Match ends, Chelsea 3, Luton Town 0.
Forward Raheem Sterling is “100%” focused on scoring goals as his double helped Chelsea cruise past Luton to record their first Premier League win under Mauricio Pochettino.
The 28-year-old scored twice and assisted Nicolas Jackson on Friday, and wants to get back to being “obsessed” with football.
Sterling, who has started the campaign in excellent form, said he wants to be the club’s top scorer this season.
“It’s a target I had to set myself [being Chelsea’s top scorer this season] – it’s something I know I can do,” he told Sky Sports after the match.
Sterling received the ball wide on the right and jinked his way through three players before firing into the bottom corner to open the scoring in the 17th minute.
The England winger then doubled Chelsea’s lead in the 67th minute when he scored from close range from a Malo Gusto cross.
Sterling was involved again as Chelsea got their third, sending a low cross into the area for Jackson to score his first goal for the club.
Luton, who are still looking for their first points of the season since being promoted from the Championship, caused Chelsea problems throughout the game but the Blues’ quality saw them take all three points.
Chelsea, who handed a full debut to their £100m signing Moises Caicedo, will be happy with the win but Pochettino will know they have much to work on as they were far from their best.
The match was not as one-sided as the scoreline suggests, and it needed a good save from Robert Sanchez to stop Luton levelling when the score was 1-0.
Ben Chilwell should have made it 2-0 before the two second-half goals from Sterling and Jackson, but chose to pass instead of shooting when through on goal.
After his £50m transfer from Manchester City, last season Sterling scored nine goals in 38 appearances – his lowest return since his debut campaign with Liverpool.
This season, however, Sterling looks like he is getting back to his best. Pochettino has spoken to the forward throughout this pre-season and the beginning of the campaign as he looks to get the best out of him – which seems to be having the desired effect.
Sterling’s opening goal showed exactly why he is a key part of Gareth Southgate’s England squad when fully fit. He has not been in the past two Three Lions squads because of fitness issues, but it seems likely he will be included following his start to this season when the latest squad is named next week.
His second goal against Luton showed his calmness when in dangerous positions, and the pass for Jackson’s goal highlighted his quality.
If Chelsea are to get back to the top end of the table Sterling will be key to their hopes, as he is by far the most experienced and proven attacker they possess.
“If I’m 100% at something, I know what I can do and that’s what I’m doing this year – just 100% focus on scoring goals and helping my team,” said Sterling.
“I want to get back to being obsessed with football. Just football 24/7 and nothing else and focus on top performances and goals and assists.”
Chelsea manager Pochettino also spoke to Sky Sports and said of Sterling’s performance: “He played with freedom on the pitch. We know what he is capable of.
“We are pleased for him. He needs to keep going and contribute more goals and assists to help the team to win.”
Much was made of the players’ pricetags before this match, with new Chelsea signing Caicedo costing more than the whole Luton squad.
However, at times you could not tell the difference in budget with the threat Luton carried.
Issa Kabore was dangerous down the right, and Luton’s coaching team encouraged the full-back to run at Chilwell whenever he got the chance.
Tahith Chong flashed a shot high and wide after he nicked the ball from Caicedo, while Ryan Giles tested Sanchez in the Chelsea goal in the second half but they could not find a clear chance to score.
The Hatters showed again that they are an organised team that will cause sides in the Premier League problems, but Chelsea’s superior quality saw them win comfortably.
Match ends, Chelsea 3, Luton Town 0.