LONDON : Chelsea banished last season's problems in front of goal with a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace to start their 2021-22 campaign on Saturday, and that was before the European champions were able to slot record signing Romelu Lukaku into their attack.
Goals from Marcos Alonso, Christian Pulisic and a 25-yard screamer by Trevoh Chalobah, on his Premier League debut, represented the second-highest goal haul by the Blues since German coach Thomas Tuchel took over in January.
The only other time Tuchel's Chelsea had scored three or more in a match was in a 4-1 win also against Palace in April, towards the end of last season.
Of course, the Blues will face stiffer tests than they did against their outclassed visitors to Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Chelsea play Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs and Manchester City all before the end of September. But the addition of Lukaku will further embolden a side that already looks full of confidence after last season's triumph in the Champions League.
The powerful Belgian centre forward – signed from Inter Milan for a reported club record 97.5 million pounds (US$135.16 million) - was absent on Saturday while he observed a COVID-19 quarantine but will be available for the visit to Arsenal next Sunday.
Chelsea had already spent heavily on their attack in recent seasons, bringing in Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic.
But it was defensive midfielder Jorginho who was their top scorer in the Premier League last season with seven goals, all of them from the penalty spot, leaving Chelsea fans craving the kind of regular goal-scoring striker not seen since the departure of Diego Costa in 2017.
"We were able to score three goals today and we did it without a penalty from Jorginho which was spectacular for us," Tuchel told reporters.
"We are well aware of the problem (last season). It was hard for us to convert all the chances we created," the German said. "So we try to help also with the addition of Romelu to our squad."
As well as the goals scored on Saturday, Tuchel can celebrate another of his trademark clean sheets – he racked up 19 of them in all competitions in his four months in charge of the Blues in the last campaign.
(US$1 = 0.7213 pounds)
(Reporting by William Schomberg; Editing by Christian Radnedge)