Raheem Sterling Helps Chelsea Secure Home Win Against Luton Town

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Raheem Sterling’s comeback is definitely happening. The adorable third time Sterling scored goals to go with the creative role he had taken on against Liverpool and West Ham was the missing component after Chelsea’s first two games of the season had great performances.

This multibillion-dollar talent jumble in Chelsea needs a seasoned leader to set the tone. That is what they have in the England international, who has been a key component of Manchester City for a very long time.

Sterling was there when Chelsea needed someone to perform. The Blues had not opened the scoring in seven games before his spectacular solo goal early on. Given their recent struggles, neither the crowd nor Mauricio Pochettino’s team appeared particularly at ease despite having a one-goal lead against newly promoted opposition. However, just as the tension started to build, Sterling was there to calm it down by turning in Malo Gusto’s low cross with a trademark finish.

The most notable aspect of Sterling’s early play, though, has been his inventiveness, which was on full show as he fizzed a lovely low cross onto Nicolas Jackson’s boot, who only needed to stick a boot on the ball to score his maiden goal for Chelsea.

Few of his teammates had the razor-sharp edge that the England international typically offered in the last third, so there could have been more, plenty more. Although there were more shots than normal, Chelsea’s sloppiness in front of goal, which has dogged the team since 2023, was still readily apparent. Few tonight appeared to be that worried. No surprise. Stamford Bridge witnessed a home team victory for the first time since March 11.

This season, the disclaimer “only against Luton” will be used frequently. This side does not seem to be prepared to compete against the best the Premier League has to offer, which is the sad reality of their first two games. The good news is that Rob Edwards’ team can expect to pick up points from many weaker opponents than Brighton and Chelsea. In this kind of form, they won’t meet many challenges that are as challenging as Sterling.

The most the visitors could say about their performance was that there were moments when they were able to take advantage of Stamford Bridge’s mistakes, with the home team’s massive seizing up having prevented a home league victory since March.

Around the hour mark, a surge of pressure peaked with Ryan Giles’ shot that Malo Gusto diverted, causing Robert Sanchez to swing his fist at the ball, but Chelsea’s neuroses still appeared to be Luton’s finest offensive tool. Sterling quickly calmed them down.

Although Sterling shown a lot of inventiveness and interplay in its first two games of the season, no shots were taken as a result. In his first two games, a player who frequently averaged two and a half shots per 90 minutes when wearing a City jersey had only taken one.

You had to wonder if Pochettino had come to the conclusion that his No. 7 would not provide the same results as Pep Guardiola once did given the trajectory of his first season at Stamford Bridge.

This game could start to refute that idea. Sterling had tripled his season’s total of shots after seven minutes, and it was clear that he tested Thomas Kaminski in front of the Shed End as a matter of course. He had no reservations about walloping the ball toward the goal when it sat up neatly in the penalty area.

When closing down on the Luton goal in the second half, his captain Ben Chilwell attempted to pass under Amari’i Bell’s knees and into Sterling’s path while tens of thousands yelled for him to score.

After Chelsea’s outstanding opening move, it was understandable why Chilwell was willing to refuse the hot hand. Sterling took possession of the ball on the right touchline and sped into a space between two defenders that shouldn’t have opened up near the edge of the box. As he dropped the hesitation maneuver that has, for better or worse, become something of a signature, two more people turned to stone.

The shot was perfectly assessed when it was taken and purposely rolled into Kaminski’s far post.

The way Chelsea responded to the advantage was puzzling, and Pochettino would be wise to concentrate on the team’s relatively passive behavior for the remainder of the first half, during which the hosts displayed scant initiative to penetrate Luton’s ever-deepening defensive wall.

Chelsea only managed one attempt in the 34 minutes between Sterling’s initial goal and a flurry of second-half opportunities. They unnecessarily made their experience more tense than it should have been.

Importantly, though, Sterling increased his shot output tonight without sacrificing any inventiveness, and in the second half, he was creating opportunities for his teammates that he would have otherwise taken himself. Enzo Fernandez was pleadingly asked to turn in from a tight angle by a perfectly delivered cross to the back post.

Jackson accomplished what he was unable to. The center forward received payment for a series of risky runs toward Tom Lockyer’s direction.