Kicking Off with a Bang: Debut Scorers on Opening Day

If there was ever a way to leave a lasting impression on Chelsea fans, Axel Disasi found it on Sunday by notching his Premier League debut goal against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.

Although he missed our pre-season tour due to his arrival from Monaco, the French defender swiftly acclimated to our backline and showcased his versatility by not only solidifying our defense but also finding the net at the opposite end in the 1-1 draw against the Reds.

The elation of the 25-year-old was palpable as he reveled in the cheers of the home supporters. He joined the ranks of Chelsea debutants who have etched their names onto the scoresheet in a Premier League season opener.

The inception of these debut strikes harks back to our inaugural Premier League match 31 years ago, precisely on August 15, 1992, when Mick Harford left his mark with a sensational strike against Oldham Athletic. Secured from Luton Town at 33, the veteran forward displayed his finesse by unleashing a right-footed rocket from 25 meters into the top corner, granting us an 84th-minute lead. Regrettably, his exquisite effort wasn’t decisive, as the Latics equalized late to salvage a 1-1 draw.

In the first three Premier League opening games, debut scorers emerged, with Harford’s feat replicated by Gavin Peacock in 1993, who scored our lone goal in a 2-1 home loss to Blackburn Rovers. Paul Furlong followed suit a year later with a composed finish sealing a 2-0 victory over Norwich City.

Tore Andre Flo entered English football in 1997 with a bang, heading in his first of 50 Chelsea goals a mere three minutes after his substitution against Coventry City at Highfield Road. However, his contribution was outshone by Dion Dublin’s hat-trick, which granted the Sky Blues a 3-2 victory.

The derby opener against West Ham in August 2000 witnessed two Chelsea newcomers etching their names on the scoresheet in a 4-2 triumph at the Bridge. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink marked his league debut for the Blues with a penalty goal, but the spotlight was seized by Mario Stanic. He scored two goals, including an audacious strike where he juggled the ball with a series of flicks before unleashing an unerring volley from 35 meters past Shaka Hislop.

Boudewijn Zenden found the net in 2001 during a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United, and Juan Sebastian Veron scored his sole Chelsea goal in 2003 by opening the scoring in a 2-1 victory over Liverpool at Anfield.

The 2007/08 season opener showcased new signings making their mark, as Claudio Pizarro and Florent Malouda both struck in a 3-2 home win over Birmingham City. In 2008, Deco illuminated the pitch with a spectacular long-range goal in a 4-0 rout against Portsmouth.

In our curtain-raisers against Burnley in 2014 and 2017, newly-signed Spain internationals took the limelight. Diego Costa needed just 17 minutes to slam home his first Blues goal, propelling us to a 3-1 win at Turf Moor. However, Alvaro Morata’s header at the Bridge three years later failed to spur a comeback, resulting in a surprising 3-2 loss to the Clarets.

Jorginho marked his debut penalty conversion for the Blues in our 3-0 triumph at Huddersfield Town in 2018, and Trevoh Chalobah etched an unforgettable moment in Chelsea history with a stunning long-range strike in the resounding 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace two years ago.

By – Sahiba Suri

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