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Chelsea defender Koulibaly makes Premier League debut against Iwobi's Everton

8:10 PM GMT+4 06/08/2022
Kalidou Koulibaly Chelsea 2022.
Thomas Tuchel has handed the Senegal international a starting role in the Blues’ opening match in the 2022-23 season

Chelsea centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly is making his Premier League debut in Saturday’s opening match of the Premier League season against Everton.

The Senegal international was signed by the Stamford Bridge giants from Serie A side Napoli in a deal worth £34 million ($41m) as Thomas Tuchel strives to restructure his defence following the exit of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

And he will make his English top-flight bow as the Blues take on Frank Lampard’s Toffees at Goodison Park.

In a 3-4-3 formation, the 31-year-old will provide cover for goalkeeper Edouard Mendy alongside captain Cesar Azpilicueta and Thiago Silva.

Meanwhile, former Morocco international Hakim Ziyech would be aiming for action having been named among the substitutes.

On the other hand, Nigeria’s Alex Iwobi has been handed a starter’s role as Lampard’s men target a fine start in the new season.

The ex-Arsenal star will combine with Mali’s Abdoulaye Doucoure, Demarai Gray, and Dwight McNeil in a four-man midfield while Cote d’Ivoire international Jean-Philippe Gbamin is among the named substitutes.

In a recent interview, Koulibaly disclosed he is not under any pressure to fill the void Rudiger left, although he claimed his style is different to that of German.

“Antonio is a really good player,” Koulibaly was quoted by the Chelsea website.

“I know what he did for Chelsea. I used to play against him when he was at Roma. He did a lot at Chelsea and I’m happy for him when he joined Real Madrid, but for me, it’s not pressure.

“I don’t want to be the guy who is replacing Rudiger. I am Koulibaly, another player, not the same player, I don’t play like him. I have different skills, another style, another idea of football, so I will try to do my best to give solidity to the team.”

The Lions of Teranga captain also revealed his childhood dream of playing for Chelsea and competing for trophies.

"I don’t come with arrogant behaviour, I come with a lot of respect for everybody," he added.

"But I know that Chelsea is a big team. A team that has to win. A team that’s used to winning.l

"It was my dream to play in the Premier League since I was a child.

"I knew one day it would happen. I had to wait, I had to show a lot of patience. But I’m happy to be here.

"I knew everybody was thinking I would never come to Premier League, never play for anybody else than Napoli, but I made my choice with my family and friends, the people that love me. I thought this is a good time to come to Premier League.”