the staff sheet to face Crystal Palace, it did not trigger a lot of a stir both. The focus was on two different males as an alternative: Gianluca Vialli, the previous Chelsea participant and supervisor who handed away earlier this month and was rightly honored by the membership earlier than kick-off, with followers singing his identify all through the day.
The second determine to command the eye was Mykhailo Mudryk as Chelsea took the weird step of asserting his signing, which might be price as much as €100 million, in the course of the first half. The Ukrainian worldwide, who watched the sport from one of the VIP packing containers at Stamford Bridge, was additionally launched to the followers at half-time.
It was at all times going to be a problem for Badiashile to turn into a speaking level and but followers would have walked away from Stamford Bridge after a slender 1-0 victory liking what that they had seen.
Fresh of their recollections can have been the three towering headers he received within the penalty space deep into harm time as Crystal Palace went in search of an equalizer – a nice indication that the 21-year-old can address the physicality of the Premier League . Indeed, he made eight clearances from his personal field in all, which is a few tally.
Benoit Badiashile’s eight clearances in his personal penalty space in opposition to Crystal Palace.
The relaxation of the statistics made good studying too: 88 touches, 4 out of 4 tackles received, 71 out of 73 passes accomplished, no fouls and he wasn’t dribbled previous as soon as.
Seeing Badiashile within the flesh, nevertheless, offered a higher image than any statistic might. He was very cool at any time when the ball got here his approach. It took simply two minutes for him to drill a superb cross to Kai Havertz’s toes along with his left foot.
Palace, largely by means of Wilfried Zaha and Jordan Ayew, did their utmost to unsettle him and there was one mistake early on that wanted goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to clear up. But he really grew in stature because the match went on, not that he must do a lot of that, given he stands at 6ft 4in.
Benoit Badiashile: Chelsea’s defensive signing with a trademark cross, who discovered from Henry
Understandably, head coach Graham Potter was delighted with what he noticed, telling The Athletic: “I assumed Benoit did properly, very well. It was a good recreation for him (to return in). You might see his high quality. He passes the ball properly, when he wanted to move it out he did. He’s clearly having to adapt to the Premier League; that is going to take a bit of time. But he’s a younger participant and goes to get higher and higher. I feel for the primary recreation it was very constructive.”
What Koulibaly makes of the scenario, solely time will inform. Potter highlighted that the center-back has “had a lot of soccer just lately” and that he wanted to have in mind that he had performed on Thursday in opposition to Fulham. Those feedback counsel that Badiashile is not an computerized starter any longer, but it’s clearly a scenario Koulibaly will be involved about.
The 31-year-old was signed from Napoli for £33 million to convey solidity on the again, but he has struggled to point out his greatest type. He got here off the bench in opposition to Palace as Potter made a transfer to safe the three factors, however will hope it’s not the start of issues to return.
Potter has a uncommon full week to organize for the Premier League journey to Liverpool, who’re solely above them on objective distinction, and Badiashile’s show can have given him one thing to consider
There isn’t any hazard of Thiago Silva being dropped as he’s nonetheless acting at a unprecedented degree on the age of 38. Whether the pinnacle coach performs with two or three centre-backs to deal with the pace of Liverpool’s assault, Potter now has a resolution to make as to who performs on the left of the Brazil veteran.
Koulibaly has the better expertise however just isn’t at his greatest. Badiashile is new to the English recreation and placing him in opposition to Mohamed Salah at Anfield is a big ask. But after what he did in opposition to Palace, most supporters will most likely choose the latter to be within the first XI once more. And that’s some praise.
(Top picture: Gaspafotos/MB Media/Getty Images)