Romeo Lavia Chelsea debut cameo gives Mauricio Pochettino midfield boost amid injury crisis

Chelsea news as the 19-year-old opened up his account with the Blues after six months on the sideline

Romeo Lavia
Chelsea midfielder Romeo Lavia finally made his debut against Crystal Palace

A moment six months in the waiting has finally happened as £58 million summer signing Romeo Lavia finally made his way onto the Stamford Bridge pitch in Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Crystal Palace.

After a lengthy transfer saga with Liverpool for his signature, the youngster finally made his move and signed with the Blues from Southampton, but an ankle injury combined with poor fitness after a limited preseason with the Saints delayed his first appearance until this week.

Having been named on the bench against Wolves in the Christmas Eve defeat earlier this week, the 19-year-old was made to wait an extra few days to make his debut for the Blues but it eventually came to a rapture of applause from the SW6 faithful as his name was called out over the tannoy.

The star’s introduction for Ian Maatsen just before the hour mark saw him immediately make his way into the defensive midfield role that had been filled by Conor Gallagher, allowing the England international to push further up the pitch into his more preferred role.

His impact was felt almost straight away as he slotted into the middle of the park, opening up his body and picking up the ball via a pass from Malo Gusto before being fouled by Jefferson Lerma, allowing the Blues to relieve the pressure that had been put on them in their own half.

Lavia’s next opportunity to get involved came as he himself fouled Michael Olise rather clumsily, simply sticking out a leg as the Palace winger tried to poke the ball around him. That was then followed by a disappointing pass up field in the direction of first-half goalscorer Mykhailo Mudryk which went straight out for a throw-in down the left-hand touchline.

The Blues midfielder did make some good efforts defensively though having a pair of clearances away from goal before launching a staunch tackle into Eagles frontman Jean-Philippe Mateta.

Lavia wouldn’t have a lot to do in midfield but played his part well, moving the ball between the lines but expertly manoeuvred out of multiple tackles after being surrounded by Palace players. The youngster pirouetted and calmly slotted the ball into the path of Caicedo next to him who then moved it on down the field.

Overall, a solid first 30 minutes in a Chelsea shirt for the Belgian who was thrown into a game that either team could’ve ended up taking. Fortunately for him, he was on the right side of it.

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