Despite his lofty £106 million transfer to Chelsea from Benfica, Enzo Fernández has not enjoyed his time in a Blues shirt as he has struggled to contribute goals to the club. For example, he has featured the most for Chelsea in their Premier League campaigns but has yet to score in the Premier League for the Blues. Although Enzo Fernández usually contributes on international duty for Argentina, the player finds it particularly difficult to transition his performance to Chelsea. However, in this match against Brighton, we saw glimpses of the Argentinian Enzo Fernández, as he was instrumental and the driving force to ensure Chelsea clung to their 3-2 win against Brighton.
Enzo Fernández Scores First Premier League Goals After 31 Apperances
After their horrific showing against Newcastle at St. James’ Park, Enzo Fernández and the squad came out all guns blazing as the Blues made a perfect start to the game, with two corners causing Brighton all sorts of problems. For instance, Enzo Fernández benefited from some sloppy Brighton defending to head home his first Chelsea goal in the Premier League in 31 appearances at the 17th-minute mark before Levi Colwill doubled Chelsea’s lead with another close-range header four minutes later, with the visitors again found wanting at the back.
The game seemed all smooth sailing for the Blues until Facundo Buonanotte curled home a delightful swerving goal for Roberto De Zerbi’s side just before the break. Matters got worse for Chelsea as Conor Gallagher received his marching orders after a second bookable offence, as he clumsily brought down former Chelsea player Billy Gilmour with the Scotsman racing towards goal. With the match on a knife edge, Chelsea played the entirety of the second half with ten men brilliantly as they soaked up the pressure and counter whenever possible.
Mauricio Pochettino’s tactics worked out splendidly as Chelsea received a penalty in the 64th minute on the counter, where VAR intervened after James Milner’s initial challenge on Mykhailo Mudryk went unpunished. Thus, up stepped Enzo Fernández as he hopes to get rid of the bad memories of his previous penalty when he missed against West Ham. Fortunately for the Argentinian and Chelsea, the World Cup-winning midfielder converted the spot-kick and gave Chelsea a two-goal cushion. While João Pedro’s stoppage time goal did give the Blues the jitters, Enzo Fernández and crew eventually survived and earned Chelsea only their fourth win at home in 2023.
1 – Enzo Fernández has scored his first Premier League goal in his 31st appearance and from his 43rd shot in the competition. Before today, he had attempted more shots than any player without a goal in the Premier League this season (22). Finally. pic.twitter.com/JCBtvEW6gr
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 3, 2023
Mauricio Pochettino Defends Chelsea’s Lack of Discipline
Despite Chelsea’s win and Enzo Fernández’s performance, many quickly throw shade towards their lack of discipline, as they have the worst disciplinary record in the top flight and were almost too intense in the matches they played this season. Therefore, Mauricio Pochettino quickly assured that he loved his team’s spirit but needed to rectify their naivety.
“We have too many players who need to feel what it means to play in the Premier League. We needed to show our real face. We wanted to show we care. It is not just about your philosophy on the pitch. You need to belong to the team. We needed this kind of game to challenge us.”
As for the result and performance, Poch stated: “We deserved the win, but it was a complicated second half with one player less. Brighton are a very good team and are playing well. Sometimes they force you to play deep, but the attitude of the players was really good. The team is tired. We are all tired but overall happy. After Newcastle, we needed to show a different face. That’s why I’m happy.”
Most yellow cards in the PL
2nd most red cards in the PL
This is starting to become a serious concern for Chelsea & it all starts with our Captains. We can’t blame the referee every game because Caicedo could have got a red card as well today. pic.twitter.com/vxzi27HRgW
— Dean (@DeanCFC_) December 3, 2023
Premier League Football Continues to Suffer Due to VAR and Referee Inconsistencies
While Chelsea is celebrating this victory, Brighton is fuming with the referee and VAR intervention that allowed Enzo Fernández to score the host’s decisive third goal from the spot. For context, Referee Craig Pawson initially decided not to award Chelsea a penalty when Milner and Mudryk collided, but VAR intervened to prompt Pawson to reflect upon his initial call.
Moreover, Brighton’s misery compounded as Craig Pawson chalked off their own penalty shout when the ball came off Levi Colwill with 10 minutes added to regulation play after VAR intervened again. Although it was the right decision in the end, overturning decisions still leaves a sour taste in most football fans.
Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi stated: “I don’t want to speak about the referee. I didn’t see anything. I have to accept every decision.” VAR and refereeing inconsistencies also showered the Premier League this matchday, as the most notorious one was when Simon Hooper called back the advantage he played to Jack Grealish when the Englishmen was seemingly one-on-one against the keeper in City’s match against Spurs.
“If we speak about football I think we played MUCH better than Chelsea.”
Roberto De Zerbi tells @carriebrowntv he is frustrated at his team’s loss to Chelsea but wants the press to remember they “have ambition but they are still Brighton.”#beINPL #BHAFC #CFC pic.twitter.com/8ABw7yZg5P
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) December 3, 2023
Chelsea and Manchester United Will Face Off on Thursday
The Premier League action this Christmas month continues on Wednesday and Thursday, as the most notable fixture is the clash between Chelsea and Manchester United. The two most consistently inconsistent teams will do battle at Old Trafford as the Red Devils hope to bounce back after their dreadful performance against Newcastle.
With the two teams split with only five points, this battle of the frauds could earn each fanbase bragging rights for the remainder of the season. To catch up on the build-up of this match and other fixtures, check AsiaSport for daily updates and high-definition highlights of the matches you may have missed.