Chelsea beat Hull City 2-0 to give manager Jose Mourinho victory in his first Premier League soccer game since returning to the club where he won two titles. Tottenham Hotspur won 1-0 at Crystal Palace.
Oscar and Frank Lampard scored first-half goals for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Tottenham’s record signing Roberto Soldado converted a penalty kick in his league debut in the other defeat for a promoted team yesterday.
“It was a brilliant first half, high intensity, high quality,” Mourinho, who left Chelsea in 2007 after winning back-to-back English championships, told Sky Sports. “The second half was not the same as the first but that is not a surprise because our pre-season has not been an easy one. It was a very good level, the game was always under control.”
Chelsea, one of the bookmakers’ favorites to win the title along with Manchester City and Manchester United, should have taken a sixth-minute lead from the penalty spot. Hull goalkeeper Allan McGregor brought down Fernando Torres, then redeemed himself by saving Lampard’s spot kick.
The Blues struck in the 13th minute, Oscar slotting in from Kevin de Bruyne’s pass. Lampard doubled the lead 12 minutes later with a free kick that McGregor failed to tip over.
Chelsea dominated possession and almost went 3-0 up as McGregor kept out Branislav Ivanovic’s header in first-half injury time. The new goal-decision technology introduced this season confirmed the ball hadn’t crossed the line.
While Chelsea remained in charge of the game, Hull had its chances. Robert Koren’s long-range shot was saved by Petr Cech, Robbie Brady’s threatening cross was cleared by Ashley Cole, and Yannick Sagbo had a shot blocked amid appeals for a penalty.
At Selhurst Park, Tottenham gave debuts to 26 million-pound ($40.6 million) signing Soldado, Paulinho and Nacer Chadli. Gareth Bale, linked with a move to Real Madrid, was out with a foot injury.
The visiting team played the more fluid game in the early stages though was given little space by Palace.
Soldado flicked the ball wide from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s low cross and Sigurdsson had his own 20-yard shot saved by Julian Speroni, who blocked from close range after Aaron Lennon broke in from the right. Just before halftime Chadli headed over.
Tottenham took the lead from the penalty spot in the 50th minute after Dean Moxey handled Lennon’s cross.
Sigurdsson and Jermain Defoe wasted chances for Spurs, while Palace brought on veteran striker Kevin Phillips, 40, and stepped up the pressure. He set himself up with a shooting chance eight minutes from the end though fired wide.
In the final minute, Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris saved from Kagisho Dikgacoi.
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas praised the contribution of his new signings.
“Bearing in mind that for all of them the Premier League is a different proposition in terms of intensity and passion, I think they did extremely well so I am extremely pleased with that,” he said. “All of them are surprised at how intense it can be.”
Two days ago, defending champion Manchester United won 4-1 at Swansea and Arsenal was upset 3-1 at home by Aston Villa. Liverpool beat Stoke 1-0, and Fulham had a 1-0 victory at Sunderland. Southampton beat West Brom 1-0, West Ham defeated promoted Cardiff 2-0 and Norwich drew 2-2 with Everton.
Tonight, Newcastle visits Manchester City, which is bidding to win back the title it relinquished last season.