Hat trick for Havertz as Chelsea strolls in League Cup
Three goals for Kai Havertz. A debut for Thiago Silva.
Things are slowly falling into place for Chelsea after its offseason spending spree.
After two underwhelming appearances in the Premier League, Havertz — signed for $92 million from German club Bayer Leverkusen — announced himself in English soccer by scoring a first career hat trick in Chelsea’s 6-0 win over second-tier Barnsley in the third round of the League Cup on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old Germany international played in his favored position behind the striker after being tried in various roles in the forward line so far against Brighton and Liverpool by manager Frank Lampard. He looked more at home as a “No. 10” and his finishing was assured, albeit against modest opposition.
“It was a great night for Kai," Lampard said, "and the first of many for him."
Thiago Silva, meanwhile, lasted 61 minutes before being withdrawn by Lampard as the Brazil center back looks to build up match sharpness before a league debut, which could come at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
Chelsea has spent more than $250 million on new players ahead of this season, with Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Ben Chilwell also joining for big fees. Chilwell came on as a 66th-minute substitute against Barnsley for his debut, replacing Havertz, and set up the sixth goal scored by Olivier Giroud.
Chelsea will next play Tottenham or fourth-tier Leyton Orient, whose third-round fixture on Tuesday was postponed after some Orient players contracted the coronavirus.
NKETIAH THE POACHER
Eddie Nketiah is fast becoming the ultimate poacher for Arsenal.
The England under-21 striker bundled in a 90th-minute goal from close range to seal a 2-0 win at Leicester in the only all-Premier League matchup of the night. Both teams rested their key players.
The average distance from goal for Nketiah's six strikes for Arsenal across this season and last has been measured at less than 5 yards (meters), according to the Premier League's official stats supplier Opta. He is battling with Alexandre Lacazette for the central-striker berth this season, with the Frenchman currently starting in the league.
Christian Fuchs' own goal in the 57th had gifted the lead for Arsenal, which will play either Liverpool or Lincoln in the next round.
Brazilians got their share of goals in big wins for Newcastle and Everton.
Oft-criticized striker Joelinton scored twice in Newcastle's 7-0 win at fourth-tier Morecambe, which had a man sent off in the 33rd minute — by which time the hosts were trailing 4-0.
Richarlison was the star player for Everton, also scoring twice in a 5-2 win at Fleetwood. Fellow Brazilian Bernard also netted, while the other goals came from Alex Iwobi and Moise Kean as Everton won a fourth straight game in all competitions to open the season.
There were no big upsets on the night, with Premier League teams Brighton, Burnley and Fulham all winning 2-0 against lower-league opposition in Preston, Millwall and Sheffield Wednesday, respectively.
Brighton set up a fourth-round match next week against Manchester United, which was among the teams to advance on Tuesday.
United also visits Brighton in the league this weekend.
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Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80