Thursday 13 December 2018

Perfect start for new Chelsea boss Sarri as Blues cruise to opening day win

Chelsea 3 Huddersfield 0

Chelsea's Jorginho celebrates scoring their second goal
Chelsea's Jorginho celebrates scoring their second goal

Jim van Wijk

New Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri opened his first Premier League season with a comfortable 3-0 win at Hudderfield.

Italian Sarri, who replaced sacked compatriot Antonio Conte in July, had seen his Blues well beaten by champions Manchester City in the Community Shield at Wembley.

Chelsea, though, soon put that behind them with an impressive away performance to get their league campaign off to an ideal start.

The visitors, with world-record £72.1million goalkeeper signing Kepa Arrizabalaga making his debut, went ahead after 34 minutes through a scuffed effort from France's World Cup winning midfielder N'golo Kante.

Huddersfield went close to a quick equaliser when Steve Mounie's header hit the post.

Chelsea were 2-0 up just before half-time when Jorginho, also making his first start after joining from Sarri's former club Napoli, coolly converted a penalty when Christopher Schindler had brought down Marcos Alonso.

Spaniard Alonso saw an acrobatic effort hit the crossbar during the second half, before Pedro added a third after being set up following a breakaway by Belgium's Eden Hazard with 14 minutes left.

In Saturday's lunchtime kick-off, Tottenham won 2-1 at Newcastle, where all the goals came inside the opening 18 minutes.

Spurs went in front after just eight minutes when Jan Vertonghen's close-range header struck the underside of the crossbar before being clawed away by Martin Dubravka. The goal, though, was given by goalline technology, having crossed the line by a matter of millimetres.

Newcastle, however, were soon level when Joselu headed in from Matt Ritchie's fine delivery.

The visitors, with World Cup winning captain Hugo Lloris in goal, swiftly regained the lead as England midfielder Dele Alli nodded in Serge Aurier's cross at the back post.

Newcastle twice hit the woodwork, first though Mohamed Diame before a deflected effort by new signing Salomon Rondon, on as a substitute, looped up onto the crossbar, but Spurs held out.

Fulham started life back in the top flight with a 2-0 home defeat by Crystal Palace.

The Cottagers, promoted after winning the play-off final at Wembley, had produced a positive first half, but went behind when Jeffrey Schlupp drilled in a left-foot shot on 41 minutes.

Wilfried Zaha added a second with 11 minutes left following a determined run by impressive 20-year-old Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Cardiff also lost on their return to the top flight following four years in the Championship, defeated 2-0 at Bournemouth.

The Cherries broke the deadlock after 24 minutes through Ryan Fraser, and then had the chance to double their lead from the penalty spot after Callum Wilson tumbled under a challenge from Bruno Ecuele Manga.

Wilson, though, saw his effort saved by Cardiff keeper Neil Etheridge.

The striker eventually got on the scoresheet in stoppage time to secure Bournemouth a first win in their opening Premier League fixture.

Roberto Pereyra scored both goals as Watford started with a 2-0 home victory over Brighton.

The Argentinian midfielder broke the deadlock with a fine volley from a corner after 35 minutes.

Pereyra curled in a second after 54 minutes, which proved enough to see off Brighton's challenge.

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