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Miazga Watch: How did USMNT youngster do on Chelsea debut?


Chelsea’s US defender Matt Miazga warms up before the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Chelsea at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on April 2, 2016. / AFP / OLI SCARFF / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

Matt Miazga became the first American to play for Chelsea on Saturday and the 20-year-old New Jersey native looked at home during his debut.

Sure, it was against bottom of the table Aston Villa and Chelsea won 4-0, but Miazga still looked calm and confident on the ball, plus did his defensive work excellently on his Chelsea and Premier League debut.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

With John Terry and Kurt Zouma out injured, plus Gary Cahill rested, interim Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink put his trust in the New York Red Bulls academy product and he paid him back. Alongside Branislav Ivanovic at center back, Miazga played on the right-hand side and looked at ease even though some of his longer passes didn’t come off. He certainly wasn’t overawed and his aerial battle with Rudy Gestede will give him a good taste of what’s to come in England.

[ RECAP & VIDEO: Aston Villa 0-4 Chelsea ]

He certainly hasn’t done his hopes of becoming a more regular fixture at Chelsea any harm with this display. Let’s see if he gets more minutes between now and the end of the season.

Below is a look at his key moments from his debut.

1st min: Nervy first touch as he somewhat shanked a clearance

4th min: Solid clearance up field to clear danger

6th min: Miazga nips in ahead of Gestede, reads the attack well and clears

7th min: Miazga sprays a superb cross-field ball with this right-foot out to Baba Rahman

12th min: Calm passing with John Obi Mikel to bring it out of the back. Looks comfortable

15th min: Incisive forward pass finds Loftus-Cheek in front of Villa’s back four

17th min: In an aerial battle with Gestede but fails to win the ball

21st min: Long ball over the top is over hit and can’t find Remy

22nd min: Miazga throws himself at Jordan Ayew’s shot and it deflects off him and out for a corner

29th min: Finds Cesc Fabregas with an accurate ball into central midfield

33rd min: Smashes a long clearance clear

35th min: Follows Gestede into the corner and makes a perfectly timed tackle in front of the Chelsea supporters who applaud

39th min: Gets free at the back post and hooks Fabregas’ free kick towards goal but USMNT goalkeeper Guzan saves

41st min: Ayew finds space in the box and Miazga does just enough to put him off as the Villa man slides his effort wide

53rd min: Plays several one-two’s but then lofts an aimless ball forward and loses possession

62nd min: Safety first again as Miazga thumps a clearance clear after Gestede’s header was flicked on. Then sprays a ball out to Mikel

71st min: Allows Gestede to get away from him but Courtois punches clear the danger

75th min: Beaten in the air by Gestede again but Azpilicueta clears up the danger. Moments later he does enough to put off Gestede who almost slides in to score

81st min: Slightly off-balance as he tries to clear a cross. Clearly goes out for a corner but ref gives a goal kick

86th min: Clearance is cut out 30-yards from goal but it comes to nothing

90th min: Blocks a Villa effort out for corner in his final act of the game

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