Chelsea’s defence needed shoring up last season, and two 3-3 draws in 2020/21 hinted that the problem hadn’t been solved.
But consecutive 0-0 draws, against Sevilla and then Manchester United, may well have pleased Frank Lampard on that score.
Two of his summer signings were brought in with solidifying in mind; central defender Thiago Silva and goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
BBC pundit Garth Crooks put both men in his Team of the Week after that stalemate at Old Trafford, praising them for keeping Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani from scoring.
“It’s early days but if the two saves by Mendy against (Marcus Rashford) are anything to go by then Chelsea may have found a decent goalkeeper at last,” said Crooks of Mendy.
The save with Mendy’s outstretched right foot was exceptional. The way Mendy moved his position (on the second save) so he could get sight of the ball and then did the same again in order to make the save was top class.
“Chelsea have not had a player at the back like this for some time. Defenders don’t come more accomplished than Silva.
The former Brazil international has brought a desperately needed calm. His positional sense and reading of the game are his specialities. What a pity for Chelsea he’s not a few years younger.”
The attacking signings may have got most fans excited in the summer, but it’s the changes at the back which will dictate whether Chelsea are in the hunt for trophies at the end of the season.
Mendy and Silva are experienced and have been bought for the here and now, adding experience to a side jam-packed with potential.
Silva had a shaky debut at West Brom but looked more like the player we expect him to be here, although it must be said that United didn’t threaten that often.
The goalkeeping situation at Chelsea is magnified right now and Mendy is the man who has been brought in to take care of that.
Alisson and Ederson have done that in recent seasons. Is Mendy at their level? Time will tell, but he took a step in the right direction on Saturday night.