- August 14, 2021
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Chelsea 3-0 Crystal Palace As Blues Sting Patrick Vieira on Return
Chelsea followed up their UEFA Super Cup victory with a comfortable win on the opening weekend of the Premier League season.
Goals from Marcos Alonso, Christian Pulisic and Trevoh Chalobah sent Crystal Palace back across London with their tails between them legs, who were managed by Patrick Vieira for the first time.
Although the Eagles were underdogs, their flat performance will be of concern, struggling to ever get a foothold in the game as they began life without Roy Hodgson.
Alonso shows his class
Although his five years at Chelsea have been mixed, Marcos Alonso has reignited his Blues career under Tuchel.
The left wing-back was selected over Ben Chilwell once again, like for most of last season under the German manager, and the Spaniard broke the deadlock after 27 minutes with a trademark free-kick.
It was a dubious decision when Tyrick Mitchell appeared to hardly make contact with Mason Mount on the edge of the penalty area, and Vicente Guaita will be disappointed with his position.
Take nothing away from the strike, though, as Alonso proved his manager right.
Marcos Alonso’s free-kick broke the deadlock
Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech to name but a few – Chelsea are certainly not short of forwards.
It was understandable how Christian Pulisic found it tough to get starts last season but he repaid his manager’s faith, much like Alonso, with a first-half strike.
The United States international was looking to kick on this season and started how he means to go on by showing a goalscoring instinct to net a rebound and double his side’s lead amid a lively 81 minutes of action.
Although Tuchel is expected to state for much of the campaign, Pulisic could well be a difficult man to leave out.
Christian Pulisic made his mark by scoring ( Image: Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Replacing Roy Hodgson, the epitome of a Premier League stalwart was never going to be an easy task for Patrick Vieira.
The Frenchman took the role after a length of recruitment process, quickly moving to drag down Palace’s average age in true new dawn for the south London club.
Although the likes of Michael Olise and Mark Guehi have the potential to be stars of the future, the Eagles need results in present and more importantly, a sturdier rearguard.
Vieira’s side were constantly open and allowed the Blues to tear through them at will, prompting Joachim Andersen to be brought on before the hour mark as the new boss bid to shore up his backline.
If Selhurst Park so to maintain its status as a difficult place to go, the hosts’ defence will be the key.
( Image: AFP via Getty Images)
In no-doubt the standout moment of the match, unlikely starter Trevoh Chalobah marked his Premier League and Stamford Bridge debut with a goal any Chelsea legend would be proud of.
The centre-back crept up from the back to produce a rasping driven effort that nestled in Guaita’s bottom left corner.
Chalobah spent last season on loan at Lorient in France after spells with Ipswich and Huddersfield in previous campaigns after joining the club 14 years ago.
As he wheeled away in celebration, the 22-year-old struggled to hold back his emotions in the day’s most memorable image.
Trevoh Chalobah could not hold back his emotions as he scored on his Premier League debut
Elsewhere, Rafael Benitez went a long way to quieting his doubters at Everton as the Toffees came from behind to beat Southampton 3-1.
Adam Armstrong’s opener on his debut for the Saints saw Benitez’s men booed off at half-time at Goodison Park with many of the home fans still unhappy at the appointment of the former Liverpool manager.
But the mood was lifted straight after half-time by Richarlison’s equaliser before Abdoulaye Doucoure and Dominic Calvert-Lewin ensured Benitez got off to a winning start.
Leicester also secured all three points as Jamie Vardy’s deft flick proved the difference in a 1-0 win over Wolves.
The FA Cup winners are once again seen as the biggest threat to the established top four of champions Manchester City, United, Chelsea and Liverpool for a place in the Champions League next season and were worthy winners despite two big missed chances from Adama Traore in Bruno Lage’s first game in charge of Wolves.
Life for Aston Villa without Jack Grealish got off to a terrible start as Watford celebrated their return to the top flight with a 3-2 win at Vicarage Road.
Goals from Emmanuel Dennis, Ismaila Sarr and Cucho Hernandez had the Hornets cruising towards victory.
John McGinn pulled a goal back and Danny Ings netted from the penalty spot on his debut, but it was too little, too late for Villa.
Brighton bounced back from conceding inside two minutes at Burnley to win 2-1 at Turf Moor thanks to second-half goals from Neal Maupay and Alexis MacAllister.
Liverpool are in action in Saturday’s late game (1630GMT) away to newly-promoted Norwich.
Virgil van Dijk returns to the Reds starting line-up for the first time since suffering cruciate ligament damage last October.