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Rediff.com  » Sports » EPL PIX: Chelsea, Spurs begin season with entertaining wins

EPL PIX: Chelsea, Spurs begin season with entertaining wins

Last updated on: August 11, 2018 22:51 IST

Images from the English Premier League matches played on Saturday

Chelsea's Sarri gets winning start at Huddersfield

Chelsea

IMAGE: Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta and Kepa Arrizabalaga celebrate after the match. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri made a winning start to life in the Premier League as his team enjoyed a 3-0 win over Huddersfield Town at the John Smith's Stadium on Saturday.

After enduring plenty of Huddersfield pressure, Chelsea went ahead in the 34th minute when Willian's cross from the left found N'Golo Kante whose mis-hit shot squirted past keeper Ben Hamer.

 

"I am really very happy because in the first part of the season I think it is not easy for us to gain points," said Sarri.

"The first half was hard -- maybe if you look at the result you can think about an easy game, but in the first half we were in trouble for 15 minutes against a very physical team."

"We are not a physical team and I think the best of the game is the capacity to suffer for 15 minutes. Then in the second half the opponents were a bit tired and it was easier," he added.

Roared on by the loud home support that had helped Huddersfield to a surprise survival at the end of last season, David Wagner's side had plenty of early pressure.

Chelsea

IMAGE: Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri celebrates. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters

Sarri opted for a 4-5-1 formation, abandoning Conte's well established system featuring three central defenders, and Chelsea struggled initially to get a foothold in the game.

But having dealt with a series of crosses whipped into the box by the Yorkshire side, Chelsea went ahead in the 34th minute when Willian's cross from the left found N'Golo Kante whose mis-hit shot squirted past keeper Ben Hamer.

Huddersfield showed their spirit by continuing to attack and striker Steve Mounie headed against the post after Mathias Jorgensen had flicked on a corner.

But the game turned decisively towards the visitors when Chelsea doubled their advantage just before the interval when Marcos Alonso burst into the area and went down under challenge from Christopher Schindler.

Debutant Jorginho coolly converted the penalty, a skip on his run-up leaving Hamer on his backside, as the Brazil-born Italian international, signed from Napoli, calmly slotted home.

Huddersfield ran out of steam - and ideas - after the break and Chelsea were content to keep possession and control of the game but there was still time for a reminder of Eden Hazard's quality.

The Belgian only returned to training recently after his run to the World Cup semi-finals at the World Cup and Sarri, sensing he was not in shape for 90 minutes, started him on the bench.

The winger, long linked with Real Madrid, made a major impact after he came on the field with his dribbling ability immediately evident.

The Belgian was at the heart of a superbly constructed counter-attack that produced Chelsea's third as he broke from midfield and slipped a perfectly-timed pass to Pedro who beat Hamer with an expert finish.

While Sarri left smiling, Wagner felt his side had shown encouraging signs despite the scoreline.

Spurs begin season with entertaining win at Newcastle

Dele Alli

IMAGE: Newcastle United's Christian Atsu in action with Tottenham's Dele Alli. Photograph: Ed Sykes/Reuters

Jan Vertonghen and Dele Alli were on target as Tottenham Hotspur began their Premier League campaign with an entertaining 2-1 victory over Newcastle United.

All three goals came in a frantic opening 20 minutes on Tyneside with Vertonghen and Alli heading goals for the north London team, who finished third last season, either side of Joselu's equaliser.

The only surprise was that, after Alli's 18th-minute winner, there was no further score with both goalkeepers, Martin Dubravka and Hugo Lloris, forced to make a string of impressive saves.

Newcastle's Venezuelan forward Salomon Rondon nearly enjoyed a dream debut after coming off the substitutes bench but his late effort was deflected on to the crossbar after a desperate block from Vertonghen.

Pereyra shines as Watford ease to Brighton victory

Roberto Pereyra

IMAGE: Watford's Roberto Pereyra celebrates scoring their second goal. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

Roberto Pereyra scored twice as Watford opened their Premier League campaign with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion.

The Argentina international opened the scoring with a stunning volley, showing great composure to sweetly convert from Jose Holebas' corner in the 35th minute.

The 27-year-old Pereyra doubled the hosts' advantage soon after the break, driving into the box before curling a neat finish into the far corner from a tight angle.

Watford had 19 shots and could have won by more against a Brighton side who failed to register an effort on target in a disappointing opening-day defeat.

Schlupp and Zaha give clinical Palace 2-0 win at Fulham

Wilfried Zaha

IMAGE: Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha celebrates after the match. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

Fine goals by Jeffrey Schlupp and Wilfried Zaha helped Crystal Palace to a 2-0 win at Fulham in a lively Premier League match at Craven Cottage as the home side endured a disappointing return to the top flight.

Ghanaian midfielder Schlupp struck against the run of play in the 41st minute with a fierce shot from a tight angle and Zaha sealed the win in the closing stages when he rounded Fulham goalkeeper Fabri and slotted the ball into an empty net.

Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey made a string of good saves in the opening half, twice denying Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic after he had also kept out a long-range shot from right back Cyrus Christie.

The visitors had the upper hand after the break and although Zaha saw his close-range volley kept out by Fabri on the hour, the livewire Ivorian forward made no mistake in the 79th minute after a defence-splitting pass by Aaron-Wan Bissaka.

Fraser, Wilson help Bournemouth beat promoted Cardiff

Promoted Cardiff City's first Premier League match for four years ended in a 2-0 defeat by Bournemouth, as midfielder Ryan Fraser's first-half goal and forward Callum Wilson's late strike secured victory at the Vitality Stadium.

Bournemouth dominated possession and deserved their 24th- minute lead as Scotland international Fraser latched on to Wilson's low pass inside the penalty area and slotted past goalkeeper Neil Etheridge.

Wilson won a penalty nine minutes later following a clumsy challenge by Cardiff defender Bruno Ecuele Manga, but the forward failed to double his team's advantage as his weak shot effort was comfortably saved by Etheridge.

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