Five big positives from Chelsea’s Super Cup triumph

After a night of twists and turns in Belfast, Chelsea beat Villarreal in a thrilling penalty shoot-out to win the Uefa Super Cup for the second time in their history.

West London Sport looks at five positives from the game, as the Blues turn their attention to their Premier League opener against Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Chelsea youngster Chalobah delivers

Trevoh Chalobah capped a fantastic pre-season by delivering a man-of-the-match worthy display, mopping up threats posed by the Villarreal frontline with great efficiency and startling maturity.

“He never lost face and stayed calm and was physical enough to play 120 minutes,” said a delighted boss Thomas Tuchel.

“It was quite impressive. He forced his way into our thinking. Let’s see how it goes. We still have some days to decide his personal future but in the moment he shows his value to the team.”

Kante key to keeping a strong core

In the last three games of their Champions League campaign, and again in the Super Cup final, N’Kolo Kante looked a class apart. Once he went off, Chelsea’s dominance waned and the midfield struggled under relentless Villarreal pressure.

With Billy Gilmour out on loan, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Ross Barkley out of favour and Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s future uncertain, there is a growing belief that Chelsea’s midfield spine isn’t strong enough to mount a title challenge.

It would be near impossible to replace one of the world’s best central midfielders, but the £70m saved by trusting Chalobah over Kounde could well finance a more pressing need for a steely presence in midfield if Kante is sidelined.

Ziyech finding his feet

If pre-season is anything to go by, Chelsea’s Moroccan magician Hakim Ziyech has discovered how to cast spells again.

Tuchel’s willingness to tweak his 3-4-2-1 by allowing Ziyech a more adventurous role between the lines has paid rich dividends.

There have been eye-catching through-balls to Timo Werner, a long-range effort nestling into the bottom corner against Tottenham, and clever runs into the box – one of which yielded the second in the draw with Spurs and another earned Chelsea’s opener last night.

Even with the unfortunate injury, there are reasons to be optimistic that Ziyech’s return to form and fitness could help the Blues unlock stubborn defences this season.

Lukaku to solve striker frustrations

Even though players are still yet to gain full match fitness, the forward line has continued to perform erratically. There were high crosses from Marcos Alonso and Callum Hudson-Odoi, aimless long balls over the top for Werner to chase and a lack of creativity and execution in the final third.

The lack of a genuine focal point to link attacking moves was painfully obvious. Romelu Lukaku’s signing couldn’t have come at a better time; his experience and presence will almost certainly galvanise all of Chelsea’s attackers, easing the pressure on their young shoulders.

Extra time Blues or boost?

Heading into extra time three days before the start of the new Premier League season was far from ideal, with Chalobah, Kai Havertz, Antonio Rudiger, Mateo Kovacic and Alonso all putting in exhausting 120-minute shifts.

It was no surprise to see Havertz, usually a calm and reliable penalty taker, miss with a poorly taken spot-kick in the shootout.

However, these extra minutes were vital for Mason Mount, Jorginho and Cesar Azpilicueta, all returning late from the Euros.

Tuchel has a selection headache in choosing his line-up for the Palace game.