Overall, it was a promising weekend for Premier League debutants. Timothy Castagne impressed for Leicester City, James Rodriguez shone in Everton’s midfield and Gabriel looked commanding at the back for Arsenal.
However, Kai Havertz was unable to reach a similarly high level during his Chelsea bow.
The 21-year-old attacking midfielder was turning out for the Blues for the first time following his big-money move from Bayer Leverkusen as Frank Lampard’s side opened their league season with a 3-1 win away to Brighton & Hove Albion.
But while fellow debutant Timo Werner – who won the penalty for Chelsea’s opener – looked lively and Reece James caught the eye with a goal and an assist, Havertz struggled to make an impression before being replaced by Callum Hudson-Odoi with 10 minutes remaining.
While several of Lampard’s new recruits were not involved at the Amex Stadium, Havertz lined up alongside Werner in a rejuvenated Blues attack, with the German, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount behind the former RB Leipzig striker in a 4-2-3-1.
In one key moment, Havertz wasn’t quite able to capitalise on some promising attacking scenarios. Having controlled Marcos Alonso’s throw-in impressively on the half-turn, he spotted Werner darting down the left flank into space.
However, under pressure from Ben White, the German misjudged the weight of his pass and allowed Lewis Dunk to intercept and safely play the ball back to Mat Ryan.
Had he executed the pass and continued his run, he possibly could have had a presentable goalscoring chance had Werner returned the ball into the box.
But Havertz’s worst moment arrived eight minutes into the second half when his wayward pass gifted Brighton a throw-in in an attacking area, from which Chelsea were unable to pass the halfway line before Leandro Trossard’s equaliser.
Although he was settling himself into a new team, Lampard’s system was not wholly different from what Havertz is used to.
In his final game for Leverkusen, he played on the right of the three behind Kevin Volland in the German side’s Europa League quarter-final defeat by Inter Milan.
In the previous round, he played centrally behind Volland as Bayer edged Rangers although he did play up top in the DFB Pokal final defeat by Bayern Munich…