Fleetingly, Chelsea topped the new Premier League table after last weekend’s satisfying 3-0 away win at Huddersfield, but what was even more pleasing was the way things clicked.
Morrie Sarri had played down prospects, saying that real synchronicity could be up to three months away.
But with N’Golo Kante knocking in a surprise opener, new boy Jorginho dribbling home a penalty and Pedro linking exquisitely with Eden Hazard for a third, it all looked rosy very quickly. The lion (right) may not be roaring yet, but he’s at least making a contented purr.
It gets tougher this weekend with a London derby against Arsenal at the Bridge, yet playing with four at the back at the John Smith stadium didn’t look nearly as cumbersome as it did at Wembley for the Community Shield.
Perhaps the Terriers weren’t the sternest of opponents, but they nearly drew level when Steve Mounie headed against a post with new keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga stranded.
Kepa’s clean sheet was almost as gratifying as the way Kante and Jorginho paired in midfield – something likely to be tested more against Arsenal.
“We are not at the top of our potential,” said Sarri with understatement after the Huddersfield victory.
The early form of Man City and Liverpool looks ominous, but while the Blues still can’t yet count on Alvaro Morata to be a scoring force, there is room for optimism.
If Chelsea are viewed as Top Six underdogs, that suits Sarri, fans and Roman Abramovich.