Chelsea's Zouma excellent in first league start

Kurt Zouma

Chelsea's Kurt Zouma found himself singled out for praise as the Blues beat Newcastle in the Premier League on Saturday.

Kurt Zouma started his first ever Premier League match against Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea won 2-0 to move clear at Manchester City at the top of the table.

The Blues took the lead against the run of play at the end of the first period when Oscar tapped in from a Branislav Ivanovic cross. Mourinho's side then doubled their advantage just before the hour mark as division top scorer Diego Costa turned in the box before firing past Tim Krul. 

Zouma looked nervy throughout the opening exchanges, with Newcastle mounting early pressure, but he grew in confidence as the Blues took control of proceedings. He was rarely troubled by Ayoze Pérez, who offered the Magpies relatively little while operating as a lone striker. 

The 20-year-old remains a raw talent, but early evidence suggests he has everything that's required to succeed in the top flight. He fulfilled his basic defensive duties with confidence, while his distribution from the back left few questions unanswered.  

 Chelsea vs Newcastle Total PassesPass Accuracy (%)Tackles WonAerial WonDuel Success (%)Total ClearancesBlocksFoulsMinutes Played
Kurt Zouma 54 87 1 1 100 5 0 0 90

Zouma won 100% of his attempted tackles and aerial contests, while weighing in with five clearances. He also saw success in 87% of his passes; the third best completion-rate of any player in Jose Mourinho's initial starting line-up. In a mature showing he won each and everyone of his defensive duels, while he avoided conceding a single foul 

Blues assistant boss Steve Holland praised Kurt Zouma for his 'immaculate' full Premier League debut in today’s win over Newcastle United. The coach was full of praise for the promising, young centre-back:

“That's not his first appearance of the season,” continued Holland about Zouma. “And he was immaculate today."

“We all have belief in him, but ultimately as the leader and the manager Jose has to make the decisions."

“He showed great faith in him today by starting him. And that faith was repaid – I thought his performance was immaculate. I can't think of anything he did wrong.”

Zouma was deservedly singled out of for praise after an assured maiden league start for the Blues. The Stamford Bridge faithful will certainly be pleased with the early signs of genuine quality from the Frenchman, who looks an early contender to replace John Terry when the time comes.

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