Chelsea’s Premier League campaign got off to a successful start with a 2-1 win over West Ham.
Eden Hazard’s penalty minutes after the restart set Chelsea on their way but when James Collins equalised in the 77th minute, the game was headed for a draw.
But Diego Costa popped up with a fine strike in the 89th minute to seal all three points in Antonio Conte’s first league game in charge.
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The stats indicate that the Blues deserved all three points - they recorded 16 shots to West Ham’s seven, but this was certainly an eye-opener for Conte.
So used to success in Italy, it won’t take the Italian long to realise that territorial dominance doesn’t always breed wins.
In future, his team will have to carve out more clear cut chances, and learn to hold on to a lead, if they are to become champions.
Here are three things you might have missed from this evening’s encounter.
Chelsea don’t need Riyad Mahrez…
… despite popular opinion.
Fans have been clamouring for Conte to sign the Leicester City winger. They were ecstatic when images of the Algerian supposedly at a Chelsea hotel emerged online.
But why? The Blues already have two fine wingers in Eden Hazard and Willian.
Hazard was exceptional against West Ham, showing the kind of form that saw him earn the Premier League Player of the Season award in 2014-15.
Just check out his impressive stats below.
To top it off, the Belgian got off the mark with a goal from the penalty spot. The problem for Chelsea is that if Hazard continues to shine, those rumours linking him with Real Madrid will definitely resurface.
Diego Costa needs to brush up on the new Premier League rules
Turns out someone at Chelsea forgot to tell Costa about the Premier League’s new rules.
Referees are cracking down on dissent this season in the hope that players will show more respect. Given that Costa is notorious when it comes to moaning at officials, you would have presumed that anyone, whether it be Conte, a teammate, or even a Chelsea ball boy, would have told the striker to calm it a little.
But nobody did. Costa was shown a yellow card in the 19th minute for, yep, you guessed it, dissent.
It’s fun to laugh at it in the opening game of the season, but there are 37 matches still to go. Costa must curb his aggression or he will be shown a yellow card in every game he plays.
The 27-year-old should have been shown a second yellow for a late challenge on West Ham's Adrian. A match-winner, yet a liability. How's that for a dilemma.
West Ham are too reliant on Dimitri Payet
You probably didn’t need us to tell you this. You probably figured it out for yourself.
But West Ham are a bang average team without Dimitri Payet.
For 67 minutes, Slaven Bilic’s team looked like they were ready for a holiday - instead of just having come back from one. The Hammers were uninspiring and failed to test Thibaut Courtois.
Payet, whose introduction to the new season was delayed due to his exerts at Euro 2016, eventually came on midway through the second half and injected some energy into his teammates.
This stat shows just how much of a difference the Frenchman made.
It’s imperative that West Ham keep hold of their star man in this transfer window. Without him, they can forget any hope of qualifying for Europe.
Can Chelsea win the Premier League? Are West Ham capable of challenging the top four? Give us know YOUR thoughts in the comments section below!
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