Sterling Sparkles As Pochettino Earns First Chelsea Win

Chelsea defeated Luton Town 3-0 on Friday, giving Mauricio Pochettino his first Premier League victory as Blues manager. Raheem Sterling scored twice and Nicolas Jackson scored his first goal for the club.

Sterling’s strong start to the season continued with a brilliant performance that included a sublime opener, a well-taken second, and an assist for Jackson.

The return of the England attacker is the first evidence that Pochettino is beginning to revitalize a team that suffered so poorly last season.

Pochettino, who only took over as manager in July, has rapidly brought out the best in Sterling after his career appeared to be fading after a lackluster first season with Chelsea.

Pochettino will be hoping for Chelsea’s first home win since March after drawing 1-1 with Liverpool and then losing 3-1 at West Ham.

It is early days for the former Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain manager, who is now fielding a revamped team with a youthful aspect.

Pochettino was missing nine first-team players due to injuries, including skipper Reece James and summer arrivals Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia.

However, Sterling, one of just a few seasoned heads in Pochettino’s lineup, led by example to assure Chelsea’s worst start to a season since 1998-99.

Moises Caicedo of Ecuador was solid in his first Chelsea start since joining from Brighton for a British record £115 million.

Caicedo had a horrible start against West Ham, giving away a penalty and looking sluggish after coming off the bench, but this was a more consistent performance.

While Chelsea has high expectations after spending over £350 million on new acquisitions since the end of the previous season, promoted Luton Town’s more modest goal is to escape relegation.

This was the first of the glamorous matchups Luton had hoped for when they were languishing in non-league obscurity just nine years ago, after 31 years outside the top flight.

Luton Town were playing in English football’s fourth tier only five years ago, and their reputation as the smallest team ever to play in the Premier League has made them firm relegation favourites.

Eye-Catching Sterling 

Chelsea’s English midfielder #07 Raheem Sterling celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Luton at Stamford Bridge in London on August 25, 2023. (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP)

Luton were playing their second game after being thrashed 4-1 by Brighton in their season opener. Last weekend’s match against Burnley was postponed due to reconstruction work at small Kenilworth Road.

In an ironic tribute to their humble beginnings, Luton fans screamed at their Chelsea rivals, “Conference champions, you’ll never sing that.”

Sterling wasted no time in tormenting Luton, unleashing a ferocious volley from 10 yards that keeper Thomas Kaminski did well to stop on the line.

After a quick counter-attack by Jackson and Ben Chilwell, Enzo Fernandez shot against the crossbar from the edge of the box.

Sterling scored in the 17th minute after cutting in from the right flank and slaloming past three befuddled Luton players before putting a superb low effort into the far corner.

Chilwell could have put Chelsea in perfect control when he sprinted clear on goal early in the second half, but instead of shooting, the left-back oddly attempted an intercepted pass to Sterling.

Luton almost equalized against the run of play, thanks to Ryan Giles, who seized Elijah Adebayo’s pass and blasted a deflected shot that forced a frantic save from Robert Sanchez.

But Sterling guaranteed that Chelsea’s domination would not go unnoticed by scoring their game-winning second goal in the 68th minute.

Malo Gusto provided the assist with a low cross that Sterling met with a clinical finish from eight yards.

Sterling turned provider seven minutes later with a teasing cross that eluded Luton’s defence before Senegal striker Jackson alertly poked home from close-range.

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