The Rebound: Chelsea don’t need to panic just yet - but Everton absolutely do

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A look back on this weekend’s Premier League action, including Chelsea, Tottenham, and Everton.

Last week, I started this column by suggesting that the real winners of Chelsea and Liverpool’s soap-operatic boardroom cockfight for Moises Caicedo was, in fact, Brighton. On the evidence of his Blues debut at the weekend, I think that assertion just about holds for now.

The Ecuadorian, all £115 million of him, was introduced by Mauricio Pochettino in the 67th minute with his side 2-1 behind against West Ham at the London Stadium on Sunday. By the time the final whistle blew, the score was 3-1, and Caicedo had conceded the penalty that sealed Chelsea’s fate. It was a first outing to rival Daedelus’ homemade feather and blanket wings.

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The word ‘nightmare’ is tossed about a lot these days. In this particular instance, it was proclaimed from the gantry in shades of pitying despair by Jamie Carragher. But while there is no denying that Caicedo made a horrid first impression, it is far too soon to smash the glass on that big red button labelled ‘BLIND PANIC’. He is young and brimming with prowess, and prior to Sunday’s calamity, hadn’t kicked a ball in anger for something like 60 days. Once he shakes off the ring rust and unpacks his suitcases, good things will come. Surely.

A composite image of Everton manager Sean Dyche, Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou, Brighton chief Tony Bloom, and Chelsea midfielder Moises Caicedo. The Rebound is a weekly column looking back on all of the latest Premier League action, this week including Everton, Tottenham, and Chelsea.A composite image of Everton manager Sean Dyche, Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou, Brighton chief Tony Bloom, and Chelsea midfielder Moises Caicedo. The Rebound is a weekly column looking back on all of the latest Premier League action, this week including Everton, Tottenham, and Chelsea.
A composite image of Everton manager Sean Dyche, Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou, Brighton chief Tony Bloom, and Chelsea midfielder Moises Caicedo. The Rebound is a weekly column looking back on all of the latest Premier League action, this week including Everton, Tottenham, and Chelsea. | Getty Images/NationalWorld

In the meantime, full credit to Tony Bloom and Brighton, who continue to treat the coffers at Stamford Bridge in much the same way that I used to use the cheat code for health, armour, and money in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on the PS2. (R1, R2, L1, X, Left, Down, Right, Up, Left, Down, Right, Up, in case you were wondering.)

Elsewhere, Ange-ball is in full swing, baby! What is this strange new sensation sweeping the streets of N17? Why, could it possibly be... optimism? Tottenham look like a team transformed. Forget the results for now - although Saturday evening’s 2-0 win over Manchester United made it four points from their first two games of the new campaign - the main difference is that this is a side who are going to be a hell of a lot of fun to watch this season.

After the sequential drabness of Messrs Mourinho, Santo, and Conte, suddenly Postecoglou is putting the ‘hot’ back in Hotspur, and extracting the ‘fun’ from a squad that was, until quite recently, bordering on the funereal. Already, supporters are talking of reignited passions and renewed exuberances. How long such chatter lasts remains to be seen, of course, but it is made doubly impressive by the fact that it is all been enlivened without Harry Kane.

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Speaking of Kane, congratulations to the England captain and his wife, who welcomed a baby boy into the world over the weekend. Evidently the striker misses Heung-min so much that he had to find a replacement son at the first opportunity. I’ll get my coat.

And finally, Everton. Poor, same old Everton. Toffees this bad are usually met with a factory recall and a poe-faced apology from the manufacturer’s spokesperson. It is difficult to know how soon is too soon when it comes to consigning a club to the likelihood of a relegation battle, but where the Blues are concerned, 180 minutes of top flight football feels like ample evidence.

On Sunday afternoon, they were mercilessly pestled by Aston Villa, and the combination of farcical defence and impotent attack on display was probably enough to convince Sean Dyche to grow his buzz cut in just a little longer than usual, purely so he can tear it back out in exasperated catharsis.

The word on the street is that a deal for Southampton striker Che Adams is edging ever closer to completion, and in fairness, he might well be the answer, but only if the question is ‘Who will be leading the line for Everton on the opening day of the 2024/24 Championship campaign if they don’t pull their finger out sharpish?’.

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All of this might sound a little harsh; please rest assured, I have no kind of personal vendetta against the Toffees. In fact, quite the opposite, I would like to see them, and by extension Dyche, really progress this term and put an end to this perpetual cycle of relegation jump scares. But they were dire for large swathes of last season, they haven’t adequately strengthened or addressed their most overt flaws this summer, and if Sunday’s performance is anything to go by, they have real reasons to be afraid for their Premier League status.

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