Premier League Sunday round-up: Happy Jose revels in return as Spurs edge past Holloway’s Palace
Jose Mourinho returned to the dugout at Stamford Bridge for the first time in six years in what was a comfortable opening game victory against newly-promoted Hull City. Fellow promoted side Crystal Palace began life back in the Premier League with a narrow defeat to free spending Tottenham Hotspur.
The recently proclaimed “happy one” was certainly left satisfied by his Chelsea side’s free-flowing football in a victory that showed the gulf in class between Chelsea and recently promoted sides. Chelsea began the game in typical fashion, taking the game to Steve Bruce’s men, with Fernando Torres claiming an early penalty after a clumsy foul by Hull goalkeeper Allan McGregor. Club penalty taker Frank Lampard stepped-up and attempted to slot the ball far in the bottom corner, but was foiled by McGregor who got down well to keep the score at 0-0.
The relief in the Hull camp was short-lived. Smart build-up play from Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne allowed Oscar to slot the ball under McGregor to put the Blues ahead. Chelsea began to dominate the game, with some superb passing and movement to make life hard for the return of manager Steve Bruce to the Premier League.
Frank Lampard wasted little time in making reprieve for his earlier missed spot-kick by thumping in a fierce free-kick from all of 35-yards. The veteran midfielder took aim as the ball flew past the flailing arm of McGregor in the Hull goal.
Hull tried valiantly to gain a way back in to the game, but Chelsea were just too good on the day that Jose Mourinho returned to English football.
In the day’s early kick-off, it was the turn of Crystal Palace to grace Premiership football again against the free spending Spurs, minus Gareth Bale.
The game began with a quick tempo, with new signing Paulinho impressing in midfield and Roberto Soldado looking to stamp his authority on the Premier League. An early effort from Moussa Dembele was saved acrobatically by Julion Speroni as Tottenham looked to take the game by the scruff of the neck.
Chances were few and far between for Ian Holloway’s side, who look to be lacking in real quality as they attempt to become an established top flight team. Spurs, without unsettled Gareth Bale certainly lacked the cutting edge at Selhurst Park – needing the outstretched arm of Dean Moxey to gift them a penalty in the second half.
Spaniard Roberto Soldado made no mistake on his debut to ensure victory went back to North London in a game that didn’t exactly set the world alight. Palace almost nicked a point late on, only to be stopped by a smart double save from Hugo Lloris. It was certainly a “welcome to the big time” for Hull and Palace, who will look to avoid the drop back to the Championship.
Thomas Bradley, football correspondent
Crystal Palace 0 Tottenham 1
Chelsea 2 Hull City Tigers 0