Whilst Chelsea were still soft, stagnate, sterile and simply easy to swallow whole, at least one player provided a spark of life.

Sadly for Joao Felix, that flame burned too brightly and eventually scorched his debut for the club.

The 23-year-old got the nod from Graham Potter to start against Fulham, just days after officially arriving at Cobham following his loan move from Atletico Madrid.

Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Potter evidently see enough of the Portugal international in one, maybe two, training sessions to entrust him with a first Premier League appearance in a London derby.

Felix began the night at Craven Cottage within a front three including Kai Havertz and Mason Mount.

Having been shackled by Diego Simeone, Felix found a new-fangled freedom he’d not enjoyed for a while.

He was undoubtedly Chelsea’s best player right up until the moment it all went wrong.

David Coote issued a red card in the direction of the Atletico loanee following a terrible tackle on Kenny Tete.

A debut that offered so much ended just before the hour mark.

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

But where does it rank amongst the worst maiden outings for new Blues?

Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic

The 2019/20 campaign was a chance for Chelsea to start fresh.

Frank Lampard replaced Maurizio Sarri in the summer, tasked with changing the sour atmosphere hanging over Stamford Bridge.

His first mission was to deal with a transfer ban dealt upon him.

Lampard instead turned to players developed within Chelsea’s own academy as a way of replacing the absent recruits.

However, the former midfielder was gifted at least one fresh face in the form of Christian Pulisic, who had been signed from Borussia Dortmund ahead of the transfer restrictions.

Pulisic’s debut also coincided with Mason Mount’s first outing for the Blues on the Premier League’s opening weekend.

Unfortunately for the young forwards, their moment in the spotlight came at the expense of a 4-0 victory to Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Photo by Clive Howes – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Whilst neither played badly, it was a harsh reminder that the league does not stand on ceremony for debutants.

Thiago Silva

After Lampard successfully strode through his initial spell in the dugout, he was finally allowed to plunge his hands into the market.

He oversaw seven signings in the summer of 2020, including the lucrative arrival of Thiago Silva from Paris Saint-Germain.

Silva’s status in the sport made him an eye-catching acquisition, and he has since gone on to be one of Chelsea’s finest ever pieces of business.

However, his debut for the Blues did not suggest such future joy.

The defender lined-up away to West Bromwich Albion on the third tie of the term, having missed the first two through injury.


If the pressure wasn’t high already, Lampard handed him the captain’s armband to increase the burden.

Perhaps the occasion was too much for Silva, as he stuttered and spluttered his way through the contest.

It was his unusual error that allowed West Brom to double their lead.

He was then stripped of the armband in the second half and eventually substituted off with Chelsea still trailing.

Thankfully, the centre-back hasn’t really had a nightmarish repeat since.  

Saul Niguez

Debuts are meant to memorable.

Saul Niguez’s for Chelsea was unforgettable for all the wrong reasons.

Like Felix, the Spaniard was signed on loan from Atletico Madrid ahead of the previous season.

With N’Golo Kante injured, and Jorginho recovering from his European Championship win, Thomas Tuchel decided Saul was the suitable option to start against Aston Villa on match-week one.

Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images

What a misjudged decision that turned out to be.

Several loose passes from the midfielder almost gifted Villa a few goals, had his teammates not come to the rescue.

Nothing went according to plan for Saul, who’s terrible afternoon ended after 45-minutes as Tuchel took him off at half-time.

Fernando Torres  

Perhaps Chelsea’s biggest piece of business in any January transfer window, Fernando Torres had to wait a week before allowing the Bridge faithful to see his £50m figure in their colours.

Like a Hollywood script, his debut came against the team he had left just seven days prior.

Torres locked eyes with several of the Liverpool players he’d left behind, as Chelsea and their red rivals did battle at the beginning of February.

Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

It was Liverpool who got the last laugh over the Spaniard, who looked a shadow of the striker who so repeatedly lit up Anfield.

He was pretty woeful throughout the game, failing with his finishing, passing, movement and general all-round play.

The retired forward couldn’t connect with anything he tried, and was eventually forced to watch on from the bench as Raul Meireles scored the winner for the Reds.

"Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produced regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League. Nathaniel is a full-time writer for the Chelsea Chronicle, and was formerly their social media man. His footballing career reached the sparkling heights of winning the Under-13s Bloxham Tournament in 2011."